Easy DIY messenger bag – free denim bag pattern

August 26, 2019

Today I am sharing with you latest man’s crossbody messenger bag – this DIY messenger bag has been designed with two external zip pockets and internal slip pocket. I have designed the bag 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.


The easy messenger bag has a magnetic closure.

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.


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

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How to make a DIY Messenger Bag

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  • 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″
  • Denim pocket
  • 9″ Black zip
  • 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″
  • Iron on interfacing: Two pieces 10 1/2″ square, three pieces 3″ by 10 1/2″, one piece 10″ by 12″
  • 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


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.

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 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.

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 inserting 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.


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.

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.



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″.

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. 

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

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.

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

Assemble the whole 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. 

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.

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

2 comments so far.

2 responses to “Easy DIY messenger bag – free denim bag pattern”

  1. Denim is a good choice of fabric for a man’s bag. Love the leather label and the zippered pocket on a slant, Vicky. Showcased today…

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A passion for sewing, upcycling and caring for the environment - the perfect excuse to haunt charity shops for bargains!

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