Monday, May 5, 2014

Midtown Messenger Bag

This pattern is by Betz White and is called the Midtown Messenger Bag. Great well written instructions and illustrations.

I met my completely self-imposed deadline of sewing each Bag-of-the-Month in the same month that I received it.  By the skin of my teeth, but still it was done in April. I probably could've gotten this done sooner if I had quit waffling over all my decisions.

First the pattern recommended waxed canvas - there is no waxed canvas to be found locally.  Didn't even look.  Then there is the issue(s) that when you find it on line it is - a) limited colors, b) hideously expensive (at least to my budget) c) in some cases there was a 5 yard minimum per color to order or d) any combination of the above.  So off I go to Google it - there must be a better way.  I found this easy tutorial that I pretty much followed to the letter, Hah! Except my proportions were closer to 1 part beeswax to 2 parts paraffin, and I waxed a yard of canvas before cutting it out a sewing it.  It was actually pretty fun to do, but time consuming.  I see now why it's so expensive. 

Waxed, waiting to be melted into canvas

OK then, now that's done, it's on to the cutting and sewing.  And another horse change midstream - I had my hardware all lined up, nickel finish.  First I'm debating over the thumb catches that I have, they're heavy, more suitable for leather I think.  Then I decide I don't really like the nickel finish with the material I'm using, so off to Etsy to purchase rectangular loops, sliders, and thumb catches in antique bronze.  There are some great vendors on Etsy and I highly recommend both Sewing Supplies and Michelle Patterns.  Order my parts from both on Thursday morning and received the following Monday afternoon! That's pretty stinking quick.

Since this bag was made with my daughter in mind, I got her to help with the picture taking and modeling.


I think she likes it!



A couple of points about this bag -
  1. I would call it and intermediate to advanced pattern.  Mostly because of the layers involved in several places, waxed canvas is heavy and stiff.  There was seam matching across the gusset, front and back.  Fitting a waxed canvas gusset around a curved piece is no picnic. Did I mention it's heavy and stiff?
  2. I highly recommend using a jeans or topstitching needle - refer to 1st point.
  3. I used Annie's Soft and Stable in the flap instead of the batting called for.  It just made it look nicer to me.  The rest of bag was made with batting as the pattern called for.
  4. Take your time with your topstitching, there is a lot of very visible stitching on this bag.
  5. I left ends on both sides of the zipper, giving my daughter a place to pull open and closed.
Overall a really great, challenging pattern and pretty much the perfect size.

Silly out-take

The face I got, when I told her she would have to wait
to actually get the bag

Happy Sewing, Suzanne


  1. Great bag and such cute fabric.

  2. Thanks, it was a lot of fun to do.

  3. I love that you did your own waxed canvas! I just finished the Metro Hipster and ended up ordering the "kit" from Betz's Etsy shop, but with the shipping it was pretty pricey! Your bag looks fantastic!

    1. Thanks! like I said it was pretty easy to wax the canvas just time consuming. I think it is probably more economical to do your own too.

    2. Plus the choices for fabrics becomes limitless really, which is a definite perk! I'm really looking forward to trying it out!