You know you want one. Every guy does. Secretly, they have an urge to carry such an item, but don't have the juevos to get one. Be a man. (OR make one for your mother, every mother loves a tote!)
I've been wanting a new bag for a long time. Only one problem; inn my ho dunk town of Yakima, we don't have any stores that carry such an item. Only messenger bags. I wanted something manly, yet small and portable, while still being able to pack up for school. So, I made a quick pattern for my needs.
Also, I didn't want to spend any money (I'm a cheap-(censored). So, I recycled an old pair of pants that I didn't wear anymore, and used some leftover fleece.
Step 1: Get Your Stuff.
-Fabric for the outside (pants)
-Fabric for the inside (I used fleece, you could use another pair of pants...)
-Needle (or sewing machine, this is a long project by hand, short by machine)
-Paper for patterns (construction, newspaper, printing paper)
Unfortunately, my camera hates me, and wouldn't take a proper picture of my pants fabric, so I included a picture of what it looks like, up close and personal!
Step 2: Make Your Pattern.
You need to make a pattern to suit your needs.
My pattern was based on a school textbook. I needed something that would work well for school.
Faces: 14 inches by 18 inches
Side panels: 4 inches by 18 inches
Top and bottom panels: 14 inches by 4 inches
Edit your pattern to your liking! Man bags tend to be more rectangular than regular purses (see, there is a difference!).
Step 3: Cut Out Panels.
If you are using old pants, prep them by cutting down the crotch (from front to back), and then cut along the inseam. After a few attempts, I found this to be the best method for using the most fabric.
When cutting, do not forget to match up your seams so that when sewn, they will be level and straight with each other.
You will need to cut out:
2 side panels from the outside material
2 side panels from the inside (lining) material
2 bottom panels from the outside material
2 bottom panels from the inside material
3 faces from the outside material
3 faces from the inside material
Make sure to leave about a centimeter of fabric along the outside of your pattern (if you aren't familiar with sewing). It is for the seams.
unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the bottom panels.
Step 4: Sew the Main Portion.
You need to pin and sew one bottom panel, two side panels, and two faces together for each fabric. You will have one side panel and one face leftover. You should have two identical bag-like structures.
If you want pockets, I would add them now. You'll be suprised how difficult it is to add them once it's sewn up.
Step 5: Partially Make the Flap, and Add a Strap.
In order to make the flap for the front, sew one bottom panel to a face for each fabric. You will be left with two flaps (the front and back). Leave the two flaps separate for now.
Make a strap, or salvage one. You could use some scrap fabric for the strap, or you can use a strap from a salvaged backpack, or an old seatbelt, or an old belt, etc. Sew it to the outside fabric on the side panels (or use duct tape, I won't tell if you won't).
Step 6: Complete Sewing (well, Almost).
Sew the flaps to their corresponding bags, then pin and sew, leaving the end of the front flap open so you can flip it right-side out.
I found the strap a little difficult to sew through and work around. Be patient, and good things will come!
(picture one is of the joining of the two bags)
(picture two is showing that you need to leave the flap unsewn)
(I couldn't get image tags to work...)
Step 7: Don't Sew the End Shut, Button It!
You could sew the end shut, but I found a slightly better method.
Roll up the ends (fold it up twice), to whatever length you want your flap to end. Then take a couple buttons (or more), and sew them on, securing the end. It'll look sexy.
Step 8: Voila! You're Done.
Congratulate yourself. You are the owner of a murse / man bag.
If you come up with any creative tips or ideas, let me know, and I will include them! Just hit me up with a PM.