Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Using Upcycled Clothing for Stylish Bags {Green Contributor Post}

Creating New From the Old and Avoiding the Landfill

Fancy some new accessories? Reduce your footprint by upcycling!


Using Men's Jacket to Create Messenger Bag

Hi, I'm Vicky from Vicky Myers Creations. I don’t think my husband really appreciated what he was starting when he bought me The Perfect Handmade Bag by Claire Youngs for Christmas '12, a book all about creating bags out of upcycled materials!

Although I went to Art College and have always been creative, this side of my life had been fairly dormant for a few years. The book was a real inspiration, learning to sew bags using recycled materials - perfect.

In the UK, £140 millions worth of clothes go to landfill every year. I dread to think of the natural resources spent to create the clothes which are now being thrown away. I think there can be little doubt that climate change is happening, and CO2 admissions are a contributing factor.

WRAP's report Valuing Our Clothes key findings include: "the average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes – and around 30% of clothing in wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year; the cost of this unused clothing is around £30 billion; extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints." Creating new items out of old not only provides affordable materials for experimenting and trying out new ideas, but also extends the life of the clothes.

So if you fancy a new bag why not make one? There are so many ideas and tutorials available on line leading you step by step. Once you have learnt the basics of bag assembly, and honestly it's not that complicated, you can branch out and have fun.

Man's Messenger Bag

Take a messenger bag, three rectangles, a side/bottom base, and a handle. I regularly use a former bag handle. You can create the panels out of all sorts - this bag utilizes a former man's jacket to create a messenger bag large enough to hold a laptop.

Tutorials for Upcycling

The "lid" is pieced from a collar and pocket.

Upcycled tutorials

The internal front panel includes two pockets utilizes the sleeves.

Tutorial for Messenger Bag

Making a bag gives a great sense of achievement, and a completely unique one off item. Check out my blog for free tutorials, or my pinterest board bags for some inspiration. Or if you fancy treating yourself to a new bag check out my etsy shop, use discount code "Springgreenteam" for 10% off any purchase until the end of April.


Thanks so much, Vicky! And I love the fact that you've featured a project for a man, an area in which my blog is clearly lacking! Find more of Vicky's creative ideas on her blog, Vicky Myers Creations, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+!

This post is part of the Spring Greening Month Series. Find out why I'm hosting this event here.

Are we connected yet? Find me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+, and Bloglovin so we can start sharing ideas together!


  1. This is incredibly stylish!! What a great use of used clothing.

  2. I love the way you've incorporated the jacket details into the bag, like the buttons on the sleeve. And thanks for including the data about why repurposing clothing is important. When I enter a thrift store and see the long aisles of clothing, I shudder at all the waste -- and how easy it is to dispose of clothes without a second thought.

  3. This is AWESOME!! I am definitely pinning this, heading to our thrift store, and searching for a suit jacket to do this! What did you use for the lining?

    1. I'll have to ask Vicky to reply to you--not sure about the lining! Isn't it awesome, tho?!

  4. I love, love, love this! What a fantastic idea, and it looks super cool. (And not too hard to make!)


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