Learn how to quickly add Rey’s hip bag to your costume for around $12, by modifing an existing canvas bag!
Rey’s hip bag is a small canvas bag worn on her right hip from the lower belt section. It is a canvas military style top opening bag with a strap closure and 2 rectangular rings on one side. The bag also has a metal clip on the front. The movie prop has been identified as being made from a vintage British M37 Signal Satchel that was modified to be smaller. To create my version of this piece, I started with this rothco canvas ammo shoulder bag in olive green. It is also available in a khaki color, but I used the green, as the reference photos show the bag as the darkest piece of Rey’s Jakku costume.
Alternatively, you could use bulk canvas fabric and follow this pattern, created by Division 6 Props to create a very accurate version of the bag.
Using a seam ripper tool, I first removed the shoulder strap and pockets from the front of the Rothco bag. Since the width of this bag was too wide, I opened the right side seams to separate the front and back from the right side, and then cut the front, back and top flap down to approximately 7 inches wide.
With the side piece open, before re-stitching the front and back pieces to the side, I added the belt loops to the back. I cut two 4 inch pieces of the shoulder strap, heated the edges to stop them from fraying, and stitched them approximately 1/2 inch from the sides on the back, leaving a 2 inch opening for the belt to pass through. Then I re-stitched the front and back pieces to the side to reassemble the more narrow version of the bag.
Since Rey’s bag has side pieces on the flap, I used the pocket fabric to make a long side piece on the right (viewing the bag from the front) and a shorter side piece on the left of the flap.
Rey’s bag also has 2 rectangular metal rings on the side. Since one ring was already in place, I removed the second ring from the shoulder strap, cut a small piece of the strap to attach the ring and stitched it beneath the factory ring on the side of the bag.
To make the bag more accurate, I removed the existing flap strap and buckle using a seam ripper. I flattened out the existing buckle by bending it with pliers, then cut the rounded end off with a Dremel. You could also use a hacksaw if you do not have access to a Dremel tool. Next I cut a notch out of one side of the buckle and drilled 2 small holes in the strap tab to match the movie prop. Then I stitched the strap to the rear of the flap and the buckle to the lower part of the bag.
The last piece needed to complete the bag is the black clip on the lower left front corner. This has been identified as a military ALICE clip, which is available on ebay or from most military surplus stores. To attach the clip to the bag I just marked the location on the bag with a pencil, applied contact cement to the bag and back of the clip and glued them together. The clip should be installed with the full loop at the top, the notch facing outward and the half loop at the bottom.
To create the worn look of the bag, I used sandpaper over the entire surface of the canvas and applied some watered down black, gray and brown acrylic paint with a sponge. I also sanded off most of the black paint on the side rings, buckle and end tab of the strap.
Using the rothco ammo bag makes a version of the bag with the side flap pieces stitched on separately. Since I later had some leftover matching canvas from my Rey’s Resistance shoulder bag , I remade the top and side flaps from a single piece to make my bag more accurate. For more structure, you can insert a small cardboard box with the top cut off into the bag.
Check back soon to learn how I made Rey’s wrist cuff bracer and arm wraps!
Tools & Materials
–Rothco Bag or Canvas
-Medium / Coarse Sandpaper
-Needle & Thread
-Drill & 1/8″ Drill Bit (optional)
-Dremel with Cutting Wheel or Hacksaw
-Assorted Colors of Acrylic Paint