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Sew a professional bag with this free messenger bag pattern

Today I am sharing with you the latest man’s crossbody messenger bag pattern – the professional looking messenger bag has been designed with two external zip pockets and internal slip pocket. The messenger bag is created around my husband’s request’s, it is his one simple request for his 50th birthday. The bag is designed for family holidays collecting sea glass on the beach, with pockets for wallet, keys, mobile and sunglasses.

Messenger bag pattern

I made this bag for my husbands 50th birthday gift, I have to admit I gave in and gave it to him early. It made sense to pack it with passports etc rather than wrap it in wrapping paper!!  This easy messenger bag pattern has a magnetic closure.

Messenger bag pattern

This DIY denim messenger bag includes two zip pockets, one on the closing flap, and one on the front panel. Internally the bag has slip pockets.

Messenger Bag Pattern

Finished DIY Messenger Bag Size
Messenger bag finished size is 9 1/2″ width 91/2″ height x 2″ depth
Large full-width zipped pocket – finished size is 9 1/2″ wide  7″ tall
Small zip pocket (on closing flap) 7″ wide and 5 1/2″ deep
Small Pocket (Phone Pocket) – finished size is 6 ” tall 5″ wide

Personally I am rather passionate about bag making – if you are new to bag making I have the perfect Beginners Bag Making Course for you which covers so many essential skills for bag making, and includes many free bag tutorials.

Worried about how to sew denim?

Many home sewing machines are fine sewing denim, but there are certain tips that will make your life considerably easier. Always use a denim needle, a long stitch length and stitch slowly. If your machine struggles you can reduce bilk be trimming the fusible fleece by the seam allowance. Check out my video how to sew denim.

Prefer a slightly more feminine version? I have made myself a khaki version from some old jeans, sewing my own bias binding from the lining fabric. I have a tutorial for how to make an adjustable bag strap which discusses a variety of options for the strap.

Love the idea of making a messenger bag but denim is not for you?

I get it, I really do – not everyone is as passionate about resuing denim as myself. You can make this bag out of home decor fabric, canvas or even waxed canvas. In order for the bag to hold its shape I recommend a heavier weight fabric. if you prefer quilting cotton I suggest changing the fabric stabilizer to something like Annies Soft and Stable.

Check out my alternative messenger bag pattern where the closing flap is made from seat belt material, I love a good upcycle!

This pattern is available as a free PDF in the newsletter resource library or alternatively, you have the opportunity to say THANKYOU by paying £2 UK pounds plus local tax (less than a coffee) for PDF download plus printable pattern pieces in my Etsy shop.

THANKYOU for your support! I love making these tutorials to inspire others to take up the craft of sewing by making it as easy and step-by-step as possible. It may seem silly putting this out there, but one day it may enable me to make this my day job!

Remember, you can download this pattern for FREE as well, just sign up to the newsletter.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to see my disclosure policy.

  • Denim pattern pieces: Two pieces 10 1/2″ square, three pieces 3″ by 10 1/2″, one piece 10″ by 12″
  • Fusible Fleece: Two pieces 10 1/2″ square, three pieces 3″ by 10 1/2″, one piece 10″ by 12″, one piece 8 1/2 by 10 1/2″
  • Denim front pocket 8 1/2 by 1o 1/2″
  • 9″ Black zip
  • 12″ Navy zip
  • Fabric for flap pocket – 15 by 8 1/2″
  • 2″ red fabric squares
  • Lining Fabric: Two pieces 10 1/2″ square, three pieces 3″ by 10 1/2″, one piece 10″ by 12″
  • Lining fabric, front pocket 9 by 10 1/2″
  • Lining fabric, inner pocket 13 by 6″
  • Iron on interfacing: Two pieces 10 1/2″ square, three pieces 3″ by 10 1/2″, one piece 10″ by 12″, one piece 9 by 10 1/2″, one piece  13 by 6″
  • Denim Sewing Machine Needle
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • 2 1 1/2″ rectangle rings
  • 1 1 1/2″ rectangle slider
  • Bag strap 1 1/2″ strap webbing 1 1/2 yards

Watch my you tube video for the construction for the bag here.

Start by preparing your pattern pieces. I like to cut out the fusible fleece and iron to the back of denim jean legs and then cut out the denim pieces.

Repeat for your lining fabric, with iron-on interfacing.

Messenger Bag pattern, cut out pattern pieces

Outside zip pocket

Start with creating zipper tabs, either end of the outer pocket. Cut two pieces of contrasting fabric 2 by 2 1/2”

Cut your zip to size, sew the end of the zipper together, this stops the zipper from spreading apart.

Finger fold and press in three sides 1/16” at the corners fold in diagonally.

Place the zip onto the folded long edge,

Then fold your fabric over encasing the zip.

Tack to hold in place then machine stitch. Repeat for the second end of the zip.

Place your zip wrong side up. Place you front bag lining (with ironed on interfacing) along zip edge and stitch (use a zipper foot).

Turn the fabric away from the zip and press.

Insert magnetic snap centrally,  2 1/2″ up from the bottom of the denim piece for this out pocket. If you have not inserted magnetic snaps I suggest reading my detailed tutorial for how to attach magnetic snaps.

Place the denim front piece on top of the zip and lining. Stitch with a zipper foot.

