little things to sew: messenger bag

Even though you wouldn’t guess it from the book’s title, there are a few projects in Oliver + S Little Things to Sew that can be made for both kids and adults.

The messenger bag is one of them. The pattern for this bag comes in two size ranges: small and large. The small size (the one with the yellow trim in this photo) makes a super-cute school bag for preschool and elementary-school aged children. The large size bag (with the blue trim) is perfect for older kids and adults.

We could easily have published the pattern and instructions for this project as a stand-alone Oliver + S sewing pattern. It features the sorts of little details you’ve come to expect from us: an adjustable strap, an inside pocket for pens and pencils, exterior pockets with small flaps to secure the pockets’ contents, and bias bound trim.

You’ll also like the way it all comes together. The construction is quite unique, and you can customize the bag by adding the closures of your choice. Maybe you would like to put snaps or Velcro on the pocket flaps or a buckle and strap on the large top flap. You can also leave it plain, as we did in these photos, which allows the contents to be easily accessed while still keeping them secure.

This is the large sized bag, which is probably still a little too big for our tall five-year-old model. But I can tell you it’s the perfect size for grown-up you. It can easily fit a laptop,  a few books or files, and still  give you plenty of room left over for other items.

After you make the small size messenger bag for the little one in your life, I bet you’ll want to make the larger one for yourself.




  1. Wow, awesome. I would love to get that book and this pattern looks like something I will love to make many times! Great ide to include two sizes, thanks!

  2. mel

    I have waited so long for a good messenger bag pattern. I can’t express how glad I am that it’s coming from O+S! Absolutely a Mommy-Niblet match waiting to happen!

  3. I am counting down the days until Amazon ships your book, I’ve pre-ordered it and cannot wait!
    This bag will be on the top of my list, I can see all of us wanting one!

  4. What a great way to have matching parent/kid items that aren’t too cutesy.

  5. Angela B

    I pre-ordered your book the day you highlighted a few projects from it. I am very eager to receive it! Can’t wait 🙂

  6. katie

    thanks for the post! I think I’d like the smaller size for myself 🙂

  7. I CAN’T WAIT to get this book. i don’t own a single sewing project book since i have a boy and most books focus on girls. but with this book there are SO MANY things to make for boys! I LOVE IT. can’t wait can’t wait..

  8. Reader

    Looks good.

  9. Michelle

    seriously, I cannot wait for this publication!! Everything is gorgeous!

  10. I am looking forward to making these!

  11. I think all three of my kids will want one of these bags. By the time it’s my turn to sew one for me, I will be a pro!

  12. I love this! I am so looking forward to the book! I’m going to be sewing for months.

  13. carol

    beautiful bags… I will make the larger size in a summery print!

  14. I love this bag. I’m finally ready to make it for my 6 yo. to take to her summer day camps (if I can find any time to sew). But I’m in love with this fabric combination and I don’t have anything like it. Where can I find the green fabric?

  15. Valerie

    I have just finished a large sized messenger bag for a 7 year old birthday boy, but I’m having trouble figuring out what type of enclosures to put on the pockets. Because it’s already assembled, is velcro my only option? I bought some magnetic closures, but it seems that they would need to be added when the bag was still unfinished.

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