Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Making My Own Tardis Bag

I love bags, especially messenger bags, backpacks, and small daypacks. I also love Doctor Who, and decided that I needed a Tardis messenger bag, especially to carry around at conventions (especially Gallifrey One -- the Dr. Who Convention!)

I took some measurements of one of my favorite messenger bags that I wanted to emulate, and sketched out how I wanted my Tardis bag to look like, including the inside pockets.

I was pretty much prepared to create the pattern from scratch, but then I found this pattern (for sale at JoAnns for $0.99), which I would use as the basis.

I made a mockup using this pattern, and while it was approximately the correct size that I wanted, it had a few things that I didn't like (how the pockets were arranged, how the gusset was added, and a few other nitpicks). However, the mockup helped me figure out the placement of all of the pieces (such as the Police Box sign and the window pieces). Also, by making a mockup, I opted to change some of the pocket designs around a little bit to be more usable for me.

For the fabric actual bag, I decided to use: 
  • navy blue denim  -- leftover from Han Solo pants
  • black denim twill -- leftover from my Han Solo A New Hope Vest
  • a planetary cotton print that I found at Joanns -- I was looking for something that reminded me of the Time Vortex, but this worked just as well.

As part of my Tardis bag, I needed the iconic sign that read:

I could opt to make this piece by using fabric paint and a template OR I could embroider it. And as my sewing machine has an embroidery feature, guess which I decided to use?

After doing a bit of checking, I discovered that the official font from the BBC is Gill Sans, but, unfortunately, that font requires a purchase. However, I found a close enough (not really, but it looks good) font called London Tube.

Unfortunately, I had some issues with my embroidery software -- I had to reinstall it and it no longer recognized the software "dongle" that is used as a license. I opted to simply digitize the font (which didn't require the license), and then use that font and create the sign in the machine. However, because I didn't have full use of the software, it meant I couldn't actually add the phrase, "PUBLIC CALL" in the sign. So, I simply opted to have POLICE BOX instead. (In the meantime, I have a support email to the software company to help diagnose my issue with the dongle.)

My font digitizer did a decent job translating the font. I made several different sizes (1.5", 2", 0.5", etc) to test. For my first test run, I used 1.5" font size, which worked out well.

So, after some additional testing, I got to actual sewing the bag.

You can also find more posts about making this bag by searching on TARDIS MESSENGER BAG or click on the following links: