Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quilted Messenger Bag with iPad Sleeve

iPad Messenger Bag
I have never been much of a purse person, though I've always appreciated a good bag.  I've made some tote bags and my quilted crossbody purse that I use regularly. Sometimes I want to bring my ipad along and need extra space. 

Messenger bags had been on my mind for a while now. My daughter asked for one last spring with her initial on it. I felt a proper messenger bag should have zippers and pockets.  I read about recessed zippers and flaps and things. But then she changed her mind. 

This bag started with the fabric as many projects do. I was looking for fabric with sewing machines and notions on it and found some. The colors might not have been my first choice, but when I looked closely at the brown, tans and turquoise, it was a good fit. 

My iPad determined the basic size. I began with the back panel ( 12" wide by 10 1/8" tall) and pieced together a strip which I inserted into the sewing fabric. Then I worked on the front panel knowing that it would be mostly hidden under the flap. I inserted a strip in the middle, then added two strips on top. Pockets were the next step. I added one for pens (5 1/4" x 3 1/4" cut on fold) and one small pocket (4 1/2" x 4" cut on fold). 

Next I made a front flap (11" x 14 1/4"). While I have made many tote bags, this was my first messenger bag. The front flap and the side strip were new to me. For try front flap, I tried to match up the fabric to the front panel once again piecing a strip and inserting it in the sewing fabric. I went back and forth with the sizing of the panel. After piecing, I decided it needed to be longer.  I added a bit to the bottom and then two strips to the top.  The one end I did curve the corners before putting it all together.  When I was constructing the bag I ended up trimming the sides more. I think leaving the sides the same width as the front panel would be better. 

The next panel I made was for the iPad pocket. Ultimately, I trimmed the height of this during construction once the outside bag was together. I just kept testing things with the iPad and parts together.  I used two layers of printed fabric with batting with a piece of bias across the top. It is a bit floppy. For all the other panels, I added a layer of craft weight interfacing in addition to the batting and would recommend it for this panel as well. Finished size was 8" x 12".
The side strip was next. I cut a strip 3" wide by 36" added batting (will add craft interfacing also next time). 

After making each of these parts, I added the craft interfacing, then a generous piece of batting and quilted them. I did a lot of straight line quilting, but did make some waves too. 

I decided to make a strap with brown on one side and printed on the other.  By this time I had used up most of the two sewing themed prints. I pieced together a long strap at 3.5" wide and then folded the edges into the center.  I did the same with the brown piece and sewed the two layers together with a layer of batting tucked into the print strap. 
Next, I cut out the lining pieces out of the brown fabric. Here I wanted to add a pocket (9.5" x 5") and a zippered pocket. I also decided to add a zippered pocked to the flap lining. I used the tutorial and my images from the crossbody purse. All the lining pieces had craft interfacing on the wrong side except the front flap lining. The front flap had slightly rounded edges on the one end. 

iPad Messenger Bag back
For assembly, I added the side strip to the front peanel, then added the back panel. I did the same with the lining, layering the iPad pocket to the back lining and leaving a small opening (4"-5") in the seam of the side strip and the front lining.  Then it was time to put everything together.  I placed the bag inside the lining, then added the strap and finally lining up the flap so it would be attached right sides together to the back of the bag. Turning the bag out the small opening was a little tricky due to all the interfacing and batting. Finally I pressed the top edges and inside as far as I could go and top stitched around the top edge of the bag being mindful of the strap and front flap. 

iPad Messenger Bag front
This bag came out well. I had perused some messenger bag tutorials, but none stood out as one to make. I did note the ease of adding the side strip.  That was a concern of mine. I did not curve the bottoms of my front and back pieces. I just didn't consider it, but that may make the side strips go on ever easier. An adjustable strap would be a nice addition as well. I didn't have any hardware on hand and like the simplicity of a fixed strap. But I did try out different strap lengths (with my ipad inside the bag) before settling on this length. Another thing I skipped was a front flap fastener. When I use messenger bags, I rarely close them, but it may be nice to have a closure if some sort, perhaps a hidden magnetic closure. 

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