Orange Structured Messenger Bag

Orange messenger front detailEver since I first used By Annie’s Soft and Stable in my kiss clasp purse, I’ve been wanting to try it with my favorite messenger bag pattern. The Soft and Stable gives body and structure to bags that you just don’t get with interfacing and batting. After regular use, my kiss clasp purse still sits up by itself (although the fabric is getting to be a little worse for wear).

Soft and Stable

The messenger bag pattern is one I made last year in blue and orange. So this time I decided to not only make it with the Soft and Stable but to mix up the palette, going with orange and blue.

The pattern I used for the kiss clasp purse suggested that you use a zigzag stitch to sew the Soft and Stable to your cut pattern pieces. Here’s my messenger bag flap stitched and ready to go.

Orange messenger flap

The instructions for the kiss clasp purse called for cutting squares from the corners of the fabric for the boxed bottom, rather than trying to match the seams and then trimming off the corners. I found the square method so much easier, so I applied it to this bag as well. I layered my lining pieces, right sides together, cut squares from the bottom corners, then stitched the sides and bottom. I repeated this with the exterior pieces.

Orange messenger boxed corners

With the corners removed, you can easily match up the side and bottom seams to finish the bottom.

Orange messenger boxed seam

As usual, I added all the pockets I like to have. The interior includes a zipper pocket and a simple flat pocket. As always, I turned to The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam for reminders of best practices when it comes to pockets.

Orange messenger inside panel 1

Orange messenger inside panel 2

I also added a zipper pocket on the exterior. I was a little nervous about this because I would be cutting through the Soft and Stable, which just seemed really thick.

Orange messenger fat lip

In my first attempt (above), my zipper had a fat lower lip. I didn’t get close enough to the fabric edge, so too much of the Soft and Stable pooched out. But I tried again, and I was happy with the result.

Orange messenger side and back

The bag does have great body—I love that it can sit up by itself. The added structure makes the gaps at the sides of the flap a bit more pronounced, but if it’s not tipping over, then the contents should stay put.

Orange messenger hanging

About the fabrics: The orange and white piece is a home decor fabric remnant that I picked up at Creativities, an art studio just a few blocks from my house. The rest of the fabrics are from my orange stash. I kind of liked the idea of a travel theme for this bag, since I think it will be great for trips of all sorts. So I was glad I had some camper and bicycle fabrics to use.

Orange messenger open

Overall, I’m very happy with the bag. I’ll be taking it on our upcoming beach trip, so I’ll see what it’s like to use. But for now, I plan to use Soft and Stable in all my bags.

Orange messenger side view

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