Place the front pocket denim piece onto the front denim piece of the bag, fold the opposite edge of the zip downwards, then flip the fabric over, pin the zipper, then stitch.

messenger bag pattern

Fold the zipper piece back down, baste all around the pocket piece.

Assemble Main Bag

Place side panels, right sides together, onto the back panel of the bag.

Stitch the side seams, stopping seam allowance width away from the bottom of the bag.

Place bottom bag panel along the bottom, stitch in place, stopping seam allowance away from the edge.

Place the edge of the bottom panel parallel to the base of the side panel. Stitch in place, stopping at the seam allowance.

Add and stitch your front panel, along the side seams and bottom seam. Turn your denim bag right side out

Make inner slip pocket for the lining.

Fold the fabric in half right sides together. Machine stitch the sides and trim at the folded corner.

Turn the pocket the right side out and press. Fold the raw edge in and press. Pin the pocket onto the back piece of the lining with the folded edge at the bottom.

Machine stitch the pocket in place, taking care to backstitch at the top of the side seams (these are a potential weak point in the bag).

Assemble lining

Stitch the lining pieces together following the outer bag assembly instructions.

Make the closing lid/flap

Mark a curved corner, I have marked an inch from the corner, both sides then placed a round object and drawn round, trim. Repeat for the lining fabric for the flap.

Trim the bottom two corners of the flap.

Hand stitch a leather jean label into the corner of the flap, using the pre-existing holes from machine stitching around the edge of the label.

Let’s prepare the zip, place a piece of red fabric on either end of the zip, machine stitch – fold over and press.

Next let’s work out the placement of the flap zip. Measure down from the top edge of the flap, my zip is 6 inches down on the left an 2 1/2 down on the right. It is deliberately off-centre to counterbalance the leather label.

messenger bag pattern

Place your zip pocket fabric, right side facing the bag, an inch above this rough placement of zip, and remove the zip. Mark a rectangle for the zip 1/2″  by  7 1/4″.

messenger bag pattern

Stitch along your marked rectangle. Cut the opening of the zip, carefully into the corners without cutting the stitches. Turn the lining fabric through to the back, press the opening.

messenger bag pattern

Place the zip in the opening. Tack into place then machine stitch around.

messenger bag pattern

Fold the zip pocket lining up so the short raw edges match. Pin then stitch around, being careful not to catch any of the front of the bag.

Mark the position of the magnetic snap 1 1/2″ (centrally) from the bottom on the lining fabric for the flap closure. Insert the magnetic snap.

Place the lining and front of the flap fabric wrong sides together. Pin bias binding around the edge, if you are adding any fabric label place it in position. Stitch the bias binding.

messenger bag pattern

Fold the bias binding over and hand stitch around the inside of the lining.

Assemble the messenger bag

Place the flap right side facing the right side of the back of the bag, raw edges matching. Tack or baste with your sewing machine to hold in place.

Cut two pieces 3″ long of webbing for the strap, Place a  metal loop on the webbing, fold the webbing in half and tack in place on the side of the bag. repeat on the other side.

Place the bag inside the lining so right sides of lining and bag face each other.

Machine stitch around placing an 8″ turning gap along the front. Turn the bag right sides out.  Press the seam.

Fold the raw edge in along your turning gap. Topstitch all around the top of the bag – it helps to pin the lining and outer bag down first to ensure a nice finish.

messenger bag pattern

Lastly, cut your main bag strap, mine is 64″ but you may be perfectly happy with a shorter strap. Thread one raw end of the strap through the center bar of the slider, fold back on itself and machine stitch.

Loop the long end around the rectangle ring.

Then thread back through the slider before wrapping through the other rectangle ring, folding and machine stitching in place.

You find all my free bag patterns here

Are looking for ideas for what to do with your old jeans? Check out my 25+ craft ideas for old jeans

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Thursday 17th of November 2022

Hi, I was wondering if there was a print out pattern available for the bag?


Monday 21st of November 2022

Hi, There is - for a free version sign up to the newsletter (which you can unsubscribe from anytime) and access it from the resource library or visit my etsy shop where it is available for £2 uk (less thana coffee!)

Jenny Demmer Lush

Wednesday 19th of August 2020

I woudl love the denim bag pattern please


Sunday 10th of May 2020

Thanks for getting back to me Vicky. I did figure out the interfacing. I’m just really lost, as a beginner I think this is way beyond my ability. Hope I can find something else to do with all these pieces.


Monday 11th of May 2020

Have you seen the you tube video for the bag? that might really help.

Bev Holmes

Saturday 9th of May 2020

Hi Vicky, I’m a beginner and really want to make this messenger bag. I’ve cut out all my pieces but don’t know which pieces get the interfacing and which pieces get the fusable fleece. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, but again as a beginner, I don’t know that.

Please help. Thank you


Sunday 10th of May 2020

Thanks for checking, I add the fusible fleece to the denim and the interfacing to the lining. I will amend the tutorial to show this :)


Wednesday 15th of April 2020

Hi there,

I am super excited to make this but just need to know something: Is the recommended supplies list the "pattern" for this bag? I have subscribed via my laptop and phone and have not received the free PDF. I am unsure where to find the pattern, please help :)

Kind Regards!


Tuesday 21st of April 2020

Hi Claudia, I have sent t to you by email (as its currently out for testing) Vicky

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