Introduction: Hand Painted Sling Bag/Fanny Pack

About: College Student from VA

This bag is functional, simple to make, as well as easy to personalize! It has a main pouch and a front pocket, straps that tie so it can be worn on the waist or over the shoulder, and is hand-painted for a personal touch!


  • Around half a yard of fabric (something thick and sturdy is best! I used heavyweight linen, but canvas would be good too!)
  • Paper for making the pattern
  • 2 Zippers (One that is at least 16" and one that is at least 10")
  • A ruler to measure
  • A Zipper foot
  • something to mark seam allowances

Step 1: Making the Pattern Pieces

This pattern is made up of 6 rectangles. These are each shown in the photo, but I will also list the measurements here. Each of these pieces has a 1/4 inch seam allowance already added.

1. You will need to cut out:

  • 2 Front Panel pieces (One will function as a zipper flap). 9.5 inches by 2 inches
  • 2 Top Panels, 15.5" by 2.5"
  • 1 Bottom Panel, 15.5" by 4.75"
  • 2 Back Panels (One will function as the inside of the front pocket) 9.5" by 6.5"
  • 1 Front Bottom Panel, 9.5" by 3.75"
  • 2 Straps, 26" by 3.5" (These can be longer or shorter, or thinner or wider, depending on your preference!)

2. Iron the Fabric.

3. Once the fabric is ironed and the pattern is made, cut out all of your fabric pattern pieces.

Step 2: (Optional) Paint Your Fabric

To make my fanny pack more personalized, I used fabric paint to paint smiley faces directly onto my linen. You could also use regular acrylic paints too, and paint whatever you like! This design is a very simple one.

Step 3: Sew the Zipper Flap Onto the Front Pocket Zipper

Start by folding one of the two "Front Panel/Zip Cover" pieces in half, and pressing that down with an iron. Next, pin that directly to the top side of the zipper, and sew the folded piece to the right side of the zipper.

I first marked where the 1/4" line fell on the pattern piece and then tried to sew the edge of the zipper to that line so that I did not lose any area of the zipper.

Step 4: Sew the Top Front Panel to the Zipper

Now, take the second "Front Panel" piece and sew it onto the zipper with right sides facing, over top of the flap already sewn.

Step 5: Sew the Bottom Front Panel to the Zipper

Similar to how you sewed the top panel to the zipper, you are going to put the zipper and bottom panel together with the right sides facing. This time, sew the bottom panel piece to the bottom side of the zipper, again with 1/4" seam allowance, right on the edge of the zipper.

After doing so, you should have a piece that looks like the second photo. You have finished the front of the outer pocket!

Step 6: Sew the Inside of the Pocket to the Finished Pocket Panel

To finish off this front pocket, sew one of the pieces called "Back/Inside of Pocket" to the pocket piece to the top and bottom of the front pocket panel, wrong sides facing each other.

Step 7: Sew the Top Zipper to the Top Zipper Panels

Take the two top zipper panel pieces and sew them to each side of the zipper, with right sides facing together.

(Also, sorry the first photo is so dark, there is a black zipper in between the two pieces!)

Step 8: Sew the Top and Bottom Panels Together

Using 1/4" seam allowance (which you should use for all seams in this pattern), sew the sides of the top panel, with the zipper, to the bottom panel.

This will create a loop that the front pocket panel and back panel will fit into.

Step 9: Sew on Your Straps

I did not want to overcomplicate this pattern with buckles, and I also did not have any buckles, so I used a strap to tie the bag on.

To prepare the straps to be sewn onto the back, hem the sides of the straps by folding them over and sewing them down.

Next, sew the straps to the back panel, with wrong sides facing.

Step 10: Round the Corners of the Front Pocket Panel and Back Panel

This is optional, but trimming the corners to be more rounded makes the process of sewing the top and bottom to the front and back.

It also creates a slightly different look, which I prefer.

Step 11: Sew the Top/Bottom Panel to the Front Pocket Panel

Begin by marking the middle of the top/bottom panel, (this is the one with the black zipper) as well as the middle of the front pocket panel, and back panel.

With right sides together, match up these middle markings on corresponding pieces. From there, pin the rest of the sides together and sew.

Make sure that the top of the front pocket is being sewn to the top panel with the zipper.

Because zipper widths vary and seam allowances are not always perfect, it is possible that the top/bottom panel is too big or small, so you may need to line it up with the front pocket panel and then adjust the seams of the top/bottom panel so they match.

Step 12: Sew the Back Panel to the Top/Bottom Panel

Repeat the previous step, and this time make sure the side the straps are sewn to is facing inward toward the right side of the pocket piece.

Step 13: Turn the Bag Rightside Out, and You're Done!

I used the zipper to pull the bag open while it is still inside out after sewing the back on.

That's it! You have a new bag!

You can wear it as a fanny pack, or across the chest, or however you choose!

Sew Fast Speed Challenge

First Prize in the
Sew Fast Speed Challenge