This bag is a total throwback to my high school days 😀 I can totally see myself using a bag like this when I was in high school, where I absolutely loved plaid (still do, I just try to be more subtle about it) and anything remotely resembling something punk.
The fabric is actually a leftover from some plaid pants I made back in the day, and the rest of the fabrics and the zipper seemed to match so well I couldn’t help but put them all together even if they do look a little loud. The structure of the bag itself is pretty reliable, as it mimics the purse I use regularly today. So you could totally switch out the fabrics with something more subtle and it still makes a great bag.
This is a square shaped messenger style bag with a long shoulder strap, small handle, front pocket, turn lock closure, and flap pocket with an exposed slanted zipper. Because of all the details it takes a while to get it all together, but I use a purse shaped much like this everyday and love it to death 😀 I hope you will too.
Materials & Tools:
• ⅔ yd. of medium weight fabric for the outer bag (denim, twill, or canvas is good here, I used a plaid suiting)
• ¼ yd. of medium weight complementing fabric for contrast pieces (denim or canvas is good here, I used twill)
• ⅔ yd. of lightweight fabric for lining (I used quilting cotton)
• 12” long zipper (at least)
• 1” metal turn lock
• Sewing needle
• Matching sewing thread
Before you begin:
1. Print out the project pattern here
2. Assemble the pattern pieces, see the page here for more help
3. Lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric and cut them out
4. Mark the fabric pieces with the markings from the pattern
1. Take your two flap top pieces in both the outer fabric and the lining and sew them with right sides together along the slanted edges. Repeat this with the flap bottom piece as well. Press the seams open.
2. With both flap pieces opened flat, line up the middle seam by having the right sides of the lining and outer fabric face each other. Sew the pieces together in the ditch of the previous seam with a long basting stitch (the longest length your machine sews), but still back tack at the beginning and end of your seam. This is in preparation for inserting the zipper and we’ll be ripping these middle stitches out later. You’ll see I added some interfacing towards the bottom of my flap bottom piece. If your fabric is not so stiff like mine was, you might want to do this as reinforcement for the turn lock installation that comes at step 20. Fold the fabric back so the outer fabric (for the flap top and bottom) matches up with its corresponding lining piece again.
3. Lay your zipper on top of your outer fabric and line up the teeth perfectly centered along the seam you’ve sewn. Sew the zipper down along each side of the tape. When you’re finished, rip out the extra-long stitches you’d sewn in the middle seam. The zipper is now functional and you can use it to open and close this opened seam. The front of your flap is now finished, so you’re much closer to getting the bag complete!
4. Now to prepare your upper handle. Fold under each short edge of your handle piece by ⅝” and iron the folds in place. Now fold under each long edge by ⅝” and iron those in place. Fold the entire handle in half lengthwise and iron it flat as well.
6. To attach the handle, line up each end with the square on the pattern guideline for the flap front. Sew the end of the handle in place with a box stitch. Repeat this with the other side of the handle and the other square guideline.
7. Now to complete your flap. Take your two flap lining pieces and place one with the right side facing up. On top of that, place your zippered flap piece, again facing up. Lastly place your last flap lining piece on top, but with the right side facing down. Line up all the raw edges and move your zipper slider towards the middle of your zipper. Sew along the perimeter of the flap, leaving the top straight section open for turning the flap right side out. Be sure to sew very carefully over the zipper, especially if you’re using a metal zipper like I did. Notch the seam allowances, turn the flap right side out, and press it flat. I topstitched around the edge of the flap again to keep it all flat and neat, but that’s up to you.
8. Now to make your front pocket. Sew your two pocket pieces together along the raw edges, but don’t forget to leave the opening in the top for turning it right side out. Trim the seam allowances, turn the pocket right side out, and press it flat.
12. Sew your gusset piece around the sides and bottom of your bag front piece. You might want to clip the seam allowances of the gusset when you get towards the corners of the bag front to make going around the curves easy. Apply the bag back to the other side of your gusset. Repeat this with your lining pieces, but be sure to leave an opening where the pattern indicates for turning the bag right side out later.
13. Next we’re making the strap. To make it the full length you’ll need to sew your two strap pieces together. The least conspicuous way to join the two strips is by sewing them on the bias. Line up the corners of the straps at 90˚ angles and sew them together along the bias – the pattern guidelines mark this so you get an idea of which way to go. Trim the excess fabric after sewing this line and press the seam open.
16. Now things are really starting to come together! Baste your strap to the sides of your bag, centered on the gusset sections. The pattern guideline will also show where that is. Baste one end of the strap to one side, and the other end to the other side of the bag, but be sure it doesn’t get twisted in the process.
20. Bring your flap down over the front of your bag. Install the other end of your turn lock where the pattern indicates, or adjust it higher or lower if you see fit. Either way, enjoy your bag because YOU’RE DONE!
And there it is! A super colorful 😄 but still fun bag.
Do you have any crazy styles that you loved as a teenager that are still guilty pleasures for you now? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
I hope you enjoy making this project, or if you’d rather have the one from the pictures, you can buy it from my Etsy. If you do wind up making the project, I’d love to see it! And I’ll send you free patterns from my Monthly Crafting Challenge!