Introducing the Achatina Messenger Bag Pattern


I’m excited to introduce SeamstressErin Designs’ latest pattern – the Achatina Graphic Messenger Bag. It’s a large messenger bag that’s easy to sew and all sorts of fun to customize. Like the giant snail shell for which this bag is named, you’ll want to carry this bag with you wherever you go. The front flap makes the perfect canvas for graphic appliqués or for showing off unique fabrics. It closes with a velcro tab and has an interior pocket with an optional zipper closure (for intermediate sewists).


I first designed the bag many years ago when my Great Aunt gifted me several bags of polyester fabric that had belonged to my Great Grandmother when she owned a fabric store in the 70’s. I couldn’t bring myself to wear the thick polyester, but it turned out to make the most wonderful bags that I sewed dozens of them. And of course I couldn’t make a bunch of plain bags – I developed a bunch of different appliqué patterns to spice up the front. After gifting the bag to just about everyone I knew, I ended up selling the rest on Etsy (forever ago when Etsy first started). It’s still a go-to pattern for me when I need a quick sew or an easy gift or a new gym bag, so I decided to write up the pattern.

achatina snails

Images from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achatina

I named this bag after the Achatina snail, a genus of large, air-breathing, tropical land snails since I have found myself carrying one version or another of this bag with me just about everywhere for many years.

Achatina Messenger Bag 6

The sewing pattern comes with patterns for 5 different full size appliqué designs – a cityscape, erlenmeyer flask, music notes, polka dots, and a stoplight. It also includes instructions for how to apply the appliqué and of course I’ll be putting together a full step-by-step photo sewalong on the blog if you want even more help with the sewing or the appliqué.


I had so much fun creating appliqué patterns for the front of the bag that I was able to create 6 different appliqué expansion packs, each with a dozen different patterns! The patterns are sized perfectly for the front of the Achatina, although they could easily be used elsewhere. I’ll share a bunch more about the appliqué patterns soon, but in the meantime you can go peek at them in the shop. The available themes are Anglophile, Animals, Around the World, Craft, Nature, and Tattoo.

Achatina Messenger Bag 4

One of the things that I like about the bag is how the front flap shows off unique fabrics. Without an appliqué, you can still make a striking bag by your fabric choice like this sample I made from an old blanket. As a blank canvas, it’s also a great gender neutral pattern that work well for all ages. Yes! An easy sewing pattern that works for men and tweens alike!

Achatina Messenger Bag capacity

You may have noticed by now that I like to carry big bags, and the Achatina is no exception. Is the perfect size for carrying anything you might need for a full day on the run. It easily fits a book, snack, sweatshirt, and a knitting project with room to spare. Or fill it up with text books, a change of clothes, and your gym shoes. Whatever you want to carry, there’s room.


Achatina Messenger Bag 3

Achatina Messenger Bag 2

Achatina Messenger Bag 1

Comments 2

  1. Great pattern. Now all you need to is create a change bag version with a fold out wipe-clean mat! I made a bit of a fetish of minimising the baby gear I carried around with me and so I made change mats out of non-PVC waterproof fabric and fleece that could be thrown in the washing machine and folded down to almost nothing.

    Ooh, and how about a pattern for a mei tai sling with applique to match the bag. You did ask for ideas.

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