Monday 28 May 2012

Zakka Style Messenger Bag

Oh my, oh my, oh my.  I can't stop smiling.  I am so pleased with myself - I made a bag.  Okay, some of you may be seasoned bag-makers but I have never made a bag before and when I read Sew Sweetness today she said this bag is a "great sew for a confident beginner or an intermediate seamstress".  I was in two minds about undertaking this challenge anyway but this made me think that I could do it as I class myself as a 'confident beginner'.  So I set out this morning, Zakka Monday at about 9.00 a.m. cutting out.  By tea-time it was finished - and I had been out to the shops, cut the grass and posted a mug-rug to a waiting recipient in America - so I haven't spent all day on it. 

The instructions are crystal clear (but check here for the one amendment). I ticked them off in pencil as I completed each one.   But I do have some tips.

First tip:  do not buy new hardware for this bag - pop into your nearest charity shop and I will 'bet-my-bottom-dollar' that you can find an old bag with the necessary tri-bar slider and rectangle loop.  This is exactly what I did; the first charity shop had a bag with, what looked like, the right size equipment.  I handed over my 99p and rushed home.  Yes, it was the right size and there were two tri-bars on the bag along with the rectangle loop.  I even managed to salvage the brown mesh handle for another project later on maybe! 
Second tip: if you use a stiffer interfacing make sure you have spare needles.  Bluepatch Quilter had made the bag before jetting off on her hols and said she wished she had made it a bit stiffer.  So I took her advice and used a heavier fusible interfacing.  Three needles later and the strap was done!  But she was right, the strap, the flap and the bag are better for it.
Third tip:  don't get a saggy bottom.  No, I'm not talking about your derriere but the bag's bottom.  Again Bluepatch Quilter mentioned she wanted a firmer bottom so I covered a piece of card with lining fabric and hey presto - a firm base.  As for quilters getting a saggy bottom - it goes without saying as we spend so much time on it!

Fourth tip:  leave AT LEAST six inches to turn the bag through - think Zakka pencil case and you will know what I mean.
Now there was a moment, when I was turning the bag through that I did wonder what I would be left with.  But I squealed with delight when all was where it should be and I had a working messenger bag.  The bit I'm most pleased with (aside from the colours) is the strap - for somebody who is not very dexterous when it comes to things looping through and being able to pull extensions etc, etc. the instructions were perfectly clear.  Just follow them and you too will end up with a stunning bag.

As I walked in to show my daughter she was shocked.  "How much of that did you make and how much did you buy?" she asked (she had seen me come home from the charity shop with the old bag).  "I made all of it," answered I, "even the firm bottom!" 

So I've gone from an old bag to a stylish messenger - all in the space of one Zakka Monday.


  1. oh my gosh, crazy LOVE it!!

  2. Man you did well to finish in one day...I have spent 2 days on this project and have just sewn the flap onto the body. I have to read and re-read each instruction as I am not very good at conceptualising the directions. I have to thank you for the tips. Hopefully I will have a finish by tomorrow.

  3. Oh, Amanda - It's fantastic! I love the colors so much, and they look great with the linen. I was not sure I want to make this I know I will have to make one, even if it isn't this week. Thanks for the great tips!!!

  4. Thanks so much for your post about this project - confess I'm a little frightened of it! ;-/ Oh and your bag is lovely!

  5. Wow, well done you trying this bag without having any bag making experience, it was a tough one but you've done an amazing job! I love the fabrics you've chosen.

  6. I just found you over at Amy's! I have to become a follower! Your work and your writing are lovely! Your bag is amazing!!
    Simply Miss Luella