Sunday, September 17

Messenger bag made from £1 charity shop outdoor jacket

Last year I bought this jacket in a charity shop for £1. It was like new - I didn't recognize the make so thought that although it looked good it probably wasn't the best quality outdoor clothing, but it would be great to have as a spare. After googling it I found out that it was a skiing jacket from Decathlon.

I wore it once to test it out but didn't like it as it wasn't at all warm and was noisy! I hate it when you're out on a nice peaceful walk and your arms brush against your sides and make a noise. I have a good quality Berghaus waterproof which does this too, so it's not necessarily just a fault of cheap clothing.

I was going to give it back to a charity shop but then thought - ah, this would make a very nice bag! Hence the scene below on the kitchen floor.............

I chopped it to pieces and ended up with some decent sized pieces of fabric, plus zips and various bits of velcro and shock cord. When I took it apart the cheap materials were revealed. Thin polyester wadding in between the outer and inner and I suspect that the reverse of the outer fabric was some cheap waterproofing, certainly not breathable.

The bag below was the result.

This fabric was HORRIBLE to sew.  The foot moved OK, so it wasn't a question of needing a Teflon foot, and I used what I thought would be the best needle for this fabric, a microtex one, but the machine objected when it got to the thick bits, which it wouldn't normally do to this extent.


I didn't do the pockets quite the same as I did when making this bag (the one below) not long ago. As the fabric was so hard to sew I kept things to a minimum.

Recently I got a shelter/gazebo thing from Freegle, that somebody had left behind at a festival, and cut it all up to use in the future, and that's where the green lining came from. The flap pocket is also lined with this. The rest of the bag is self lined. I didn't use any interfacing or wadding. The strap is webbing from an army surplus stores; I didn't have enough of the bag fabric to make the strap. I didn't make it adjustable as a lot of bag makers say to do, as it's not necessary for me as I never adjust it once it's the right length.

There is one internal pocket, and also a dog clip attached at the front (on the right - hard to see as the pic is dark, and I also couldn't get the Ipad to focus for some reason) for my bike padlock keys.

I attached the zip in a slightly different way to how I did it on the other bag pictured above, because doing it this way means it stands just slightly proud of the bag and is easier to unzip. 

The zip I used is one I unpicked from a previous bag I'd made; I had bought two of these at a past Festival of Quilts, from the Pinwheels stall. That was years ago and they still don't seem to be available in this country except in black on Ebay, unless I just can't find them on the internet. If ever I see their stall again I shall buy several of these zips as they are so smooth running and I love the ball and chain! 

Lovely zip!

I attached a velcro fastening right at the end (should have added it much earlier!) - you can see that in the first photo. I used the bag today and love it as it's the right size and very lightweight, and I can easily stuff it in my bike panniers. 

I have really enjoyed making these messenger bags lately, and as I have just been given a big bag of furnishing fabric remnants, I'll be making some more, possibly to sell.


  1. what a great idea. i love how you recycle stuff.

  2. Lizzie, you are getting really good at these bags, well done. X


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