The bag that started it all!!

Military bag made from reclaimed military canvas.

I once saw a bag for sale online that had been repurposed from old military textiles and immediately fell in love. It was so authentic, loaded with character and had such a historical significance that just really drew me to it. I wanted that bag, in a bad way, but it was really expensive!! Over the next couple weeks I kept going back to admire the bag but I knew I would never have it. That was when I told myself that I would learn to make one.

tnbc designs military tote bag

I’ve always had a sewing machine and … I’ve always sewed. But I had never sewn a bag so naturally I thought it would be easier than it was. I spent endless hours online reading tutorials and watching DIY videos and weeks later, I pulled out some scrap textiles and made my first bag. It was not very pretty. So I made another. And another. Over the next several weeks, I made more. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I made more. I wasn’t very satisfied with any of them, never mind that it took me a ridiculous amount of time to make just one. I wish I had taken pictures of some of those beginner bags but if you can imagine a very basic tote with no frills, no liner, no pockets, no zippers, some never even got straps! I just kept going through the motions., undoing what I did, and then doing it again. Boy was I determined!

vintage military bag

Well, I did eventually make my first military bag. And I loved it. I loved it so much, that I opened up an Etsy shop and listed it for sale. I didn’t list it for very much as I didn’t feel that I was a professional bag maker in any way, but it was a nice bag and I thought that someone out there would love it and be able to appreciate the time and thought that I had put into it. While I was making another one, it sold! And so it began. My shop at the time was called Rebagged designs and I was only making bags. We had another shop called Apothecary Art where we were making apothecary cabinets. Eventually we combined the two to create Tnbc designs.

military duffel bag

So that is how it all started. And the best part? Hundreds and hundreds of bags later …. and I still have yet to make one for myself!!

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Military pouch

US Military bag