Sunday, February 8, 2015

Convertible Messenger Bag

Sometimes, I really impress myself.  I am not the first person to think of this, but that doesn't make it any less cool--for The Boy's birthday, I made him a messenger bag that converts to a backpack.

This idea was born because I am sick of toting my own stuff plus the two kids' stuff all over Tokyo.  But when you are using trains as your main mode of transportation, if you think you might want a snack or a drink or an activity at some point during the day, you've got to carry it with you--no stashing it in the back seat of the car for when you need it!  

Now, The Boy can carry his own stuff, and when he wants a snack, he can get it himself.  When he wants to read his book on the train, he can pull it out.  Fostering independence!  And freeing myself from some of the constant barrage of questions while we are on an outing..."Mom, can I have a snack? Mom, where's my book?  Mom, did you bring my sunglasses?"  

The best part of this bag though, in my opinion, is that it can be carried as a traditional cross-body messenger bag...

Oops--ignore the safety pins, I hadn't installed the sliders for the adjustible length on the strap yet!

OR you can slip the straps towards the back and carry it as a backpack!

I had the idea, so did a search to try and figure out how to make this work, and saw lots of good ideas online.  None were exactly like what I ended up doing, which was to add fabric loops with D rings at the bottom and top edges of the back of the bag, then attaching one long strap with sliders on both ends to adjust the length depending on how the bag is being carried (this tutorial was a good resource for the adjustable strap, but I made mine adjustable on both ends).  I looked at this tutorial from Hillmade to figure out my dimensions (I made mine slightly bigger based on the repeat of my fabric)--it worked well for inserting the loops for the D-rings since it had a separate strip for the bottom and sides of the bag, as compared to the patterns that use one front panel and one back panel and then box the corners.  But I did make the flap a separate piece, both to conserve my printed fabric and also to create a seam for inserting the loops for the top D-rings.

I also put lots of pockets in--two under the messenger flap, one big one on the inside, and a small zipper pocket on the flap (first time I've done a zipper pocket--thanks, Vanilla Joy, for the great tutorial!)

I also added reflective tape as a decorative and safety element on the front flap.

The one thing I think I will need to add now that I've seen the bag in action is some sort of chest strap for when it's being used as a backpack.  Because the straps are set fairly wide apart to allow it to be both types of bag, it can have a tendency to slip off The Boy's shoulders. 

I'm now planning to make another one of these, for myself this time!  I love this concept.  If you'd like to see it as a tutorial, let me know and I can be more deliberate with my steps next time around!

Oh, and I'm linked up with this week's Sew and Show over at Straight Grain!  I'm #55, if you feel like clicking through :)

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love this idea! Backpack and messenger back in one, I have to try this as well. Thanks.


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