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Scraps to Satchel: How to Craft Your Own Musette Bag

In our first DIY sewing guide, Cass DePetrillo from Loophole Bags in Vancouver shows us how to make a musette bag with household materials. This perfect cycling companion is bound to inspire your inner sewer. Get set to create.

Scraps to Satchel: How to Craft Your Own Musette Bag

Hi there! I’m Cass—the creator and designer of a small bike bag company, Loophole Bags, in Vancouver, Canada. My company is focused on sustainability and upcycling, by using deadstock textiles, off cuts and scrap fabric. I started making bags 4 years ago, all from materials I had laying around the house. I was really inspired by the things I could repurpose, and eventually making bags became more than just a hobby and I started creating bags for people within the cycling community. As a bikepacker who is mindful of my environmental impact, considering sustainability in product creation comes naturally to me. I always want to encourage people to think critically about where their products come from and how to properly care for the things we already own.

I encourage people to try to make things themselves! I became obsessed with the Reddit channel r/myog, where I felt a whirlwind of inspiration from DIYers around the globe. All you need is a sewing machine, some fabric and only a little bit of courage to jump into any project.

Musettes are a great lightweight alternative to a bulky bag. They usually fold into themselves so they fit into a pocket and can be conveniently unfolded when you spontaneously go shopping for snacks, a record, a book! When I started designing this bag, I realized it was simple enough for beginners to make. And the pattern is very adjustable, so you can alter the sizing to fit your needs.

I'm not here to hand you an easy, printable pattern. Instead, I'm here to empower you with a creative choice for this bag - to encourage you to make it uniquely yours! My role is to guide you in creating something that suits your needs, highlighting the beauty and personal investment in bag making. The uniqueness of bags lies in their adaptability to the individual, becoming incredibly versatile with even the simplest tweaks.

You can craft this simple yet functional bag using materials readily available at home, transforming the sourcing process into an enjoyable exploration of repurposing what you already own. For instance, webbing can be salvaged from an old IKEA tote, while the main fabric could be repurposed from a tent or a beyond-repair rain jacket. The possibilities for using pre-loved materials are limitless, making the creative repurposing journey exciting.

What You’ll Need

While I recommend using a sewing machine for this project, I'm aware that there are skilled hand sewers out there who could undoubtedly complete it entirely by hand!


  • An old tent or jacket - something with a lightweight feeling
  • 1” webbing (1x 3”L 1x 10”L & 1x 30”L)
  • Bias tape - you can also make your own
  • String - 30” piece


  • 1” ladder lock (or whatever width your webbing is)
  • 1” velcro (2” pieces - hook & loop) - you can also use a button for this!


  • Rotary cutter
  • Rotary pad
  • Fabric scissors
  • Thread snips
  • Ruler
  • Chalk/pen/marker/pencil
  • Lighter

Step One: Build Your Pattern Pieces

Like I said, there is no printable pattern for this bag. The measurements can be completely up to you, but I’ve also provided measurements of the pieces I created. You will be cutting the following pieces:

  • Body of the bag (front and back)
  • Inside pocket
  • Front flap
  • Straps x2

The body pattern piece for my bag measures 13.5” x 13.5”, accommodating both a record and a laptop, inclusive of a ¼” seam allowance. (The seam allowance refers to the distance between the edge of the fabric and the stitching line where two pieces of material are joined.)

For the pocket pattern piece, the dimensions are 7” x 15”. When customizing your measurements, aim for a size that allows the pocket to fold neatly inside itself for storage in either a pocket or a bike bag, while also being sufficiently large to encompass the bag when folded into it.

I opted for a half-circle design for the front flap to minimize edge folding. It's crucial to ensure the flap's width is approximately ½” narrower than the bag's body on each side, accommodating the body's seam allowance.

Regarding straps, I chose to craft fabric straps to add a unique touch and enhance the bag's strength and stability, differing from merely using webbing. However, you can forgo cutting fabric strap pieces and use only webbing for the straps. That concludes the components—straightforward, right? Now, onto the sewing!

