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So you wanna make your own messenger bag, do ya? Well, you're in luck.
I've written a handful of DIY guides to bagmaking on my blog.

One:  This is the first how-to I wrote back in oh-seven. It has the most amount of
information and offers patterns for several different kinds of bags.
I update it every once in a while, when I learn something new or change my mind about
something. The patterns I've posted are a little on the small side, though. Beware.

Two:  This is a step-by-step for a pretty simple messenger bag. It's a good starter bag.

Three:  Here's a series of photos of me making one of my 22-inch bags. Some things have changed
on my newer bags, but for the most part it's the same.

Four:  This is a short bit about the "suspended strap system" that you see on some messenger bags.

Five:  How Leif Labs' patterns are born.

Happy Sewing!


I build my bags to last a long, long time. But, you know, everything falls apart.
And I know I won't be there when it does. There's no way I can. I'm just one guy.
So I want to let you know this: It's easy to fix bags.
And it keeps them out of the landfill and adds some sweet character to 'em too. Yeah!

All you need is the right tool. And that would be the ever-majestic sewing awl.
This tool lets you sew heavyweight fabrics without a sewing machine.
Now you just need some nylon or polyester upholstery thread and you're set.
This is the awl I have: The Awl for All (awlforall.com). 

Common Problems

(In the works ... email me for instructions.)

How to replace a buckle.
Holey corners.
Loose webbing.
Busted seams.
Worn-out straps.