Boys Messenger Bags…

This is to be a quick post as in half an hour I shall be wrapped up warm and singing carols in the school playground.

Thanks for all your lovely comments and get wells from the last post (I will reply to comments when I have a mo), I am feeling much better and today for the first time in weeks I have been busy in the studio sewing.  This is partly, I admit that I have zero time left to finish up any secret gifts for the boys so I have favoured sewing over housework….which let’s face it, I’d probably do anyway.

A while ago now I read this fantastic post by Zoe of Scented Sweetpeas with the most adorable linen nature satchel she had made for her daughter and I instantly felt inspired to make the boys a bag each for Christmas, like many mums I often end up as the family mule and I think encouraging the boys to sometimes carry their own things on outings is a great idea.  Zoe’s bag is lovely, I especially like her idea to use a laminated lining as both my boys are a bit messy and being able to wipe the inside is a great idea.

After coming up with some designs of my own based on past bag making, a hunt around the internet and a good think about what the boys requirements are I settled on using a pattern for a messenger bag from the book ‘little things to sew’ by Oliver +S.  I figured the boys need pockets and ideally an adjustable shoulder strap as they seem to grow inches practically every day and this fitted the bill perfectly.  It’s rare for me to sew from patterns but this seemed so right it was an obvious choice to use it.  After a little tweet about what materials to use, I dyed some of my linen union that has been sitting around in a box for ages and borrowing Zoe’s fantastic idea ordered some oil cloth for the linings.

For the straps I bought some heavy cotton webbing, in the pattern you stitch your own but I figured the boys are going to be rough on them so I wanted something strong and durable and I liked the idea of the contrast of textures and colours.  The bag in the book uses contrasting binding which I think would work quite well but as I was unsure of the ‘decoration’ I might add to the front, I decided to use a similar colour from my ready made cotton bias-binding stash.

I also didn’t bother with the front pocket flaps, I plan to make a version for myself in tweed (of course!) and then I will put them in but for the boys I preferred the idea of leaving them off and the pockets very accessible.  Luckily I had the entire bags stitched up except for the front main flap which I’d left unstitched to I could add some personalisation, before we all got ill.  I simply couldn’t decide what to do there, I had originally planned monster faces with gnashing teeth, but the boys are growing up fast and I wanted to make something they wont tire of too easily and with a more grown-up feel.

In the end I decided on stripes and their names.  I have rushed this morning to finish and hide them and in doing so they are not as ‘perfect’ as I would like.  The appliqued names were difficult to do, as I had the bags already made up I had to maneuver the entire bag under the machine which was quite difficult and the final binding around the outside could have been neater but on the whole I am very pleased.  I also forgot to add some D-rings and snaps for attaching ‘things’ which is a shame.

Right, must dash as I don’t want to miss seeing the kids sing, I actually prefer it to the nativity play, it’s nice to have all the school together and the parents joining in, who knows, if I carry on feeling so well I may even go for it tonight and have my first glass of (mulled) wine for some weeks 🙂

28 thoughts on “Boys Messenger Bags…

  1. So glad you’re feeling better Beth. The bags are fab – the linen looks very cool and I love the idea of a wipeable inside! In fact I’ve just ordered the Oliver + S book after reading your post because I want to make my son one for his birthday in January (too late for xmas!). I’m sure your boys will love them. x
    PS. Didn’t realise you had a Charlie too! x

    1. Thanks Jane, I feel hugely better! The book is a gem, sadly it’s got lots of lovely things for girls and younger children (both of which I’ve missed the boat one now) but I think it’s worth it for the bag pattern alone and I’m going to patiently wait for one of my friends to have a girl so I can make a tutu and a red riding hood cape! Bx Charlie is the best name 😉

  2. …just catching up with ALL my blog reading now that it’s “the holidays”, so a rare comment from me to say: i hope you get jolly soon! what a frustrating time of the year to be ill :/

    fab bags for the boys – and everything else you’ve been up to! i hope you have a lovely restful christmas …and i look forward to buying more birds next year! x

    1. Cheers dears, we are well now and enjoying not having school runs or the amazing list of things needed for the last 2 weeks of school! Time to relax and enjoy doing very little for the next few days. Hope all is going well for you. Bethx

  3. Oh Beth, poor you! Just catching up on some blogging now the Christmas rush has subsided (well, workwise, now just got the rest of it to do!) and am full of sympathy for you and your pneumonia, alongside a rather broken sounding husband! It’s awful when both parents are wiped out while the kids are in fine fettle, so I’m glad to hear you’re on the mend.

