Tuesday, October 23, 2018

This messenger bag that I upcycled, as the kids are calling it

How the bag started out
I recently finally managed to acquire a laptop that isn't 12 years old, for which I'm extremely grateful. This means that I can now carry it places without needing an old-school stiff-sided bag meant to protect a six-pound computer with moving parts. Except that the only bag I had that was big enough for the new laptop was one of these bags, which would be overkill, and which would still mean I had to do the old-school thing of having a laptop bag plus another bag for my water and keys and whatever, which part of the whole point of getting a computer that isn't huge and steam-powered was for avoiding that and just being able to stick it in my regular messenger bag.

All of the messenger bags on Amazon and other places I could find were super boring, usually just solid colored, ugly fabric, ugly hardware. I liked the look of my old bag (which I unfortunately didn't take a picture of, but luckily found its twin on eBay), aside from it being unnecessarily stiff and bulky for a newer computer. So I started searching for the brand on eBay (it's a Dickies/Yak-Pak) and found a number of modern floppy laptop bags of a similar aesthetic, including one that was the same fabric. And then I thought, wait a minute, maybe I could salvage the outer fabric and hardware from my bag to make a new bag. And then I realized, oh wait, it's going to be even easier than that.

All I had to do was slit the liner at the seams with a razor blade and I was able to pull out the heavy-duty foam that was making the bag rigid:

[Hey, anyone know why my pictures won't line up correctly on this here thing, and why I have stray table formatting that won't leave?]

Now I just need to figure out something to do with the liner. The bag is usable as is, since the liner isn't at all structural. I don't think I want to try sewing it, because my machine doesn't do great with heavy-duty materials. I'm thinking I'll either get some sort of tape and put strips of it over the slits, or get the self-adhesive fabric for repairing tents and re-line the flap with some of that.

Pictures are still lining up weird

See? The bag now isn't stuck being a rectangular prism and can be used for items in addition to or instead of the laptop. It's now floppy enough to be an everyday messenger bag on days I don't need the computer, rather than being all rigid and huge and computer-shaped when all it has in it is a water bottle. So far it's cost nothing. I will likely try some tape I have here to see what I can do, or might see if I have appropriate adhesive for gluing a fabric or waterproof liner to it, and if nothing works, I'll buy something to line it with. It shouldn't cost much, and definitely will be less than getting a different bag, even if I were to get it from eBay. Sweet.

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