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Monk's Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Monk's Bag Tutorial & Pattern

When I travel, I am always looking for the perfect travel bag. I like to have a bag that has a shoulder strap long enough to go across my chest, but with a wide strap for comfort. After years of trying to find one, I finally decided to make one!

 My husband and I took a trip to Japan 2 years ago, and I made a modified monk’s bag with some upholstery weight fabric. It worked like a charm!  Enjoy!


Fabric A - 1/2 yard of Echino print, I used Blue Bird Pixel
Fabric B and C - 1 yard each of two Echino solids (if you want the lining to be the same color as the handles, 1 yard will suffice for one bag), I used Fuchsia for the exterior handles and Purple for the lining
Straight Pins
Coordinating or contrasting thread
Rotary cutter
Cutting mat

The Pattern

Before starting, wash, dry and press your fabric.
Be as precise as possible cutting your fabrics. Compare the pieces to one another to make sure they are the same.
All of the seams for this project are 1/2-inch wide unless otherwise noted.
For help using a rotary cutter, please see our Rotary Cutting Tutorial.

Cut Fabric

From fabric A
- Panels: cut 2 pieces that measure 9-inches wide by 14-inches long
- Pocket: cut one piece that is 7-inches wide by 11-inches long

From fabric B
- Exterior handle: cut 2 pieces that are 6.5-inches wide by 34-inches long

From fabric C
- Interior handle: cut 2 pieces that are 6.5-inches wide by 34-inches long
- Panel Lining: cut 2 pieces that are 9-inches wide by 14-inches long
Pin + Sew Exterior of Bag

Align and pin one fabric A panel to one fabric B panel as follows: with right sides together, align long sides as well as the bottom edges, place pins along long edge.

Sew a seam along the long edge, leaving a 1/2-inch gap at the top and bottom of the seam. Don’t press the seams until instructed to do so.

Repeat with second fabric B panel on the opposite side of the fabric A panel.

When you have completed these steps your piece should look like the photo above.

Align and pin the second fabric A panel to the opposite side of one of the fabric B panels as above, right sides together. Don’t forget to leave the 1/2-inch gap at the top and bottom of your seam.

Finally, pin and sew the opposite side of the second fabric A panel to the remaining side of the fabric B. The exterior pieces will all be connected and should form a tube.

Pin + Sew Interior and Pocket

Sew the lining pieces as above, however before sewing the final seam, sew the pocket in place as follows:

Take the fabric A pocket piece, and fold it in half, right sides together to create a 7-inch wide by 5.5-inch long piece. The fold will become the top of the pocket.

Sew seams along both 5.5-inch sides.

Turn the pocket right side out, fold in the open side (the bottom of the pocket) 1/2-inch and press.

Pin pocket to one of the right sides of the interior panel pieces, about 3 inches from the top.

Top stitch into place with a 1/4-inch seam allowance along the sides and bottom of the pocket.

Sew the final seam of the interior panel and handle together.

Assemble Bag

Fold and press the long edges of the handles to the inside 1/2-inch, and also the top edge of the fabric A panel 1/2-inch as pictured above. The 1/2-inch gap you left at the top and bottom of the seam will make this very easy.

Press the fabric A panel side seams towards the handles.

Repeat these steps for the lining.

Monk's Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Sew the tops of the handles together as follows:

For the exterior of the bag, sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Press seams open.

For the lining, sew with a 1-inch seam allowance. Press seams open.

Sew the bottom seams of both the exterior and interior of the bag as follows:

With right sides together, line up the two opposite panels, the handles will be folded in half lengthwise, pin into place. Sew seam using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

Finish Bag

With wrong sides together, slip the lining of the bag inside the exterior of the bag.

Pin the lining and exterior of the bag along the top opening and the handles as pictured above. Take your time to get it right!

Top stitch using a 1/4-inch seam allowance all the way around starting from the top of one side of the panel pieces.

Your bag is finished! Enjoy!

Monk's Bag Tutorial & Pattern

Monk's Bag Tutorial & Pattern


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