DIY Upcycled Everyday Carry Bag

DIY Upcycled Everyday Carry Bag

Developed by: Jimmy Eng, 2020


Re-using old outdoor vinyl banners to create a modern everyday bag. The bag is based off of a Creative Commons designs by Mafia Design championed by Adam Savage (from Myth Busters, Tested) and Savage Industries.

Over four sessions, participants learn to use sewing machines to create the designs and will have the opportunity to add small customizations to the design (Extra pockets, holder, handles, etc).

No previous sewing experience is required.

Sewing Level: Beginner-Intermediate / Material Level: Intermediate

Event copy

Do you break sewing machines and have been looking for a way to change that reality?

Have you always wanted to learn how to use a sewing machine properly but not found the time?

Have you ever wondered what we do with the giant vinyl banners that are up around the place?

Come and make an EveryDay Carry (EDC) bag with our amazing trainer Jimmy Eng and colleagues from State Library of Queensland. There'll even be the opportunity to customise the design to meet your very specific needs. These are not just any bag but a Creative Commons from Mafia Design championed by Adam Savage from Myth Busters and Tested fame and here’s a video that explains the awesome.

No experience or sewing skills are required. The only pre-requisite is a willingness to have a go and a laugh if it goes a little sideways. All materials are provided, and you will be required to attend all four sessions to get the job done.

Please note that this project requires some customisation of the EDC Two bag pattern which are noted further below in the Preparation section and requires printing out the EDC2 SLQ Bag Workshop Handout PDF in the Downloads section.

Skills Introduced

  • Using Alternative materials
  • Translating design templates into a product
  • Understanding of basic-intermediate sewing production


Prior to the workshop you will need to cut out 1000x800mm sheets of vinyl banner material per workshop participant. Once cut, clean and wipe both sides.

The following Materials requirement is an approximate costing guide, it may differ from your own supplier sourcing. Needles and Thread for example will cost more as you will have to purchase those in multiple and whole quantities and use what you need for this project.

Material Quantity/Participant Cost/Participant Supplier
Bias binding - Black 25mm 3 metres $4.50 Spotlight
Velcro - Black 25mm 25cm $0.64 Spotlight
Velcro - Black 50mm 25cm $0.94 Spotlight
Twill Tape - Black 10mm 0.5 metre $1.13 Spotlight
Swivel snap buckle - 25mm 2 piece $7.50 Spotlight
Guttermann Extra Strong/Upholstery thread - Black 0.5 spool $4.50 Spotlight
Jeans Needles (5 pack), use size 90 or 100 from the pack 1 needle $1.50 Spotlight
Seat belt webbing Polyester 25mm 2.5 metres $4.13 Adelaide Leather
Plastic snap hook - 25mm 2 pieces $1.80 Adelaide Leather
Chunky continuous zipper No.5 Black 0.5 metres $1.10 Adelaide Leather
Chunky zipper head No.5 Black 2 pieces $1.66 Adelaide Leather
Plastic Tri slides 25mm 1 piece $0.39 Adelaide Leather
Emmaline Bags Internal Wire Frames Retreat Bag - Style B 1 piece $7.90 Voodoo Rabbit
Total $37.69

Tools and Preparation


  • Sewing Machine (standard domestic/heavy fabric model)
  • Sewing accessories (fabric scissors, chalk, measuring tape)
  • Stationery (pen/marker, ruler, paper scissors, lighter)
  • Optional: Walking foot, Roller foot or Teflon foot


  • Download and print out the PDF edc2_slq_bag_workshop_handout and EDC Two pattern
  • Cut out the Pattern pieces in the EDC Two pattern PDF omitting the pieces shown in the table below
  • Cut out the Pattern pieces in the edc2_slq_bag_workshop_handout PDF

The following changes to the Bag pattern are required for this project. The New Pattern pieces are contained in the handout at the Downloads section.

New Pattern pieces Altered Pattern pieces Patterns not used from EDC Two bag pattern
Handle keeper Handle is now made from webbing Handle
Inner Pocket Pocket
Outer Pocket Bottom
Outer Pocket flap Plastic bottom

Bag Construction/ Order of Assembly

The following Instruction guide is copied from the downloadable Order of Assembly PDF in the Download section. It is recommended to do so if the wording is unclear as every step has an illustrated diagram to help you.

