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How to Make a Simple Shoulder Bag

Messenger Bag


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Date and Time of Class: July 13 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

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The “How to” series of workshops with experienced teacher and textile artist, designer Gary Mills, are short micro workshops to help you improve and develop skills in varying sewing and textiles processes. In this workshop Gary will show you how to make a simple shoulder bag from a range of selected fabrics. This is an ideal project to use up any sample and orphan practice quilt blocks which you can incorporate, such as in Gary’s example where he has used a past denim tumbling blocks sample, although plain fabrics can also be used. You can also consider additional decoration or motifs to the front of the bag.

What You Will Learn in this Workshop

This is a lovely simple method to make a lined bag with a shoulder strap. You will be measuring, cutting out and constructing with machine sewing. You will be learning the “bagging-out” method of lining your bag. You are welcome to add any details or decoration to your bag.

Level of Experience

  • The class is suitable for the beginner or the intermediate with some machine sewing experience.

Materials / Equipment required by Attendees


Use pure cotton prints and plain colours, you can use cotton drill or denim.

  • For the front flap front and back fabric 8 ½ “x 11 ½ “ x 2 + batting 8 ½ “x 11 ½”
  • The bag outer 10 ½ “x 14 ½ “ x 2
  • The bag lining or inner 10 ½ “x 14 ½ “ x 2
  • The strap 4” x 60” (approx. as depends how long you want the strap)
  • Optional: any decoration or fastenings you may wish to add


  • Pins
  • Hand sewing needles
  • Small embroidery scissors, fabric shears or rotary cutter
  • Good quality machine thread matching with the chosen fabrics
  • Chop stick or something to push out corners
  • Sewing Machine (needle size 12-14 for cotton weights or 16 for cotton drill
    and denim)

If you do not have a Sewing Machine, or don’t want to bring your own, you can use one of our latest Brother demonstration machines for the nominal fee of £3.00 per session.


  • Gary Mills