Nifty Salvaged Pocket-Bag (Satchel) or Purse




About: I'm working towards a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering. This year I'll be transferring to a university to finish the last two years of my degree. I've been accepted to the engineering program at Ca...

A friend of mine sophomore year of high school had a great idea. Nothing else really happened that year, but it was a great idea. he had a pair of old cargo pants, for which he and i were famous for wearing, and they had developed a large hole in a rather inconvenient place. he cut off the pockets, which had pockets on them, and pockets on those, and sewed them together on three sides to make a bag, which he proudly introduced to me as a "Man-Pocket." This was not his great idea. He showed to to me knowing that i would like it and make my own, and then wear it to school and get lots of "thats a purse" ridicule. That was his great idea, and it worked.

Brian, you were one tricky, tricky kid. But I must admit it ties my "NASA hoodie, Khaki pants, socks and sandals" outfit together quite nicely.

Now you can make your own salvaged pocket bag, maybe your girlfriend will appreciate this "purse" as a token of your love/lust (but we know its a satchel), or maybe you will find your own use for it and live happily ever after.

Step 1: Gather Materials

There were very few materials involved:
One pair of torn or otherwise ruined/ruinable pants/shorts with cargo pockets
Dental floss
Sewing Needle

As it happened i used these because i had them already, i will assume that you have at least 2 of 3 already. whichever one you don't have cant cost more than a few bucks.

Step 2: Cut Out Pockets

This is the easiest part

Using the cutting implement of your choice cut the cargo pockets off of the pants/shorts. Be sure to equip proper safety gear when using said cutting instrument, such as common sense, as it probably will be and should be sharp.

Do not cut the pockets, cut the pant fabric about 1/2" out from the seam of the pocket. This will leave your room to sew them together, since its very hard to sew through the hemmed seam of the pocket.

If you were able to complete this step proceed onward, if not, have somebody else do this and the rest for you.

Step 3: Sew Pockets Together

Using your floss and needle sew the 1/2" strip of fabric running around the outside of the pocket. Be sure to place the pockets facing inwards, towards one another, and only sew three edges: the right and left sides and the bottom.

Leave the top open, creating:
a center Pocket (labeled: a) and two side pockets (labeled: b)

Then turn it inside out, and you should have something looking like my sketch below, without the yellow boxes or the shoulder strap.

Now for those drawstrings....

Step 4: Make a Strap

If your pants had a drawstring or two you should have kept it, otherwise you will have to find a suitable replacement for a strap.

On the two corners attach opposite ends of the strap, and sew in place with plenty of floss. If you have followed directions well until this point you should be able to sew it onto the single layer of fabric stitched together at the seam you just created, rather than the 2x, 3x, or 4x thick factory stitched seam where the pockets attaches to the plants.

Step 5: Wear It With Your NASA Hoodie, Khakis, Socks and Sandals!

Now wear it as your would any purse of satchel, because thats what it is. at this point you can also put things in it, my pockets are rather large so i have room for several soda cans, a pad and paper, pencils, emergency repair kit (floss and needle) cell phone and other such miscellaneous items we need to carry around. my pockets also had pockets on them, which was an added bonus. i suppose you can use the back pockets and sew them on the outsides cutting and sewing similar to the method used in steps 2 - 4

Some may find this useful, i particularly think its really cool. I'm in the process of building a real Messenger bag for school, which i think has a little more street cred than this purse lookalike, but i will always find use for this carrying the small stuff.



    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest
    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge

    10 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 5

    It would be nice to have actual images of the process, preferably several photos of each stage of each step.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    nice great idea the best part is I have all the materials for this....are we going with satchel or purse??? or does it depend if your a guy or a girl?hehe but really a great idea.

    1 reply
    HAL 9000tech_sponge61

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You can call yours whatever you like, but understand that mine is a satchel. Good to see that the materials were as available as i thought.

    HAL 9000nagutron

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Since I knew somebody would ask I called my friend, who has a digital camera, to come photograph it for me, so expect one soon. Thanks for commenting.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Like the notebooks of Da Vinci ;-) Seriously, thought, thanks for bringing back the art of drawing. Photos would've been a step down.