After days of knitting, sewing, photographing, pattern & tutorial preparation, here is the Entrelac Messenger Bag I did from the rectangle piece of woven-look I have shown you… Yippee, I am completely thrilled of its outcome, never thought it could turn out so perfect and practical.
At first, I just blindly made the entrelac piece with Lion Brand cotton yarns without knowing what to do with it. A few options ran through my mind… I could make a different kind of bag, cushion or throw pillow cover, maybe join a few pieces to become a baby blanket…. but ended up with an Entrelac Messenger Bag.
I added long straps which act as a gusset for the bag. Added a side pocket to house my giant smartphone. This time I don’t want to sew any zipper, instead I fold the bag down as a closure, so I needed another 2 smaller pieces of gusset for the fold down.
I always love to line my bag and this time I made a center divider plus a pocket in the bag. The divider inside the Entrelac Messenger Bag is great for holding books and flat items like documents. Though adding a lining to the messenger bag is optional but I would recommend to have it. Not only that a lined bag gives a professional look, but it also gives a better structure to the shape. A soft and stretchy bag (especially a knitted bag) looks best when it is lined. You may add pockets to the lining for extra storage inside the bag to keep small items.
Let’s make the Entrelac Messenger bag with the following free knitting pattern and tutorial, complete with lining-making instructions.
- Yarn, Lion Brand, Lion Cotton Yarn/color: Natural (beige) #760-098 & Evergreen #760-180, qty = 2 balls for each color.
- Lining & pocket fabric, 1 yard
- Divider fabric, 1/2 yard
- Knitting needle, 4.5mm
- Crochet hook (if needed), 4.5mm
- Tapestry needle
- Sewing machine and kits
Dimension & Pattern: Download pdf document here.
Bag: 12″ (W) x 14″ (H) x 4″ (D) (with closure folded down and exclude strap)
k = knit
p = purl
1. Bag body – entrelac stitch (click here for the details). I used 6 stitches per pattern instead of the 5 shown in the videos.
2. Strap & Gusset – seed stitch, Row 1: *k1, p1; rep from * Row 2: *p1, k1; rep from *
3. Top Gussets – seed stitch, 2 pieces (top gussets are pieces that join the sides of the bag to make the fold-down closure)
4. Pocket – k6 row (beige), *p2 row (green), p1 row (beige), k5 row (beige)* Repeat * 5 times.
MORE DETAILS ON HOW TO KNIT
ENTRELAC MESSENGER BAG
- Knit to make the 5-pieces pattern set according to the pattern sheet.
The arrow shown in the picture indicates the knitting direction for each piece.
Adjust the length of the strap to your preference, do remember to include 28" (the length of both right and left side of the bag) bag's gussets length on the strap. Note that the strap can get stretched when used, so, remember to stretch it when taking measurements to get a more accurate proximity length.
- place the entrelac piece on the table with the short side as the top edge of the ba. Place 2 pieces of Top Gussets to the right and left sides of the entrelac piece, align the top edges.
Make sure both bottom edges of the Top gussets set at the same length as the bag.
- Join gussets to the entrelac bag with mattress stitch. The joining doesn’t have to be in 1:1 stitch, as the knit tensions of entrelac and seed stitch are not the same. Adjust as you sew and make sure they are sewn evenly.
Click here to see how to do mattress stitch.
- After both gussets are sewn to the sides of the bag, fold up the entrelac piece and align it with the top gussets. Sew one of the gussets to the entrelac piece. Leave the other side open.
- To make the top band, pick 108 stitches from the top edge. Knit seed stitch for 13 rows or 2″ up, bind off.
- Sew to stitch up the side of the top band and the open gusset.
- Align the midline of the strap gusset to the bottom of the bag (midline of the entrelac piece if folded crosswise). Sew the end of the strap to the “bottom” of the entrelac bag. Repeat the same to the other side with the other end of the strap gusset.
- Followed by sewing to join the sides to the strap gusset.
- If you prefer a narrower strap, you may fold and sew the sides of the strap together. However, it is completely optional, a wide strap gives a different style too.
If the stretchy strap bothers you, you may add a fabric strip as the lining of the strap and hide it inside the sewn strap.
Bag Lining (Optional)
- Though the lining is optional I strongly recommend adding it to the bag.
Cut the fabrics according to the pattern.
- Place 2 divider pieces with the right sides together, sew the top edge with 1/2″ seam allowance. Flip over, press seam, and double topstitch (about 1/8" and 5/8" from the edge) on the right side of the top edge.
Do the same to the pocket. I embellished the pocket with some appliques (using this technique), but it is optional.
Align the bottom edges of all layers. Ignore the extra length of my divider piece showing up in the picture, they should align neatly if you follow the pattern dimension accordingly.
Sew 1/4″ around the 3 raw edges of the divider, then sew the center of the pocket with a narrow double topstitch (to divide the pocket into 2 equal size compartments).
- Sandwich the divider with 2 lining pieces, right side facing.
Align and pin.
- Sew the bottom edge only with 1/2" seam allowance, start from 1/2" from the corner, and end at 1/2" away from the other corner.
- Bring the bottom corner of the sides of the lining downward and inward to meet with the unsewn corner of the bottom seam line. Sandwich the divider to the sides of the lining. Note that the cutout squares of the lining are now folded into diagonals. Sew side seams with 1/2″ seam allowance, stop the stitch 1/2" away from the bottom seam.
- Clip the corner of the divider seam allowance diagonally.
- Split and press the clipped seam allowance of the divider and flatten the base to create a gusset side.
Sew the gusset with 1/2″ seam allowance.
- Double fold the top edge, press, and double topstitch about 1/8" and 5/8" from the folded edge. [without photo]
- The center divider splits the bag into 2 equal compartments.
I turned the lining to show the look of the compartment that has a pocket on it.
- Turn both the lining piece and knitted bag right-side in. Place both bottom gusset seam together, align. Hand-sew both bottom gussets seams together. This step will ensure the lining sits securely inside the Entrelac Messenger Bag.
- Align the top edge of the lining to the knitted bag, just below the top band. Slip stitch to sew the lining to the bag.
Put your belongings into the Entrelac Messenger Bag, fold the opening down and you are ready to go. 🙂
- If you are using different yarn weight that has different knit tension/gauge as mine, you may adapt your own number of stitches and rows to make up the size.
- The last row of the entrelac will be wider than the first row, some stitch reduction is needed when sewing together.
- Adjust the strap dimension to your preference. Since the strap can get elongated when use, remember to stretch it and measure the longest length it can get.
- Block each knitted piece to the nearest dimension on the pattern or as per your knit tension gauge. Don’t skip this step
- Due to the cotton yarn I used, the bag is a little heavy than I thought. You may substitute it with other similar yarn weight.