Star Wars Rey Resistance Costume Part 3 – Rey’s Rucksack Bag

rey resistance costume bag
In this segment of the Rey’s Resistance costume from The Force Awakens, we will explain how to create the military style rucksack bag Rey carries when she searches for Luke!

Rey’s resistance bag appears to be a heavily weathered military style green canvas bag with metal hardware and a brown mesh section on the lower front. The strap appears to be a vintage Enfield sling, like her staff sling, but with an added freyed edge canvas backing.

rothco canvas backpackI first started with this Rothco “mini alice” backpack in Olive Drab from amazon.

My original intention was to simply modify the backpack, but after reviewing the movie images and having the bag in hand, I determined it would need to be completely re-made to look correct.

rey canvas bagI started by removing the pockets and straps with a seam ripper. Next I separated the stitching around the opening of the bag and removed the round eyelets by pulling the canvas apart. I also carefully removed the fabric edging around the flaps, and set the pieces aside for use later on. Then I pulled the top flap and sides apart leaving just raw OD green canvas pieces.

rey bag templateI cut the canvas from the backpack into these pieces which combine to create the Rey resistance bag. The bag could also be created by just using canvas fabric, but the Rothco backpack provided the edging and strap needed for the buckles on Rey’s bag. I used the existing bag flap for the 11 1/2″ x 7″ flap, since it was roughly the correct shape. To assemble the pieces I started by stitching the bottom and two side pieces together. The stitching is done on the outside, with visible edges, and sewn with about a 3/8″ seam allowance around the edges. This extra exposed 3/8″ will get frayed to create the worn edge all around the bag.

rey costume bag alternate viewFor screen accuracy, it would be best to make the bottom and two sides from one single long piece of canvas, which would eliminate the seams at the bottom corners, but this is not possible using the small canvas pieces from the Rothco backpack. I found it easiest to assemble the bag by starting with the bottom and sides, then connect those pieces to the front and then back. Once these pieces were together I folded over the top 1/2 inch and stitched a seam around it so the opening would have a finished edge. Since this edge is not visable when the flap is closed it does not need to be frayed.

rey costume bagNext I added the top and sewed the rough edge of it to the folded over edge of the back. Then I sewed the flap piece to the other edge of the top and stitched a second piece of canvas behind it to make it thicker. I completed the flap by trimming it down to the rounded shape that I wanted. The flap also gets 2 small side pieces which I stitched to both the flap and the top of the bag, but not the back, again using about a 3/8″ seam allowance with exposed edges.

Rey Bag Flap BuckleThe flap buckle and upper strap buckle are held onto the bag with some thin, darker colored strapping. I used the piping that I had removed earlier from the backpack and stitched 2 pieces of it together lengthwise to make a few pieces to use for this. You could also use bias tape, trim, or any type of thin fabric about 1 1/2 inches wide, with a finished edge that will not fray. I colored these pieces with watered down acrylic paint to make them darker than the OD green bag canvas.

To hold the flap closed, the movie prop bag uses a black spring loaded metal 2 piece pinch type buckle that appears to be from a Martin Baker airplane ejection seat. Since this piece is expensive and not readily available, I decided to use this simple plastic buckle from hobby lobby.

Since I didn’t need the center bar on the prong side of the buckle, I cut it out using a Dremel. I weathered the buckle with some silver acrylic paint to create a metallic look. Then I stitched the darker straping to the bag, looped the ends around the buckle pieces and stitched them to the strapping.

Rey Bag BucklesFor the upper strap buckle I used one of these D-rings from amazon, which is approximately the same shape as the part used on the movie bag. This ring has a spring loaded release, so it can be easily removed from the bag and strap if needed. I lightly sanded the D-ring, primed it with black spray primer, then added a silver finish using silver leaf Rub n’ Buff  and top coated it with Testors DullCote.

Rey Shoulder BagOnce the flap buckle and upper D-ring pieces were complete I stitched them to the bag with the strapping I created from the bag edging. The D-ring is attached to the top / back and the strap for the buckle sits next to it, spanning from the back, over the top and down the front of the flap.

The lower strap buckle also appears to be a piece from an ejection seat or flightsuit harness that is expensive and not readily available. It is a steel roll-pin type buckle with a wide opening on one side and a smaller opening (around 1 inch) on the other side. For this piece I used this roll-pin buckle which is a similar style but not identical.

Reg Bag BuckleSince it had a brass type finish on it, I soaked it in a cup of vinegar with some added salt to remove the finish and expose the silver metal underneath. Then I added some weathering to it using black acrylic paint mixed with satin polyurethane. I used a piece of the strapping removed from the Rothco backpack to connect this buckle to the lower back corner by looping it through the smaller side of the buckle and stitching it to the bag.

