When my two-year-old son decides he wants to go somewhere he picks up my purse, puts it over his shoulder, and heads for the door. As cute as that is, Daddy thought a cool boyish bag should be made for him as soon as possible! So I came up with this messenger bag that’s toddler sized. It also makes a nice smaller sized bag for an adult. For my son’s, I used pirate, treasure map and fish fabrics for the insides of the bag and pockets. The main fabric is a heavy weight brown canvas. To finish off the set, I made two little pirate bean bag guys from some fabric scraps and made a pirate hat and treasure chest applique for the outer pocket. And at JoAnns I found a 3-pack of pirate hats, perfect for the set!
So let’s get started. Here’s your materials list:
- 2 rectangles of fabric, one each for the inside and outside of the bag, 15.5″ wide X 31.5″
- 4 rectangles of fabric, two each for the inside and outside of the 2 pockets, 11″ wide x 6″ tall
- A shoulder strap cut to a length that fits your or your child comfortably (my son’s is 32″)
- My free pattern you can download here in Google Docs. The pattern just includes the bag, not the rectangles for the pockets and it’s a 5 page PDF. Print it out, line up the stars and tape it together. If you have trouble printing it, on the left side of the screen choose File, then Download. Open the downloaded PDF then print it. I’ve included a scale in the pattern so you can make sure it’s printing to the correct size.
All seam allowances are 3/8″ unless otherwise noted.
1. First let’s get the pockets ready. With right sides together, stitch all the way around the pocket but leave a 3″ opening in one of the long ends. After sewing, snip the corners then turn right side out. Iron flat with the open seam folded inside.
2. Sew the pockets to the front and back pieces. With my pocket placement, the outer pocket will be hidden under the flap and the inner pocket will be against the back of the bag. Measuring from the right side (if the bag is oriented as shown below), the inner pocket (top of photo) is sewn on 9.5″ in from the side. The exterior pocket (bottom of photo) is sewn on 1.5″ away from the left side. (You may notice in the photo below that I added an additional strip of fabric not shown in the top photo. I didn’t make it quite long enough in my initial pattern so I added the extra strip of fabric and really like the end result! My pattern uses the correct length.)
3. Now we’ll start sewing the bag. With right sides together, stitch all the way around the bag but leave a 5″ opening in the top flap. I flipped up the corner in the photo so you could see that the right sides are together and you can see part of the pocket.
4. Snip all the inner and outer corners then turn the bag right side out. Iron flat and press in the raw edges in the opening.
5. Fold over the bag as shown in the photo below so the exterior is on the inside and you’re looking at the interior. Stitch along the sides and along the flap to close up the opening.
6. Open up the corners and fold them together as shown in the photo below and stitch them closed.
7. Turn the bag right side out. Fold the bottom of the bag between the corners on both the front and back. Pin and stitch 1/8″ away from the edge.
8. Sew on the strap just inside the side seams. The woven strap I used frays at the end so I folded under the ends of each side 1/2″ and zig zag stitched them before attaching. I like to sew on straps using an X inside a square to make sure it’s extra reinforced. Now your little pirate (or princess) is ready to load up their treasures and head out on adventures! The final bag tapers slightly so the top is a little wider than the bottom.