Steal This Idea

23rd August 2007

Suitcases, originally uploaded by MaggieMason.

OK, I have a good idea, and I think one of you should do it. Please collect little kid suitcases and old bowling bags and turn them into laptop bags and backpacks. If I were doing it, I would:

-Add a sturdy over-the shoulder strap (or two for a backpack option)
-provide a padded interior pocket for the laptop
-provide a pocket for magazines or files
-sew on an exterior canvas pocket with velcro or magnetic flap closure (as a place for phone, wallet, keys, pens)
-Look for suitcases with double zippers, or orient the bags vertically so you only have to unzip a little of the bag to get at its contents

If I wanted to get fancy with the outside pocket, I would:

-add a key fob
-sew in a couple of ribbon loops to hold pens upright

Make a few, put up an etsy shop, then email me. You could also pitch it to ReadyMade for their section on repurposing old goods to make new wonderful stuff. Eh?

Please do this. I lack the time and skill, but you are a very skilled individual who has been looking for a unque product to sell. Thank goodness we found each other.

31 thoughts on “Steal This Idea

  1. Julie

    I love it! Wonderful. Unfortunately, I also lack time and skill and would end up using the f-word six hundred and fifty times during the sewing of each bag. I will see if I can find someone else to do it, though.

    You’re so creative!!! :-)

  2. Brit

    Great idea, I have the time and skill – sewing is my winter hobby and I have a dedicated craft space… but I’m not sure about being able to find a good supply of the suitcases. I’ll let you know if I give it a go.

  3. Samilja

    Love this. I’m not doing it myself, mind you, lest I sew my finger to an errant bag handle with my non-existent sewing machine. BUT. If someone out there will come up with the gumption, I promise to reward you heartily with many purchases!

  4. Jennifer/The Word Cellar

    I loved this idea so much that for a brief shining moment I thought that *I* was the one to do it. And then I remembered that I lack these skills, too. Alas. But I’m onboard to buy one when the chosen one starts production.

  5. tulip

    Please update us if Brit takes this on! I sew and have an etsy shop as well but the actual finding of the cases would be daunting to me as well!

  6. Carrie

    Where were all these wonderful suitcases? Do tell! Plus – fantastic idea! I second Tulip in posting if Brit actually does this…

  7. tammilani

    I’m detecting a plethora of gung ho-ness from readers…why don’t we all just send brit the cases. It might give her that final push needed for her to transform them into delightful little backpacks so that we may all purchase them back for christmas gifts. P.S. I have never read this blog before…a friend of mine sent this to me in hopes I would be skilled gung ho-er….regretfully, i do not possess the enthusiasm.

  8. steph

    Great idea. Also, along the same lines: I want to take old hard-side suitcases and add rollerblade wheels and handles to them. And decorate accordingly.

  9. brit

    I did some searching on eBay, and found a number of nice cases, ranging from campy (woodstock and snoopy, care bears, etc) to classy… prices ran a wide range as well. Couldn’t find any of those cool flowered ones though. I might purchase a few and try my hand at this little project, if all goes well I may look for some help in the bag locating department!

  10. jessica

    oh, wow – what a fabulous idea. I have sewing skills, limited, but they are there, but no Etsy shop, but that is easily remedied. I wish I had the time. winter is upon us though. Thanks for sharing this great idea!

  11. Tricia

    It would be easier to start from scratch than to ‘sew’ onto existing cases…
    Gluing or riveting goodies on would be easier, and if this is just a novelty item it would probably last as long as you wanted. Fabric sticks on plastic surprisingly well. (P.S.: furniture shops throw out fabric samples ALL THE TIME).

  12. April

    That is such a good idea! I have a hot-pink patent leather mini-suitcase that belonged to my aunt in the 60s that is the perfect size for a laptop case. I never would have thought about that before. Time to visit my parents’ garage!

  13. jen

    Ms. Mason, if you’re still in DC, please tell me where you shot that…because I need another craft obsession.

    You know, like a hole in the head.

  14. Stephanie

    What a timely idea. I was just cleaning out my parents’ basement in preparation for a garage sale and wondering what to do with my childhood suitcase. I’m too sentimental to get rid of it, and it’s the perfect size and shape for this project. I’m on it.

  15. Lori

    Fantastic idea! I, too, have an Etsy shop, but lack these particular skills. Although I did just sew up some table covers for my craft show tables…

  16. Maggeh Post author

    This shot is from the Alameda Flea Market in the Bay Area. I’m thrilled so many of you will give it a shot, if only to have your own personal bag.

  17. Rebecca

    How did you prevent yourself from buying one of those great suitcases? I covet the pea soup green one with the blue and orange roses.

  18. Flamestitch

    I agree that it would be easier and more aesthetically pleasing to start from scratch; We have the skills, but stealing ideas offends our sensibilities. Those little suitcases are very cute though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them out in the world.

  19. deanna

    THIS is a FABULOUS idea. ive found a couple of neato sleeves for my macbook in various etsy shops, using vintage fabrics and the like, which i love. a bag would be GREAT. alas, i work full time and also go to grad school. anyone want to pick up that extra slack for me so i could get going on this project? ;)

  20. (the other) Margaret

    No skills needed, Mighty Friends. I bought one of these bad boys a few months back and have been using it, as is, as a laptop bag. I use a padded sleeve to protect the laptop in the bag since it doesn’t have any padding, per se. And I would love to have a shoulder strap but in the meantime just carry it the way they used to in the olden days. I get looks; some of envy, some of nostalgia, some of confusion. Just the kind of mixed response I hope for when I take a bit of a risk.

  21. Shelley Noble

    Can I just say what a cool idea, and what a cool way of getting something made?! The Maggie is a wonderness.

    Way to network work-it all over the Web! I love the way you think.

  22. Josh Goldburg

    So all of your friends have agreed, your idea is greeeat…Think about the kid, let’s use yours as an example, that shows up in 1st grade harboring one of these…it would probably get stolen and buried on lower field.
    Now if you are affluent, your kid would eternally get stuck with the bowling ball nickname, and the bag burned in a campfire…
    Kids are not friendly all the time, and generally fly “under” the radar of litigating parents…Bad idea, bad concept. Plus it needs wheels, otherwise our precious kids may have cronic back disorder…

  23. chero

    Uhh.. it’s not actually for kids, Josh. They start as kids bags, but get turned into laptop bags. Keep up.

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