Kid-size messenger bags for adventuring! http://kimwerker.com/blog

When we were planning our summer camping trip with friends – a two-week road trip with two pretty-much-seven-year-olds – we got it in our heads that it would be fun to give the kids merit badges as they accomplish cool stuff over the course of the trip.

Which sparked the question of what the kids would do with their merit badges. Um, also I ordered a lot of them.

Their school backpacks have too many pockets and zippers to make them a good canvas for sewing badges onto, and anyway we suspect that once it’s time to go back to school they might not want their school bag to be covered in badges for things like playing frisbee golf or cooking with pie irons.

The obvious solution was to make them messenger bags for the trip. The flap would be the perfect canvas for sewing badges onto, and the bag would be great for beach-combing and finding all kinds of other treasures while we explore the world.

I’m not exactly an expert bag sewer, and my friend hadn’t sewn since she was in school, but we decided to go for it.

I picked up some olive-coloured cotton canvas fabric for the outside of the bag, and lightweight quilting cotton for the pockets and linings. My kid is bananas for baseball and my friend’s is similarly in love with soccer, so there you go.

We followed these instructions, with the following modifications:

  • Downsized the bag to make it more appropriate for young kids:
    • Finished size 9″w x 11″h x 3″d (it looks quite a bit narrower because the depth of the bag)
      • Body and lining cut to 11″ x 23″ (sized for 1/2″ seam allowances instead of 1/4″)
      • Flap and lining cut to 9″ x 12.5″
  • No applique or other decoration on the flaps
  • Slightly rounded flap corners for my kid’s bag (baseball); pointed corners for my friend’s kid’s (soccer)
  • No inside pockets
  • Outside pocket under the flap rather than on the back side of the bag that rests against your body when you wear it (this was as much due to not understanding from the instructions that the pocket wasn’t actually intended to go under the flap in the first place)
  • Made an adjustable strap using these instructions instead of making the one-size strap in the bag instructions

This project took us way longer than we thought it would, but in the process she remembered how to use a sewing machine and I remembered why I don’t make more bags. In the end, though, we’re really happy with how they came out, and we hope the kids take to them, too.

Kid-size messenger bags for adventuring! http://kimwerker.com/blog