Picture of Indiana Jones MKVII bag - half size!

I love Indiana Jones's famous bag, but the last thing I need is yet another mid-size satchel. I've been looking unsuccessfully for another small purse to replace one that's falling apart... so I decided to combine the two!

In the movies, Indy's bag is a World War II British MKVII gas mask bag with the cloth strap replaced by a leather one. You can still buy these as military surplus, and there are a few prop replica makers that sell them. According to an Ebay listing for a vintage MKVII, the dimensions of the original bag are approximately 10" x 10" x 3".

This half-size bag will be 5" x 5" x 1.5", though you could also scale up the pattern to make a full size bag. It is big enough for a phone, coin purse, and a wallet, with just a little room to spare. I have left off the bottom drain vents and the round circular thing on the side of the original, but these can be replicated with grommets and the right button.

Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts

You will need:

1/2 yard canvas (or heavy linen) - washed to pre-shrink
dark brown leather (or cloth) strap - 3/4" by 65" or so, depending on your preferred length
1 inch rings - 2
gold snaps - 2
silver rivets - 2
silver square buckle for 3/4" strap

paper to make the pattern
metal edge ruler
fabric scissors
iron and ironing board/surface
sewing machine with a needle that can handle canvas (or a needle and some patience)
snap setter and hammer for snaps

For dyeing:
green tea OR sage/ parsley/ thyme/ basil
pot that can hold 8 cups of water + fabric
stove top
white vinegar
old pillowcase (zippered or tied shut)
container for soaking

Note: it's ok to use food dishes for this project since you are dyeing with edible items and not using chemicals.

fabric for purse lining

Dandie7 months ago

Practical, handy, useful. I like this bag a lot, thanks :)

jmaxwell51 year ago
made a sightly modified one for my son out of old jeans worked pretty well.. thanks for the idea!
Lama1001 year ago
i'm currently in dying process with green wnd black tea. going to make a bigger one for my books. thanks for the nice idea, luv it!!!!!!
Prestonium1 year ago

how do you think it would work with nylon? Would I need to add an interior lining for sturdiness?

Chrononaut (author)  Prestonium1 year ago

Unless it's very thick nylon, I probably would line it.

This is so cool :), loved it.

I dyed my canvas haversack by soaking it in black walnut "seeds" that had been in the bucket for a few months. A nice tan that slowly reverts back to "dirty" canvas color. I also used bee's wax too. Keep by a fire (safely) and it melts in all nice and cozy. That haversack has saved me many times. So versatile. I like your work.
bdempsey11 year ago
Using oil based paint will give you a weather resistant pouch for outdoor use.
Chrononaut (author)  bdempsey11 year ago
You could also wax the canvas.

Thanks all, and please vote! :D
AmyCat591 year ago
I think I'll make one from "upcycled" denim... :-)
lolson11 year ago
Well done!!
I believe that the orginal bag was a WW2 gasmask bag issue to some troops but it had D rings for the strap which was canvas and brass press fasteners to secure it. You have made an excellent job of this one!
Chrononaut (author) 1 year ago
Thanks! Yeah, pressing canvas is a pain - but it's worth the trouble. :)
foobear1 year ago
I like how it looks. Nice crisp edges - hard to do with most handmade stuff
That's a great looking bag!