Introduction: Recycle Your Old Cargo Pants Into a Satchel!
Here is a quick instructable to help you design and create your very own bag full of handy pockets! I hope you will use this as a guideline to adapt and make a creative bag.
Estimated time: 2-4hrs. depending on your sewing skills
Old worn-out cargo pants
Belt (to be the bag strap)
Scissors (heavy duty fabric scissors recommended)
Chalk (optional, used to measuring and marking the fabric)
I used almost all of the material from the pants including belt loops, pockets, and what I could salvage from the pant legs. So be careful when you are cutting and make sure you don't ruin something you might need later.
Step 1: First Step: Cut Up the Pants
I cut the pants into three sections:
1] The top section of the pants will provide the belt loops and back pockets.
2] The middle section started right below the inseam and nicely isolates the cargo pockets and some extra material for building the body of the bag.
3] The bottom of the legs will provide nice lengths of flat material.
I cut the pant leg segments up the middle of the leg to flatten out the material and make it usable.
Step 2: Start Sewing the Main Body
My design had all the pockets in the front of the bag, and closed with a flap. So the first thing I made was the stretch of fabric that would turn into the back of the bag and the flap that folds over. For this I used all of the fabric from the lower section of the pant legs. I also extended the length of the fabric by using some fabric I cut away from the pocket segment. Feel free to make your own bag any size you want.
I started by measuring my laptop since that I am wanted a bag I could carry my laptop around in if I wanted to.
I used the legs horizontally, and hemmed the sides. You may notice in the picture that I accidentally hemmed the wrong side of one of the legs, don't do that unless you happen to like the look of it.
I also decided there was no such thing as too many pockets, so I used the pockets from the back of the pants. In order to not actually have to make a pocket, I simply cut an inch around the pocket space so I could fold that under and sew it flat to make a sort of hem.
Step 3: Sewing the Front
To make the front of the bag, I cut the sections of the sections of the fabric where the pockets would meet. (That is the extra fabric I used to extend the back of the bag). I left the length of fabric on the other sides.
I simply placed the pockets facing each other and sewed straight down the side between them to make a nice seam.
In the picture you I have laid out how both elements look so far.
Step 4: Sewing the Front and Back Pieces Together
This step is pretty self explanatory.
I simply sewed along the length of the two sections so that they would form a bag with a flap without sides. Building the sides will be the next step.
You will notice a lot of extra material on the sides of the front. I left it there this long so I could match it to the width of the bottom of the bag. Making the sides of the bag was a bit tricky for me so I'll try my best to explain.
First, I made sure I was sewing the bag inside out to hide the seams. I measured out how wide I wanted the base of the bag to be. Then I used that same measurement on the extra the fabric on the sides of the front. It is important that you have enough extra material to be able to sew it to the back of the bag. You will have to cut a square shape out of the corner in order to make it fit. I apologize for not having a picture of that step, I will try and come up with a diagram soon.
After sewing the sides and being satisfied with the size and shape of the bag, I added another stitch along the side to add more shape and strength.
Step 5: Adding the Strap and Finishing It Up!
The final steps!
I individually cut out the belt loops and sewed them onto the sides of the bag.
I wanted to stick with the pants theme, and the pants had come with the belt. I decided I would be clever and make the belt into the strap. If you don't have a belt laying around you want to sacrifice, you can try and find one at a thrift store, or use your own creativity to create a strap.
Step 6: You Are Done! Enjoy :)
You have now given a ragged pair of pants a second life as a handy bag full of pockets. Now get out there with your new creative bag and show the world how thrifty and sustainable you are.
Feel free to ask questions or add comments, I would love to hear some feed back.
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Please be positive and constructive.