Recycle Cargo Pants to a Messenger Bag

posted in: DIY, how to, recycle, sewing, tutorial & pattern | 9

Recycle old Cargo Pants or spring cleaning closet? This is a super basic but really super easy photo tutorial from a TutorialGirl Bakery for all my lovely sewing people out there. OK, I was happy today, because my little one was a sleep and I manage to sew this project so fast that I was totally surprised how easy it is. I plan just to cut the pants today, not to sew them.

What you will need? Just an old Cargo Pants and a little bit of fabric for the inside bag (lining), or just got the idea, if you use for the inside bag another pants you will get reversible Messenger Bag…so the design and the process of doing them is so simple, that I could get a new idea before I wrote down this one. Enjoy.

Before we started. This is just the basic concept of sewing Messenger Bag with the lining. Play with the fabric and recycle, this is the main point. Sew more pockets if you like, sew buttons, topstitch, print on it…PS for all this ides read a few post back and use them in this project.

How to start: Cut the pants on the inside seam of both legs, so you will get your fabric for outside bag.

I need to confess something. I cut the “bag tongue” of the bag too short, because I plan at first to sew something from the top pants pockets, but then, I realized that this way I don’t like the proportions so much, so after I finished the bag, I make a new longer “bag tongue”, so at the beginning of these post are my long “tongue bag”.

Gray fabric are for the outside (Cargo Pants), the purple fabric is for the inside (the lining).On top are straps fabric pieces. I need to sew 3 pieces of gray fabric together.There is also the same size front and back of the messenger bag and the fabric piece with cargo pocket (almost square piece) with the same size lining. (For this piece I decided at the end, that I need to have bigger piece so I make more rectangular one).At the bottom is a small fabric for the inside pocket.PS all the measurement are in cm included with 1 cm seam allowance.
   First on one or both lining pieces sew the pocket if you like it. You could do different one.
Prepare the Messenger Bag Tongue: Put the right side to right side and make a seam 1 cm from the edge. Then turn around and make a topstitch (I make 2 topstitches).PS. My final Messenger Bag Tongue is more rectangular then on this picture, but do what you like more). I think that for my bag it is nice if the Tongue is loner then wider.
Strap piece. Sew the grey fabric straps in one piece and make topstitch on 2-3 mm from the seam. Then put right side to right side and make two long seams 1 cm from the edge. Turn around and make topstitch like you do this before on a Tongue.
 Place Bag Tongue on one part of the lining and make a seam 5 mm from the edge. It won’t be visible.
Put other lining piece right side to right side and sew 1 cm from the edge, leave open hole long 10-15 cm (view on top edge). You will close this hole at the end with hand stitches.
 On the inside bag lining sew also the Bag Strap. Put this piece next to the Bag Tongue.
 At the bottom of the bag: Open the bag and make the edge of the Messenger like on picture “corner seam”. (At front picture you could see already cut away the corner) and at the back of the picture you could see one step before edge cutting.
Inside Bag (the lining) with a sewn pocket, straps on sides and Bag Tongue. At the bottom picture you could see the hole in the seam, you need this, and it’s not a mistake.
Prepare also the Cargo Bag. Put right side to right side and make a seam 1 cm from the edge (leave open at the top of the bag). Also don’t forget to make edges at the bottom of the bag.
Turn the Cargo Bag with wrong side out and place inside the Lining Bag. Then make a seam 1 cm from the edge (this is the top edge of the Messenger Bag).
 From the Lining hole turn the bag out.
You should get something like that. Now, close the hole with hand stitches and place the lining inside of the Messenger Bag.PS, if you like the small tongue (purple tongue), you could place the small straps of fabric when you will sew the sides seams. It almost looks like a logo. I like it, but it is just a decorative element.
 Start using the Messenger Bag. Or if you don’t hate ironing like me, you could do that first.
Finished Messenger Bag on an easy TutorialGirl Style. Simple and with Photo Instructions, Enjoy.PS: for more my products (Photo Tutorials), visit my Bludor Magazine or Etsy Shop, and don’t forget to tell your friends. Thanks.

Second part of this tutorial is how to use the leftovers cargo pants fabric and made for making a toddler skirt.

9 Responses

  1. This is great! I have quite a few cargo pants that my boys have worn out the knees on this year. I think I am going to have to try this!

    I would love for you to come and link up to my Fantastic Friday link party.

  2. Hi, Lidija! I saw your idea from Tip Junkie and I absolutely ADORE it! I’m so NOT throwing any worn and tattered cargo pants I see lying around the house! lol GJ and TFS!

  3. PJ Gaumond

    OK, so I didn’t have any cargo pants but I did find a couple pair at a yard sale last weekend and can’t wait to try making a bag or two. I’m really into recycling anything that can be recycled.

  4. This tutorial is very well written. Very clear, concise, and photographed. You go girl!!!

  5. […] This project covers so many things that I like – recycles, help clear out my closet, is quick and easy,  really functional, and I love the way it looks! You can add extra pockets, buttons, contrasting materials – the possibilities are endless.  This is a perfect project – even for a beginner sewer –  with clear and concise instructions,  measurements, and pictures. You can find this free pattern here […]

  6. Followed the link from the Cargo Pants Dress and I love this, too! I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while but just never got around to figuring out how to put it all together. And now I don’t have to! 🙂 Lisa

  7. Thank you for this awesome tutorial! love it! have a great day 🙂

  8. […] Bludor – Recycle Cargo Pants to a Messenger Bag […]

  9. This is perfect! I’ve been wanting to make a messenger bag but I havnt found a good pattern and my brother just grew out of some cargo pants!!!!! Thanks for this awesome easy to understand pattern

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