Tulip Messenger Bag

By Aneesah, 21 Apr 12

Assalamu’alaikum & yellow.

My friend slash loyal customer, Kak Yana, asked me to make her a camera bag. This was in last January. πŸ˜› I said ok, she showed me links and pictures of the kind of bag she wanted, and then I scoured my fabric (/used clothes) stash for something suitable.

We ended up going with the stack of denim. (Jeans were kinda cheap in the UK. I used to buy kids-sized jeans a lot, and not ashamed of it. :B )

I then put together an inspiration board of sorts just to confirm with her the direction we were taking. I loved those swivel hooks that I stole from a free laptop bag (srsly nobody uses the bag their laptop came with -_-; ). I didn’t use the adjustable strap ring though, because the strap became un-adjustable once I chose to use eyelets to attach the strap to the sides of the bag. Don’t worry if this doesn’t make any sense.

I first made the flap part of the bag, specifically the tulip element. I totally plagiarised the tulip design from that image I found when Googling (above). I followed this YouTube tutorial to learn how to do patchwork via paper-piecing (which involves literally sewing through paper with the fabric pieces).

For the rest of the bag, I followed Lisa Lam’s “Organised Office Bag” instructions in her book, The Bag Making Bible (my copy is signed by her, too! Muahahaha. :dance: ). She’s also written another book, A Bag for All Reasons, which — among others — has an awesome-looking satchel design. =Q

The 'Organised Office' bag

This next bit shows that design doesn’t always go right. _ I couldn’t figure out how to have ‘yana’ on the flap without it looking too brand-y. The colourful version below was my first attempt. I of course, immediately hacked off unpicked the whole thing after I took a look at it. :suspicious: It was only after I did the rest of the bag that I came back to the flap and embroidered just a tiny name near the leaf (you will see this later on).

Photos of basting and putting the flap + bag together…

Oh and I discovered the wonderful world of grommets/eyelets, via a local online Facebook seller, Edina’s Craft. It took me a good number of botched attempts to figure out which side of the tool goes where (because it involved hammering the elements together :nod: ).

And… three months later (I only had a few free weekends… πŸ™ weeknights are kinda tricky for me to do crafting. Need to improve on this.), here is the finished bag:

It is a little bit of a stiff bag because I did not want it to be floppy. Aside from interfacing, I also used stiff curtain hook trim (not sure what to call it… but it is this white stiff strip of fabric sewn onto old-style curtains where you slide in the metal hooks in channels) sewn into the bag to keep the sides/front from falling in. And inside the flap. And in the base of the bag. Lisa uses polyester boning (usually for corsets) to do the same with some of her bags.

The purse feet were from Lisa as well (I got them as part of a goodie bag thing when purchasing her book πŸ™‚ ). The feet are kinda like brads, and also functions to hold the stiff curtain strip to the fabric (on the inside). Oh, and note that I did look for grommets that matched the swivel hooks (shiny black instead of bronze), but the supplier did not have them. =/

I put in a front zipper pocket for a wallet or other accessories, and inside are two pockets for her two phones. One pocket is elasticised, the other was actually a back pocket from one of the jeans I cut up.

And this is me (shadowed out, because I would make a terrible model otherwise) wearing the bag to show scale. Fifty the cat was actually there in the right photo, slinking around my legs like he always likes to do. :T

Overall my sewing skills still need to improve (by a lot πŸ˜› ), I need to be more accurate with following the pattern pieces and making sure the lining fits the bag, etc. etc. But using new hardware and learning new techniques are really fun (and awesome and good), and actually having people commission me to make things for them is also one way to push myself to be crafty. (Because I don’t need that many bags of my own, really. ^^; )



  1. Natalie says:

    It’s great you did an amazing job on it.

  2. kak yana says:

    fav bag still. πŸ˜›

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