Project Quick and Easy Reversible Messenger Bag

By Kelly Laws

Skill Level: Beginner  

-+ FromTo Love List

Looking for a fast, easy and simple first project? Try this durable and reversible messenger bag! Beginners and experienced sewists alike can create this versatile bag for school, work or travel. Compact enough to fit in luggage on a trip, but strong enough to hold a tablet or computer, this bag is great for yourself or to give as a gift. Download printable instructions here.


  • All-purpose thread
  • 1-1/4 yard printed home décor fabric or canvas
  • 1-1/4 yard solid home décor fabric or canvas
  • 1-1/4 yard medium interfacing
  • 1 yard trim
  • Chalk
  • Ruler
  • 12" x 3" piece of cardboard


  • Baby Lock Jane Sewing machine


  1. Cut:

    1. One 14" x 39" piece of print fabric for the main bag

    2. One 14" x 39" piece of solid fabric for the main bag

    3. One 2-1/4" x 45" piece of solid fabric for the strap

    4. Two 3-3/4" x 11-3/4" pieces of print fabric for the side strips

    5. Two 3-3/4" x 11-3/4" pieces of solid fabric for the side strips

  2. On the main bag pieces, curve off the corners on one end, leaving the other short end with square corners.

  3. Thread the machine with all-purpose thread in the needle and bobbin.

  4. Using a ruler and chalk, mark two parallel lines 4" up and 1 ½" apart from the rounded end of the main bag outer fabric.

  5. Align the trim along these lines and topstitch in place.

  6. Place the main bag sections together, right sides facing.

  7. Using a ¼" seam allowance stitch around the outer edge, leaving a 4" opening close to the center of one side seam approximately to allow for turning.

  8. Turn the main section right side out.

  9. Place two side strips right side together and stitch around the outer edge, leaving one end open for turning.

  10. Repeat for the remaining side piece.

  11. Align the side piece to the side of the main bag section, matching up the ends with the square end of the main bag.

  12. Stitch the main bag to the side strip down one side across the bottom and up the other long side of the main strip. The main strip should end leaving the curved flap of the main bag section l

  13. Repeat for the other side. Remember to back tack at the end and beginning of the seams for reinforcement.

  14. For the strap, fold under ¼" along one long side, press. Fold both sides of the strap in to the center until the folded edge lines up with the edge of the strap creating a tri-fold.

  15. Topstitch along the edge of the strap securing the folded ends in place. Repeat this topstitch seam on the other side to make the stitching lines uniform and to add stability to the strap.

  16. Fold under the raw edge of the strap and position it centered on the side of the bag. Stitch the end in place by topstitching an “x” over the end of the strap. Repeat for the other side.

  17. Press to shape the bag.

  18. Cut a piece of cardboard and insert it into the base of the tote.

  19. Since each section was stitched then turned, all raw edges are enclosed. This makes the bag useable on either side, so turn it inside out; it’s reversible!

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