canvas + hide: bag #1

canvas + hide, Design Thinking, Product Development

My dad purchased a canvas and leather shoulder bag from the Banana Republic in the 80s before I was born. He used this bag as his briefcase through most of my early childhood. When it was replaced with a leather briefcase he continued to use it as a day bag to carry his everyday essentials: a couple books, a yellow legal pad and some pencils and pens. When I went to college the bag was given to me. He said, “Ben, this bag is a really good size.” I used the bag for a decade hauling a number of laptops from new to obsolescence and various sketchbooks and textbooks. This past year it started to blow out at the seams. Most of this wear resulted from chronic over filling the bag with changes of clothes for the shop and packed lunches.
This bag is in homage of that bag. It embodies what I loved about it, and includes things I wished that bag had. The bag is waxed canvas and Horween leather with an industrial felt liner. The bag is designed around holding a 15″ Macbook Pro, it’s charger, a couple of sketch books and a small camera or sunglasses. It has enough general room left over to carry whatever life throws at you.

Bag #1 resize.0

All of the hardware is solid brass with some hand stitched accents. The materials were chosen for their ability to react positively to abuse. This bag was designed with the intention that it would look better used than it did new. The strap is sewn waxed canvas with a felt, leather and canvas shoulder pad.


I learned a lot from putting this bag together. There are quite a few things that I will do differently on the next bag. I’ve already started patterning and should be able to show you a convertible pannier set based on the insights from this build by Christmas. If you are interested in this particular bag, it is for sale on Etsy at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *