This month I’ve abandoned clothing for accessorising, in a quick project suitable for all levels… 

Reversible Messenger Bag

So it’s not much of a secret that most sewing enthusiasts have a slight obsession with hoarding fabrics. Walking into a fabric shop for some needles and thread usually leads to a spontaneous fabric haul, lugging several bags of irresistible prints and knits all the way home. But worse than that? The offcuts! The endless half-metres that are no use for any human sized clothing but too big to justify throwing away. What to do, what to do? Well it seems the answer… is accessories!

This messenger bag uses just under a metre of fabric in total - and is completely reversible! So a perfect way to combine two half-metre lengths of completely different fabrics, and maybe use up some of those offcuts in the process. With only 4 pattern pieces (and no fitting!) this Sewing Pattern is a perfect project for beginners. Lots of straight stitching, a bit of sewing on the curve and some topstitching thrown in there too.

I chose this deconstructed looking Wool Fabric from Minerva’s vaults… it’s really sturdy and easy to sew with and a good solid weight for a bag like this. The “lining” which doubles as an alternative outer is an off-cut of Alexander Henry fabric I’ve been hoarding for months. If you don’t have any offcuts of your own then you could always pick up a funky, bold fabric print from Minerva! You’ll need a little interfacing for the flap, and that’s it. Now, look at this layout and tell me it wasn’t kismet!

I’m so happy with how this turned out. The distressed look with the strong diagonals of frayed threading gives it a real pop, and the other side is a great way to show off a really busy print.

The pattern was so simple and the instructions are very thorough, making it perfect for a beginner. The more experienced sewer could have fun customising this bag with buttons, metallic closures, patch pockets… it’s endless really! Just a note on the seam allowance: it’s only 1cm but from memory this seems usual for bags, accessories, etc.

It took me 4 hours to make, but a good hour of this was fighting with the top-stitching thread. My machine has never enjoyed working with that super thick thread for some reason so there was a lot of chewing up followed by unpicking but I got there in the end and I like the minty green against the neutral grey-brown. If I took out that wasted time (and the several tea and snack breaks!) then I reckon this is a 2 hour project for seasoned sewists.

I love that basically this one bag adds two items to my collection! Of course, you could do both sides in the same fabric or use a traditional lining fabric, but where’s the fun in that?

This is definitely a project for everyone to try!

Happy sewing :)