Step Two: Assemble the Straps

By integrating the webbing with the strap fabric, we're crafting straps that are both durable and stylish!

First, singe the edge of the webbing and attach it to the right side of one strap piece, ensuring the long side is positioned over the strap piece. Then, align two strap pieces, right sides facing each other, and stitch around the perimeter using a ¼” seam allowance. After sewing, turn the strap right side out.

For the opposite end, thread the webbing through the hardware piece, sear the ends, and then follow the same steps as you did for the previous strap.

Sew the straps onto one side of the body pieces, ½” from the edge. Right sides facing each other.

An extra touch: Fold over a piece of the webbing on the long strap and sew it. This creates a little loop for the cord to go through. This cord will then get strung through the webbing you sewed onto the bag body and is essential in stabilizing the bag to your body while riding.

Since the material is so lightweight, it could have the tendency to flap around. And/or the bag can really slide around your back to your front while you’re riding. You don’t want that! So ya - create that loop in the webbing, tie the cord through the loop and then loop the cord through the folded webbing on the on the bag.

Step Three: Build the Front Flap

This is the front part of the bag, and you want those edges to be nice and tidy. Double fold the edge to create a ¼” clean hem. Sew this front flap to the body piece that you sewed the straps to.

Mark the middle of the flap and sew one of your velcro pieces to the inside of the flap (where the seam is rolled in). If you don’t have velcro, you can alternatively use a button hole and button.

Step Four: Building the Body

It’s all coming together! And now it’s time to combine the big pieces, with a few little details. Take your 3” long piece of 1” webbing and fold it in half. Burn the edges and sew it about a ¼ way up the side of the bag to the panel of the main body, with the webbing laying on the panel piece. Make sure this webbing is sticking out of the opposite side of the long strap (where you created that loop in the webbing).

Pro tip: It’s always good to zig zag stitch the ends of webbing. This stops it from fraying.

Then, about 2-3” from the top, mark the middle of the front of the bag, for your other velcro piece. Sew that on. (If you don’t have velcro, you can use a button or a snap to secure the bag closed!)

With the right sides together, sew the front and back pieces of the main body together. I also like to box the corners to give the bag a fuller look.

Place this aside and move on to the pocket.

Step Five: Make the Pocket

This small but mighty touch to the bag will allow you to fold the big bag into this little pocket that fits in the palm of your hand. Fold over the short edges twice and sew with a ¼” seam allowance.

Mark the top fold of the pocket as per the pattern, just less than a 3rd of the length and fold the strip and the flap with the right sides together. This is going to create a decently secure closure, without having to add any closure systems. Make sure the bottom edge (the longer fold) is sewn over the top edge. The overlap should be large enough so when it’s folded inside out the contents stay inside.

To avoid using more bias tape, I folded over the edges for a nice clean look. Because this pocket will eventually be turned inside out when it’s in its smallest version.

Step Six: The Final Assembly

You’re almost there! This is the point where all the pieces come together to complete this unique bag.

Mark the middle of the pocket and the middle of the bag. Line up the markings and sew the pocket to the back of the bag, with the big bag inside out. Sew a bias tape around the raw edges for a clean look! You can also put bias tape on the inside edges of the bag, but the material I used doesn’t fray, so I didn’t find it too necessary.

Et Voila!

Congratulations, you've reached the finish line! You crafted this item using materials you had on hand, driven by your determination and creativity. Now, you can proudly cycle in style with your unique bag by your side.

As you continue on your creative journey, remember that learning never stops. For further inspiration and educational resources, the Reddit channel r/myog is a treasure trove of ideas and advice for sewing enthusiasts. Additionally, companies like @bag.buff and @learnmyog offer a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to fuel your next project. Explore these resources to expand your skills and embark on new sewing adventures. Good luck!

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