1. Handles

Bag right side out

  • Face the strap ends to the opening of the bag and sew 1 cm
  • Flip the strap over so the handle is the right way and sew them at the fold line

2. Bag features

Decide what custom features you'd like for you bag and then follow the steps in Bag features

  • Sew bag pockets, tool straps and Velcro features to the main bag piece.
  • Sew the inner pocket/s ready for Step 3

3. Main Bag

Bag wrong way out

  • Sew side seams 1cm (with bias tape). Sew the Side pockets in as you sew the Side seams. Place the pocket 3cm above the base of the bag
  • Flatten bag base with side seam in the center of the sew line and sew the seam 1cm (with bias tape)

4. Shoulder strap loop

  • Fold shoulder strap loops in half and tack stitch 5mm into position. Do it for both sides

5. Preparation of zip

  • Sew one zip end onto the zip
  • Split the open end of zip apart and insert the other zip head. Each zip should face inwards (towards each other)
  • Sew the other zip end

6. Zip and main bag

  • Mark the center point of the zip and match with the Main Bag piece (keep the zip slightly open)
  • Stay stitch the zip to Main Bag piece 5 mm. Start and stop 2.5 cm away from side seams

7. Casing and Zip finish

  • Fold the end of the Metal Frame casing 1.5cm and match to a Side seam, the Zip will be between the bag and casing pieces
  • Keeping the Zip ends away from the stitch line, sew 1cm around the entire opening with the casing as well
  • Flip over casing and sew down onto Main Bag piece 1cm. You can either lay it flat and sew down or fold the edge over 1cm and sew down

8. Shoulder strap

Bag right side out

  • Loop the webbing into the centre post of Adjustable Slide 3cm, fold end over 1cm and sew down
  • Insert one Bag clip to the webbing and thread webbing into the Adjustable Slide
  • Loop the webbing end through the other Bag clip 4cm, fold end over 1cm and sew down

9. Bag Frame

  • Slide bag frame into the casing

10. Optional pieces

  • Shoulder strap padding
  • Handle keeper

(See Sewing features section below)

Sewing features

A selection of optional features to add to your bag. Please note this step should be done at the very beginning!

Outer pocket with flap


  • Sew Bias tape to curved edge 1 cm
  • Fold Bias tape edge to wrong side and top-stitch down 1 cm
  • Mark the centre of the curved edge and sew 4 cm of Velcro (softer piece) to edge


  • Place Flap onto Back pocket opening (side that faces the Bag). Sew both pocket openings with Bias tape 1 cm, fold over to wrong side and top-stitch down 1 cm
  • Mark centre top of Back pocket side (side that faces the Bag) and sew Velcro (softer side) to edge of pocket
  • Place the scratchy Velcro side at its marking and sew to the pocket
  • Turn pocket wrong way out and sew side seams 1 cm (with Bias tape). Turn right way out.

Inner Side pocket

  • Sew pocket opening with Bias tape 1 cm, fold over to wrong side and top-stitch down 1 cm
  • Turn pocket wrong way out and sew bottom 1 cm (with bias tape)
  • Turn pocket right way out and top-stitch bottom seam 1 cm
  • (optional) cut 1 cm piece from the side seam top and bottom as it may be too thick to sew over when you sew the Main Bag side seam

Tool strap

  • Mark a horizontal line on the Main Bag piece of where you’d like the strap to be. Keep in mind around 10 cm of the beginning and end of the strap will be where the Side of the bag is.
  • Sew a line down the strap on one side to anchor the strap
  • To get accurate fitting tool holders place your first tool under the trap at the sewn side and mark where the strap meets the bag. Repeat marking the strap line like this for the length of the Tool strap
  • Sew the marked sections

Velcro (Hook and Loop tape)

  • Hook = scratchy side
  • Loop = soft side

Main Bag

  • The scratchy side of the Velcro is sewn on the Main Bag piece
  • The softer side of the Velcro is sewn on the Patch/Outer pocket bag

Outer Pocket

  • The scratchy side of the Velcro is sewn on the Main Bag and the front of the Outer pocket
  • The softer side of the Velcro is sewn on the back of the Outer pocket and the flap of the pocket



workshops/prototypes/diy_upcycled_everyday_carry_bag.txt · Last modified: 2023/06/01 20:53 by Michelle Brown
CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International Except where otherwise noted, content on this wiki is licensed under the following license: CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their continuing connection to land and as custodians of stories for millennia. We are inspired by this tradition in our work to share and preserve Queensland's memory for future generations.