Modified Messenger

What makes a messenger bag a messenger bag? A sizeable front flap, but this modified messenger bag has a smaller flap along with a charming I-cord buttonhole loop. Tired of boring bag straps? The "Variations" section has plenty of ideas for you to play around with.

Materials and vital statistics

  • Measurements: 20 inches x 15 inches
  • Yarn: Heavy worsted-weight wool; approximately 450 yards
  • Needles: One 24-inch size US 10 (6 mm) F; two size US 10 dpns; yarn or tapestry needle for weaving in ends
  • Other materials: One large button or toggle closure; strap of your choice (see "Variations" section); coordinating sewing thread and needle
  • Gauge: 4 stitches and 6 rows per 1 inch


Using a size US 10 circular needle, cast on 150 sts and join round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Knit for 14 inches, and then bind off 100 sts.

Knit for 5 inches, and then bind off 23 sts.

Slip next 4 sts onto one dpn, and knit 3 inches of I-cord or enough to go around your button of choice to allow easy buttoning and unbuttoning.

Bind off 3 sts, and place the last st onto the needle with the remaining 22 sts (23 sts).

Bind off.

Finishing: Seam bottom of bag closed, and weave in all ends. Sew on strap and/or button(s).


You can modify your messenger bag in a variety of ways. Following are some suggestions:

I Knit the bag for 20 inches instead of 14, and then felt it.

I Experiment with unusual straps to make your bag stand out. Options include multiple strands of knitted I-cord that you braid together or even a braided fabric tube strap (to match a fabric lining for the bag, perhaps?). Search thrift stores or the back of your closet for interesting old belts, which make great straps — and very sturdy ones, to boot. (Of course, you can always opt for nylon webbing, sold in sewing stores.)

I Knit buttonholes into the bottom edge of your bag's flap instead of using a buttonhole loop.

I Make your bag from stripes of various leftover yarns. Better still, get together with your knitting friends and swap leftover yarns; even if you all knit the same pattern, your bags will look quite different.

I Work a Fair Isle or intarsia pattern on the bag (see Chapter 13).

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