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  • Writer's pictureCraft Cotton Co

Messenger Bag and Pencil Case

Project by Gill Rich

This messenger is bag ideal for all the school essentials plus matching pencil case.

You will need the following:

Two co-ordinating fabrics, I chose from the Natural History Museum collection from Cotton Craft Co.


Co-ordinating thread

Magnetic snap fastener

Medium weight iron on interfacing

Tape measure/Ruler

Fabric marker

10” zip fastener

NOTE : Use a 1/2 ” seam allowance throughout

Firstly, cut your fabrics as follow for the bag:

For the outer bag two pieces 15” x 10.5”, for the flap one piece 12.5” x 9”, for the inside pocket, one piece 11” x 11”.

From the lining fabric two pieces 15 x 10.5”, for the flap one piece 12.5” x 9”

Cut your Bosal 14” x 9.5”. I cut this ½” smaller all the way round to reduce bulk in the seams.

For the handles cut one piece of fabric 34” x 4” wide and one piece of interfacing 34” x 2”.

To make the outer bag, take your two exterior pieces and stitch down the sides and along the bottom. Iron on the fusible fleece according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the wrong side of the fabric

Next you need to box the corners; with the two outer pieces, place the side seam along the seam on the bottom creating a triangle. With your ruler and marker, place the ruler to measure two inches from side to side and draw a line. Sew along the line making sure that you secure your stitches on either side. Trim to within ¼” of your seam. Repeat for the other side.

You will now need to add half of the magnetic snap fastener. Measure down from the top edge 7” and find the middle measurement across your width. Using your fabric marker, mark a placement dot. Carefully cut two small cuts the width of the prongs on the snap fastener.

Insert the prongs from the front of the bag and place the washer on the back. Fold down the two prongs so that they are flat. I usually place a piece of heavy weight iron on interfacing on the back so that the prongs don’t pierce your lining.

The next step is to make the pocket. Fold your fabric in half with right sides together. Stitch along one short side, across the long side and half way down the other side. Trim the seam and cut off the corners. Now turn it right sides out and press the seams. Press the seam inside the pocket where you left the turning gap.

Take a piece of your interior fabric and place the pocket centrally across the width and 2” from the top edge. Topstitch along the two sides and across the bottom, closing the turning gap. You can if you wish divide the pocket into sections. I stitched down the middle and then in the middle of the left section, making three pockets.

Take your two interior pieces and with right sides together and stitch the sides seams and across the bottom leaving a gap of about 6” for turning out. Box the corners in the same way as you did for the exterior pieces.

To make the flap, iron on your interfacing on one of the pieces. I made the corners rounded by drawing around a glass on the corner.

Then place your flap pieces right sides together and stitch along the two sides and across the bottom leaving the top edge open. Turn right sides out and press making sure that your seams are fully open. Topstitch about 3mm from the edge around the three sides.

Before you stitch the flap on the bag, you need to add the second part of the snap fastener. Decide which way round you would like your flap. I did mine so that the fabric I chose for the lining, was on the outside. Pin the flap onto the back of the bag and fold it over so that it comes across to the front. With your marker, make a dot where the snap fastener meets the other part on the front. Attach this part in the same way as you did for the first part.

Baste the flap on the back edge so that it hangs down, making sure that it is central across the top. Before you attach the lining to the bag you need to make your handles.

Iron on your interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric down the middle. Fold it in half lengthwise and press on the crease. Open it out and fold the raw edge to the central crease on both sides and press again. Now fold in half and stitch along both of the long edges about 3mm from the edge.

Baste your handle on the outside seam of the bag exterior on both sides.

Nearly there! With your bag lining inside out and your exterior right sides out, place the exterior bag inside the bag lining. You need to make sure that the flap and the handle are tucked right inside the bag so that they don’t get caught when you stitch them together. You may need to do a bit of wriggling around to get the edges together. Pin or use clips to hold them in place. Stitch the bag pieces together all the way round the top. You might find it easier to sew from the inside. You will now see why the fusible fleece is ½” smaller so that it is less bulky.

Once you have stitched around the top edge. Turn the bag right side out through the gap in the lining. Again you might have to wriggle it a lot as it is quite bulky.

Fold in the lining all the way inside so that your seam on the top is flat, again pin or clip in place. Topstitch all the way round about 3mm from the edge.

Give your bag a good press and there you have your messenger bag that any child would be proud to take to school!!

Next you need to make your matching pencil case.

Firstly you need to cut your fabrics. Cut two rectangles from each fabric measuring 10.5” x 6.5”. Apply your interfacing to the wrong side of your exterior fabric following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once your fabric is cut, you need to place the zip in. Place one piece of your inner fabric right side up then place the zip on the top edge with the zipper pull on the top. You then need to place your exterior piece right side down on top of the zip so that all the edges meet.

Using your zipper foot, stitch down the side of the zip as close as possible to the teeth. When you get near the zipper pull, put your needle down, lift the presser foot and move to open the zip slightly then carry on stitching to the end. You now need to repeat this step for the other side of the zip. Open out and press. You may want to top stitch close to the zip.

Now, fold along the zip so that the exterior fabric pieces are right sides together on the insides and the inner fabric is on the outside with right side out.

Now, stitch along the long raw edge and finish off the edges with a zig zag stitch or with your overlocker. Then fold it so that the zipper is in the centre, ensuring that all your fabrics are smooth and not creased. (Note your zipper pull is on the inside).

Sew along the short edges enclosing the zipper end. Again, finish off with a zig zag stitch or your overlocker. Now box the corners in the same way as you did for the messenger bag but note there are four corners to box.

Pull it all so that the right side is on the outside, press and there you have a cute little pencil case for all your stationary needs!

To see more from Gill, visit her Instagram @designbygill66

Made by Gill Rich for The Craft Cotton Company 2020


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