Rey Bag Roll PinFor the mesh section on the front of Rey’s resistance bag, I used some mesh fabric from an old windbreaker. The mesh I found seems to have holes that are slightly too small, since the current reference pictures appear to show the mesh having larger holes. I also found this mesh fabric that might work well.

Rey Bag MeshI colored the mesh to a brown, by sponging it with some acrylic paint. Then I stitched the mesh to the lower area of the bag with the upper corners slightly higher than the center and trimmed the edges to the correct size.

Rey Bag FrontTo create the strap for the bag, I used an OD green reproduction Enfield sling I purchased from ebay, which was about 43 inches long. I removed the two metal buckles from the ends of the sling using some pliers. Next, I stitched scrap pieces of canvas from the the Rothco backpack together to make a section approximately 2 1/2 inches wide and 50 inches long.

Rey Bag SlingThen I laid the Enfield sling onto the canvas strip, leaving some extra length at the ends, marked the edges of the sling on the canvas and applied contact cement to the canvas and the back of the Enfield sling to glue them together. Once this was done I trimmed the canvas down to leave only about 1/4 inch of canvas on each side of the sling and about 3 inches of canvas extending past the sling on each end.

Rey’s bag strap has a silver triglide style adjustment buckle that sits approximately at the center of her chest. I used a 1 1/2″ slide buckle from etsy for this piece and stitched one end of the strap sling to the center bar using the extra end canvas. The Enfield sling is too thick to attach around the small slide buckle so just the end canvas is used. Then I looped the strap through the roll pin buckle, fed it through the slider and looped the other end around the D-ring on the upper end of the bag. Finally, I stitched the remaining end of the sling to the D-ring to finish securing the strap to the bag.

To create the worn and heavily weathered look of the canvas and strap I used coarse sandpaper and a razor knife to rough up the surface and edges of each piece. To complete this piece I added some holes with a seam ripper tool, then colored the surface with some watered down acrylic paint in some areas to simulate years of grime!

rey resistance bagsCheck back for more installments of the Star Wars Rey Resistance Costume!

Rothco “mini alice” backpack (or 1 yard of OD green canvas)
-Green thread and needle
-(1) 43″ (Reproduction) OD green Enfield sling
-(1) D ring
-(1) Plastic Buckle
-(1) Roll Pin Buckle (or other buckle with 2″ opening)
-(1) 1 1/2″ opening triglide slider buckle
– 12″ x 8″ mesh fabric (brown if possible)
-Contact Cement
Silver Rub N’ Buff / silver paint
-Black spray primer
-Black, brown, silver and gray acrylic paint
-Waterbased satin polyurethane
Testors Dullcote

-Coarse sandpaper
-Utility Knife
-Sponge (for painting)
-Pliers (to remove buckles)
-Seam ripper
-Small paint brush

Click here for Star Wars Rey Resistance Costume Part 1 – Blaster Holster

Click here for Star Wars Rey Resistance Costume Part 2 – Blaster

Click here for Star Wars Rey Costume – Boots

Click here for Star Wars Rey Costume – Staff

Click here for Star Wars Rey Costume – Belt

18 Replies to “Star Wars Rey Resistance Costume Part 3 – Rey’s Rucksack Bag”

  1. This is amazing! I love these posts because my sister really wants to create a Rey costume and I’ve been drafted to ‘help.’ If you ever decide to also do a post on the hip bag that is attached to the belt, I’d be very interested.

  2. Thank you for the post! This is really awesome! I was wondering, do you do commissions of these bags out of curiosity?

    1. Thanks Olivia. We aren’t currently doing any commissions as we are busy working on some new costumes. However, we may consider doing a run of the bags in the future.

  3. Your costume is fantastic, and this bag is amazing! Where in the world did you find that perfect fabric for her vest? I have been looking everywhere!

  4. I love how you have created this bag, so creative! I would love to know how you made Rey’s resistance vest, arm bands, and undershirt! Will you be posting a tutorial soon? 🙂


    1. Thanks Marinna. I’m still working on the undershirt. The shirt that I’m using in the photos is just a tank top that I used for the photos. I do plan on posting tutorials for the vest and arm bands but I’m not sure how soon I will have them up.

      1. Have you had luck finding good material for the shirt? It looks like a really thick type of something that has a little bit of texture.

        1. That’s been a big part of the delay with the shirt. I did buy material but I’m not sure that it is the right fabric and it’s not taking the dye well.

  5. Any chance that you will do a post on how to make Rey’s Vest? Or did I miss is somewhere? Love your instructions!

    1. Thanks Rosy. I don’t know if I will be doing a post on the vest. It’s been so long since we made the vest that I would probably need to make another one just to do a post. I have minimal sewing skills so it was mostly trial and error. Also, the fabric that I used is no longer available and I haven’t found a substitute yet. However I would highly recommend this tutorial by Owl Feathers Cosplay. I met her at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. We were both in our Resistance Rey costumes and her vest is more screen accurate than mine.

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