Home Projects Outdoors Leatherworking Hatchet sheath Cardholder pattern Double-gusset shoulder bag Messenger bag About Me


I enjoy making small to medium sized leather goods. I'll share finished projects, designs, and techniques.

Nigel Armitage messenger bag

This project was my first bag. I had wanted to scale up to larger projects for a while, but the increased complexity and size intimidated me a little. The solution was to follow a pattern, specifically this Nigel Armitage messenger bag how to on Youtube. If you Paypal him $10 he'll reply with a design document that takes a lot of the stress of your back. I was happy to do so and pleasantly surprised with the result.

Front view. The distortion you see in the main body is from the chunky book I was carrying at the time

I made a few small changes to his design, electing for a different closure and choosing to line the bag with fabric.

Showing the super creepy elk of doom lining

The closure was something I picked up off the shelf at a local Vancouver leather shop, Lonsdale Leather. Helpful folks there. I really like the metal on metal look of it, and the closure mechanism is fun to play with, snapping satisfyingly into place.

Rear view. In hindsight I'm not sure how useful this rear pocket actually is. Anything bulky shoved in there would cause the bag to lie awkwardly against your body.


  • Style: Book-bag, one flap, one gusset, one back pocket, one interior pocket
  • Leather: 5-6 oz Horoween Chromexcel (I think?). I wish I had 6-7oz to use for the main body and strap and 3-4oz to use for the pockets and gusset, but this worked well enough
  • Dimensions: Roughly 8" x 11" x 1.5". HOlds a tablet or a novel nicely, but it doesn't quite fit a sheet of paper
  • Thread: 0.035" Maine Waxed Cord in Brown
  • Lining: Cotton. Unfortunately it looks like the supplier has discontinued this particular pattern