CMB1Featured: Messenger Bag by Ecolution

Originally created for hard-working couriers, the classic Messenger Bag has been in circulation for several decades. Known for its long-lasting rugged durability and distinctive “envelope” styling, the classic Messenger has been adopted around the world as the everyday all-purpose carryall. Make a simplified version for yourself in hemp, similar to the featured tote from eco-friendly, Ecolution.

You will need:

  • 1 ¼ yds. [1.2 m] of hemp or organic cotton canvas, 54″ [137 cm] wide.
  • ½ yd. [0.5 m] of cotton sateen lining, 54” [137 cm] wide
  • 1 ½ yds. [1.4 m] of fusible interfacing, 45″ [114 cm] wide.
  • 1 closed zipper, 12” long *
  • 1 buckle slider, 2” inner dia. *
  • 1 belt tip hardware, 2” wide *
  • matching cotton thread
  • grid paper

* Match zipper to colour/metal of hardware.

BAG DIMENSIONS:             approximately 4″ x 11.5″ x 14″.

[10 cm x 29.5 cm x 35.5 cm]


Scale: 1 square = 1 inch (25mm)

bag draft

Add seam allowances to all pattern pieces.


bag layBag Body – cut 1X self; cut 1X fusible

Shoulder Strap – cut 1X self

Strap Tab – cut 1X self

Flap – cut 1X self; cut 1X fusible

Flap Facing – cut 1X self; cut 1X fusible

Zipper Facing – cut 1X self; cut 1X fusible

Bag Lining – cut 2X lining

Patch Pocket – cut 1X lining

Pocket Bag – cut 2X lining


1. Iron fusible interfacing to back (wrong side) of bag pieces following manufacturer’s directions, except for strap pieces.

2. Make up bag straps. With right sides together (RST), fold strap pieces in half lengthwise and sew along long edge. Press seam open. Align the short ends so that the seam is centered in the middle of the strap width. Stitch across one end only. Trim corners. Turn straps RIGHT SIDE OUT. Press flat with long seam at center. Topstitch around perimeter of straps if desired. On open end, attach a metal belt tip on long strap and a buckle/slider on the short strap. Set aside.

3. Prepare bag lining. On the patch pocket, turn under the top edge ¼” [6mm] and press. Turn top edge once more: ¾” [20mm] and stitch down. Turn and press seam allowance on remaining three sides.

With one of the bag lining pieces FACE UP, center the patch pocket and edge-stitch along pocket sides and bottom.

With RST, center-align and match flap facing to top of body lining piece.

With RST, align and match remaining bag lining piece to this lining section. Stitch side seams and press open.

Stitch 2” [50mm] on each end of the bottom seam; then align the side seam to the bottom seam and sew across the seams to create a miter. Set aside.

stay4. Prepare flap pocket. Begin by aligning the zipper facing with the top of the flap, right sides together.  Stitch an outline of the pocket opening equal to the length of the zipper teeth X half the zipper’s width.

(eg. 12 inches X ⅜” + seam allowance)

Carefully clip diagonally at the corners of the stitching and turn the zipper facing FACE UP. Press seam flat.

zipperWith the flap piece FACE UP, align and center the zipper FACE UP in the indentation. Edge-stitch around pocket opening to secure the zipper.

With RST, sew one pocket bag piece to the bottom edge of the zipper facing.

Flip the lining downward and topstitch along the seam.

With flap piece FACE DOWN, align and match remaining pocket bag piece to top of zipper. Stitch zipper to lining; then stitch sides of pocket bag.

Trim the excess from the lining on the bottom of the pocket bag and sew bottom seam. Set aside.

miter5. Construct the body of the bag. With RST, fold the bag body together and match up the side seams. Sew side seam and press open.

Miter the bottom corners by aligning the side seam in the center of the bottom edge and stitch across the seam.  Turn bag RIGHT SIDE OUT.

With RST, align and match top of body to flap. Stitch across top edge, ensuring the catch the zipper tape in the seaming. Grade seam allowance and press seam away from zipper. On the FACE SIDE, topside along the zippered seam.

6. Assemble the bag. With RST, insert bag body into bag lining. Align and match up outer edges of flap and flap facing. Line up the raw edges of the bag x stitchopening. Stitch around the opening and the flap. Grade and trim seam allowances. Turn bag RIGHT SIDE OUT through opening in bottom of lining. Press the perimeter of the flap and the opening edge flat. Top-stitch around flap and opening.

Slipstitch opening in lining closed.

7. Complete the bag. Align the square end of the straps to each side of the messenger bag. Place each approximately 4” [10 cm] from the top edge of the bag opening and sew an X-stitch through all layers. Hook the shoulder strap into the buckle slider and adjust the desired length.


UPDATE: Though this blog is closed now, I have been getting inquiries about this simple zipper application. Here are the steps: