I love looking at cool products, especially really nice computer bags and luggage. Its with this interest i have become slightly enamored with a Seattle company called Filson. Filson creates some amazing jackets, totes, and luggage. Born in the Pacific Northwest you know these products will last more than a few rainy/cold seasons and long distance trips. Sadly (for me, not them) Filson products are very expensive. I’m not complaining about the price, I know they are worth every penny (see this blog post for more on why great things cost money.) It’s just that at this very moment in my life I am unable to drop $200 on a medium tote for my Macbook Pro. But I need a bag to haul and protect my hardware. What to do?
Well I’m glad you asked: I’ll just have to make one myself. Not from scratch though- no this will be an upcycled existing leather messenger bag. My beloved leather messenger bag came to me right before I went off to college. It was from Banana Republic and the only way we were able to afford it was because our next door neighbor worked there and let us use his discount, and the bag was already on clearance. So there I was- off to college with a brand spanking new leather messenger bag. Hot stuff.
I used my messenger bag throughout college. It hauled art history books, sketchbooks, paints, brushes, and palettes. But when I joined the workforce there was no need for a messenger bag so it fell by the wayside. It moved from Florida to North Carolina, from one house to another. Even though it wasn’t in use I couldn’t bear to donate or get rid of it.
And thank goodness I did keep it around all these years because as I was looking through a Filson catalogue an idea struck- take that old messenger bag and make it new- inspired by the designs of Filson.
So with some scrap leather from my wife’s enterprise and some old leather making tools I went to work. I removed the shoulder strap (it was way too long to begin with) and put it back on with a shorter length and swivel latches. I added leather straps so I can carry it more like a briefcase if I’m so inclined. And I added a little leather strap to secure the top closed. I came up with my own pattern of stitches (which would probably make any self-respected leatherworker cringe) and sewed everything as best as I could.
After a few long nights of punching leather with an awl (and having really sore hands!) my bag was complete. I’m really happy with how it turned out- I think it looks really great and more importantly it serves its purpose- it transports and protects my Macbook (in style!)
Having a Filson would have been really great and I know it would have served its purpose as well but there’s just nothing like creating something with your own two hands that cost you just the materials and your time. There’s a sense of pride and ownership that just doesn’t happen when you just go out and purchase something. Theres just no other feeling like it.