Two Shoulders are Better than One

20 Aug

I have one really nice leather bag that I usually use for work. I also use it when I go on interviews, and when I have important events where I need to look nicer. Most females have many of these bags. I do not.

Since I take the subway instead of driving to work now, its impractical to carry multiple bags, so everything I need gets stuffed into one bag. Sometimes, when I zip my nice leather bag, I get scared it will rip.

Thankfully, I have other, bigger bags. Like this Timbuk2 Scrunchie tote-like bag, which fits all of my stuff perfectly.

Work bag

But my problem is that I hate carrying heavy bags on just one shoulder. I feel uneven, and it isn’t comfortable. I’d much rather use a cross-body bag (messenger bag-like strap) or even better, a backpack. But a backpack looks very messy for work.

So I made this bag into a convertible backpack for work. It’s a perfect convertible bag because it has lots of loops, letting me preserve my bag without stitching into it.

Work Bag - loops

Work Bag - loops

I thought this would be an extremely cheap project, but it ended up costing a little more than I expected. I bought 1.5″ black webbing at $3/yard (I used approximately 2 yards), two adjustable buckles at $1.50/each, two spring-loaded rectangular metal rings at $1/each, and two sets of swivel hooks from REI at $0.43/pair (bought them a long time ago since it was a great deal!), as well as a large metal key ring that I already had at home.

Convertible Bag - Supplies

I put my two rectangular metal rings and metal key ring in place.

Tote Backpack - Rectangle Rings

Tote Backpack - Circle Ring

I made two straps approximately 1 yard each. This measurement will vary a lot depending on the bag and where it is being hooked on the bag. I also made my straps much longer than I needed so I’d be able to use the straps for other things.

For each strap, I fed one end through the buckle, the swivel hook, and back through the buckle. I sewed the very end of that strap by folding the strap over about .25″ and sewing straight lines and zig zag stitching to make sure it doesn’t fray.

Tote Backpack - Strap

Tote Backpack - Strap

For the other end of the strap, I fed it through a swivel hook to get the strap to loop around it, and sewed it down with straight lines and a zig zag stitch again.

Tote Backpack - Strap

I repeated the process for the other strap. Then I hooked ’em in, and carried my stuff in comfort!

And, when I get a block away from my office, I can swing my bag back down and its a perfectly acceptable non-backpack, tote bag for work. I can even detach the straps when I don’t plan on carrying it like a backpack.

Tote Backpack

Tote Backpack


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