    The bags look fab, the boys will be the envy of the playground.

    1. Thanks Flora, we are getting much better, M has his op tomorrow so I’ll be home alone for a few days but I feel ready for it. Hope you are having a calmer last few days and everything is going well. Bethx

  4. I’m so glad you are up and running again Beth. Those bags are super, your boys will love them. My (now 23 year old) son would have loved something like that, he was forever putting things in his pockets as we walked to school…you would be amazed what I would find on washing day…dried out snails, leaves, conkers and even a dead worm once..LOL. Enjoy all the fun of this special time of year. Keep well.
    Jane x

    1. Thanks Jane, we are having a lovely relaxing weekend and getting into the festive spirit 🙂 I can’t wait for the boys to have proper bags, they do have packpacks but it’s not the same as they have to take them off to put anything in, I do hope they like them. Bx

    1. I like the green best as well, they actually look nicer in real life, less ‘flat’ as the linen has a nice weave. I asked the boys their favourite colours before I began, sadly F has since announced it’s no longer blue – lol! Oh well. Bx

  5. Wow those bags are fantastic, love the retro look of them. It is also very humbling to have inspired someone who makes the most gorgeous things, I can only dream of being as good at you at sewing! Thanks for mentioning me in your blog 🙂 So glad you are feeling better xxx Now the only issue I have with this blog is that I now have another book for my wish list , I think i will have a craft book library the way I am going :-o. PS hope the carol service wasn’t too cold x

    1. Oh please no, you make the most wonderful things and I often feel for myself, having learned to design and sew for my degree (and all the years before) has given me a great start, I was taught very well by great tutors including the best ever sewing teacher who made me do everything ‘properly’, habits I find hard to break. It’s a lovely book, in all honesty geared towards small kids (as it says on the front) but beautiful simple designs and clear instructions. Bx

  6. So glad you’re feeling much better Beth!
    The bags are great, your (very lucky) boys will love them.
    Hope you enjoyed the carol service and the mulled wine! 😉
    V x

  7. The bags are great – I’m sure the boys will love them. I wondered whether you’d mind sharing where you got the webbing and oilcloth? I’m being lazy! I’ve wondered about making these bags for the kids (its a lovely book isn’t it) and I think the oilcloth lining would make them much more practical.
    Hope you keep well from now on. Juliex

    1. Oh and I meant to say, the only thing about the oilcloth is it moves like crazy when you’re stitching. It’s not impossible to work with but as my linen was also quite stretchy it made things rather fun (not!). Bx

      1. I agree the oilcloth is a nightmare as a liner isn’t it – I am only just learning to sew and I think I picked the worst combo of fabrics being linen and oilcloth for Esme’s bag 🙂 Glad a talented lady thought the same, thought it was just me experiencing a learning curve 🙂

  8. Lovely bags, Beth! And how handy to have different colors, even in the most dark and tired morning and just one eye open boys can reach the right bags 🙂

    Happy week, it’s almost… Christmas!


  9. Love the bags! The straps are perfect boys – I am going to keep them in mind for the future. I think my son would prefer them to fabric anyway. Another amazing project! I am so glad you are continuing to get better.

  10. I saw these the other day and have only now found the chance to leave a comment! They are lovely, I keep thinking about making Mr D a messenger bag but haven’t yet attempted it maybe I should start with bags for the boys first!
    Your boys are going to love them and also their special mice, they really do have a very clever mum, I wonder if they realise it yet!

    1. Oddly M had a good nosey at the boys ones and has asked for s similar one for himself with a padded inside pocket for his laptop and one for his kindle so I’ll have a go in the new year (mine in tweed first!). The bags are quite large (I made the 5+ and adult version) so should be big enough.

      On the other subject F said to me the other day (and I’m quoting my tweet here so I get it right)

      ‘you know mummy, one day you will be famous because you make fantastic things with your sewing’

      which he said out of the blue and it nearly made me cry as he’s never really mentioned my sewing before, and I certainly didn’t think he thought it was anything special. Bx

  11. The bags are awesome Beth! Oh I know what you mean about boys growing up so fast and there being a limit to how much longer they’ll want anything with ‘cute’ factor… sob! I was just looking through my fabric stash and thinking I’d better use up cutesy things fast.
    Thank you for your lovely comment on my blogiversary post. It’s such a delight to have connected with you across the world!
    – Jane (of Lempo Bee – with a Charlie too – I see another Jane with a Charlie commented! Charlies rock!)

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