Bag of Tricks

all packed and ready to go

all packed and ready to go

Earlier this summer I made a bag for hubby, to replace one that was starting to look a little the worse for wear (despite mending) and had a tendency to gape.

photobombed by an owl

photobombed by an owl

The main fabric I used was some thick organic cotton fabric from Wheeler Fabrics in Machynllyth especially for the purpose. Lovely stuff, not cheap but great quality and we liked the subtle pattern. Not waterproof, but then neither was the original bag.

the inside basic construction

the inside basic construction – with the original bag top right

Nearly everything else was from stash. I lined it with some leftover khaki fabric that is a really tight weave and if not waterproof, its slightly water repellent. I made the lining first to check the sizing as I was winging it self drafting.

pen pocket, check

pen pocket, check

I was all for filling it with pockets (I love pockets), but the Man was not so keen. He did relent and say a pen pocket would be useful…

coffee cup pocket

coffee cup pocket

… and maybe somewhere to put his sealable reusable coffee cup that goes everywhere with him.

pocket ready to attach

pocket ready to attach

Apparently an essential feature with the deep pockets on the outside.

lining the pockets with his old waterproof coat

lining the pockets with his old waterproof coat – this piece needed a small mend before I could attach it to the outside pocket

I lined these with scraps of various things, including his old waterproof coat. The front pocket started rectangular and had the “fold lines” stitched.

mitre

mitre

Then I mitred the bottom corners and stitched in place. I didn’t cut the excess fabric, but left it there.

ta da

ta da

It seemed to work ok.

pockets on

pockets on

I zig zagged at the top of the sides when sewing them on, to add strength at this stress point, and I zig zagged along the bottom edge too.

snaps on

snaps on

After sewing them on I decided to topstitch along the edges to add definition. And I added some snaps with my new favourite tool. I could only get nave blue ones the right size/weight locally, which was annoying, but not enough to do anything about.

side pocket with pieced lining and contrast sides

side pocket with pieced lining and contrast sides

I didn’t have quite enough fabric (only having bought a metre) so I used some left over green cord, which ended up being a nice feature. As this was just used as the sides of the side pockets, I constructing them differently, cutting a long strip of green for the sides and base and sewing it around 3 sides of the chevron front piece – which is how the original pockets were constructed. The insides of these pockets are a mish mash of different fabrics and are constructed in the same way to the outside.

reinforcing the top of the back

reinforcing the top of the back

The original bag has some kind of reinforcing along the top of the back. I managed this by cutting a strip off a thin plastic chopping board, rounding the edges slightly to avoid them tearing the fabric and sliding it inside a strip of cord sewn across, with a handle peeking out.

in action

in action

All the pocket fastenings come from my box of stuff culled off old bags. I put them on in the way that makes sense to me, which is apparently upside down, but hey, they work and are still adjustable. I had to buy extra strapping for the shoulder straps as I didn’t have a long enough piece, it looks like the right kind of stuff but is annoyingly slippier, not what you want, but hubby has managed to get it to stay in place in the end (makes it harder to adjust thought).

in action

in action

So, the verdict, pretty good. Looks the part, but is a bit wide and the top still gapes a bit despite me adding flaps to the top of the front and sides designed to sit under the main flap. I love the external pockets though and my flaps have much better coverage than the originals (if I say so myself). With hindsight, I rushed making it a bit, and should have started from scratch design wise rather, than copying a less than perfect design. But then, instead of making it around Scotland, it would probably still be sitting on my to do pile, which is no use to anyone. And is it is, it’s still being used regularly (I saw him with it today), so I’m not too disappointed. Next time however….

8 thoughts on “Bag of Tricks

  1. Looks pretty awesome and handy! I’m impressed with your drafting skills!

  2. Pingback: Skirt | Prolific Project Starter

  3. Looks like batman’s utility belt but better 🙂

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