Show Your Style: Ita Bags

banner that says Ita Bags and has pictures of two Ita bags

The nerdy sensation that's sweeping the nation: Ita Bags!

picture of a kingdom hearts themed ita bag
Okay, well "sweeping" might not be the best term. But they're turning up more and more in the geeky and nerdy culture of the United States. You can't go to a anime or comic convention without seeing vendors selling these cute bags that show off your swag.

An ita bag has a see-through window built into it so you can see the owner's collection of pins, charms, or even small plushies! The bonus is, your stuff doesn't get easily damaged and isn't in danger of getting lost if it falls off.

Some people theme their ita bag to their favorite genre, show, or even a specific character! Like here, this my own personal light blue ita backpack. It's themed to my favorite video game, Kingdom Hearts! Some of my friends let me use pictures of their bags from horror themes to the hit anime My Hero Academia, you can see everyone's interests and how they choose to show them on their ita bags!

picture of a large ita bag with several Hazbin Hotel pins and charms

Ita bag (ee-ta) stems from the Japanese word for pain, 痛い read as itai (ee-tie). In this case, it's used a little sarcastically as a reflex when the person sees something gaudy or excessive. That's okay, we know it and we loved it any way! It's come from the counter culture in Japan to make things cute - or kawaii (kuh-wai-ee) - and not have everything be identical or boring. Ita bags are a great way to show your love and how you're an individual with unique taste! It's the equivalent of putting a bumper sticker or two - or fifty - on your car.

picture of a black ita bag with pins and buttons displayed
"Where can I get an ita bag?" They're still a little hard to find in the US, so you'll need to check online. Find one that suits your style! Then load up your favorite swag and head out to show it off.

You can also make your own ita bag if you're a little crafty! There's sewing patterns available, as well as a tutorial on how to convert a clear plastic bag into an ita bag.

"How do I use an ita bag?" 

Well, you can stick your pins directly into the bag, but that causes holes and can wear your bag out early. So I suggest making a board to stick them on!

I used foam board here, but I've seen people use craft foam and heavy felt as well.

picture of making an ita bag: cutting out the foam board
1 - Figure out what size you need to cut your foam board to.

This took some trial and error on my part - I just cut and tried it to see if it fit until it did. (And if you're planning on making multiple boards for easy swap out, make a paper pattern piece of the size that fits!) Each bag has it's own size and style, so you'll have to customize to your bag.

2 - Cover the foam board with a fabric you like. I decided to do this so
A, it looks prettier;
B, it hides any pin holes from me moving pins around;
and C, I can sew patches or charms to it.

More opportunity to show off my stuff!

picture of making an ita bag: cutting the fabric
picture of making an ita bag: gluing the fabric to the foam board
picture of making an ita bag: the foam board covered in fabric







picture of an ita bag board with nintendo game pins and buttons on it
3 - Add your swag!

I put lots of pins on this board, but sewed two charms to it as well (their chains had broken off, and I hate throwing things away!)

This one I decided to put all my Nintendo video game stuff on - Pokemon, Animal Crossing, The World Ends With You, and Legend of Zelda!

picture of a light blue ita bag with video game charms and Pins
And here's my board put into my ita bag. (You can see how much better the foam board holds it shape and keeps the pins in place - I need to add foam board to my lower half of the bag too!)

This is also a great way to show off those Disney pin collections.

if you're looking for a new series to get into to inspire a bag, check out our manga and anime selection!

If you want to make your own, keep an eye out for when our Makerspace Sewing Space program is up and running again and I'll be happy to help you get started! In the meantime, check out our Kawaii crafting books for more ideas.

Happy Making!

By DanieE on September 1, 2021