30 Free Messenger Bag Patterns and Tutorials

messenger bag

Are you a messenger bag person or a backpack person? Or are you both?

I’m personally more of a backpack person, but my partner is a messenger bag kind of guy, and I fully admit that when we’re both out and about, he looks like much more of an adult than I do.

Do you, too, want to carry a ton of stuff while looking somewhat adult-ish? Then check out my list, below, of my favorite free messenger bag patterns and tutorials. I LOVE the variety of styles represented in these tutorials, and I love even more the variety of materials called for!

1. Basic Messenger Bag Pattern

View this post on Instagram

<3 NEW Free BAG PATTERN alert! I've just turned one of my latest projects into a brand new, free-for-all tutorial.It's a practical messenger bag tutorial and free template. Practical, sturdy and probably the BEST DIY GIFT YOU CAN MAKE for someone that carries a lot of things around. And check out on the blog what fabric collection turned out to be the perfect match for my latest project! Hint: @rileyblakedesigns 🙂 #applegreencottage #iloverileyblake #rileyblakedesigns #fabricismyfun #isew #sewcialist #sewing #sewingtutorials #sewingtutorial #sewingtips #sewingblogger #sewingblog #collectivelycreate #sewingproject #sewcialists #sewinglove #createeveryday#sewaholic #sewinglove #sewist #ilovetosew #sewingmakesmehappy #sewcrafty #sewcreative #freepattern #sewingpattern #sew #sewingaddict

A post shared by Sewing Crafts DIY • Damjana (@applegreencottage) on

This is about the simplest messenger bag pattern you’ll ever come by–perfect for beginning or young sewers! I do not love that it calls for both fusible interfacing and fusible fleece, as “fusible” tends to be code for “petroleum-based glue that will never decompose,” so if you’re a little more advanced and can do without it, try making your own fabric stiffeners and/or basting your fabrics instead of fusing them.

2. Messenger Bag with Adjustable Strap

I really love the size of this messenger bag–at 8.5″x11″, it’s the perfect fit for carrying around school notebooks!

3. 8″x10″ Bag

If you’re looking for something even smaller than the 8.5″x11″ bag above, then check out this pattern to shave off a couple more inches.

4. Bag with Button and Loop Closures

You don’t have to sew a buttonhole to use a button closure–this tutorial includes loops that you can make from your own matching fabric.

5. Bag with Hook-and-Ring Closure

A lot of messenger bag patterns don’t even bother with a solid closure, which is fine if you’re planning to walk around sedately, in a stately fashion, when you carry your bag. If you’ve never passed a fence you didn’t hop or a wall you didn’t try to run up, however, you need something sturdier. This hook-and-ring closure will NOT come undone unless you want it to!

6. Upcycled Denim Messenger Bag with Magnetic Snaps

Wow, messenger bag pattern creators LOVE their fusible fleece! Follow my suggestion, above, for how to avoid it, but definitely follow this tutorial’s instructions for installing magnetic snaps, because magnetic snaps are AWESOME!

7. Upcycled Jacket Messenger Bag

This is a clever idea because many jackets are made of just the type of fabrics that will also make awesome-looking messenger bags!

8. Jeans Bag

You can make the messenger bag, above, from upcycled denim without having it look like it’s made from upcycled denim. THIS bag, however, glories in its provenance!

9. Upcycled Cargo Pants Messenger Bag

Cargo pants are even better than jeans, because they come pre-pocketed!

10. Messenger Bag with Tuck Locks

Here’s a great way to learn how to insert tuck locks into a project. I also love the option to use batting instead of artificial fabrics–just look for an all-cotton (or all wool, if that’s your jam) batting, and you’re good to sew!

11. Foldover Bag

This a super simple and really fun design, with a clever construction method that makes its closure extra secure.

12. Zip-Top Messenger Bag

Combine the look of a messenger bag with the security of a purse.

13. Kid-Sized Messenger Bag

The best thing that I ever did when my kids were super little is start making them carry their own stuff. Make it even more fun for the kiddos to haul all of their stuffed animals and books and toy dinosaurs by sewing them this messenger bag that’s just exactly their size!

14. Bag with Appliques

This tutorial shows you how feasible it is to add a fun graphic to your messenger bag.

15. Messenger Bag with Embellished Flap

Go a step beyond the fun graphic in the above tutorial by trying out this messenger bag pattern with plenty of space for a highly embellished flap.

16. Bicycle Messenger Bag

Forget bicycle baskets. The coolest bike accessory is a messenger bag!

17. Messenger Bag from Laminated Cotton

Laminated cotton is generally NOT an eco-friendly fabric, but it’s a workable choice if you really do need its water repellent qualities. Before you buy new, though, hit up your local thrift store and see if you can find some laminated cotton to upcycle. Look for outdoor furniture coverings, especially outdoor tablecloths, or outdoor clothing, especially light rain jackets or windbreakers.

18. Waxed Cotton Messenger Bag

Waxed cotton is a much more eco-friendly alternative to the laminated cotton, above. The con is that you’re very unlikely to be able to thrift it, but you CAN DIY it!

19. Messenger Bag with a Zippered Flap

The zipper in the flap of this messenger bag allows you easy access to whatever is small and important to you.

20. 18″ Doll Messenger Bag

You know I never pass up an opportunity to make something for my kids’ American Girl dolls!

21. Bag with Grommets and Carabiners

This is SUCH a fun messenger bag, with lots of embellishments that nevertheless don’t read as fussy.

22. Crocheted Messenger Bag

It wouldn’t be one of my lists if I didn’t put something crocheted on it!

23. Messenger Bag with a Tassel

This bag is admittedly more purse than messenger, but it has a TASSEL.

24. Mini Messenger Bag

Even smaller than the kid’s bag, above, this messenger bag retains the classic look while being just the right size for keys, wallet, and a phone.

25. Oval Messenger Bag

Want the functionality of a messenger bag but you’re not inspired by the boxy designs? Here’s an interestingly oval messenger bag pattern.

26. Party Favor Messenger Bags

This tutorial includes lots of great sewing shortcuts to help you make a whole batch of messenger bags, and uses fabric that kids can color with fabric markers.

27. Tablet-Sized Messenger Bag

If what you REALLY need is an e-reader carrier, check out this messenger bag that’s perfectly sized for carrying most tablets.

28. Pleated Purse

Don’t tell, but this is basically the point where I admit that there’s not much difference between a messenger bag and a purse.

29. Reversible Messenger Bag

I love the idea of having a messenger bag with a “business” side for professional activities, and a “party” side for fun times.

30. Ruffled Messenger Bag

This is a really fun messenger bag with lots of ruffles to embellish it.

If you’re a ride-or-die backpack person, don’t be sad–here’s a whole DIY backpack list for YOU!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

Comments (Keep It Civil...)

How To Make A Wood Burned Stick Plant Marker

how to make a petticoat

How To Make a Petticoat: 15 DIY Tutorials