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My Bags Are Packed


My 2019 Me Made May was pretty much a total bust. Did you do any better?


At the onset of the month I vowed to sew something every day, even if just 15 minutes a day. That was quickly downgraded to do something sewing-adjacent every day (like trace patterns, cut out fabric). And when even that didn't pan out, make something every day. That I could stick to... but it wasn't really a challenge since I knit every day anyways.


But I did finally manage to finish a sewing project I'd started last summer. It wasn't a garment but something me-made so it counts, right?


Every spring I get this urge to sew bags. Over the years I've come to realize there's only one type of bag I really need and use: the backpack. They're roomy, easy to carry hands-free, and usually come with lots of pockets to organize your little knickknacks. There was a period last spring when everyone was making the Range Backpack from Noodlehead. I love the look of the finished bags (there's TONS on Instagram) but personally find all flap-closures to be quite impractical. I want zippers.



The pattern I chose is the Taito backpack, a free PDF pattern from a Finnish online fabric store, Kangaskapina. This pattern is for an adult-sized backpack with two separate zippered sections. I made things harder for myself by using a directional fabric which meant some pattern pieces had to be cut in two halves. I also fully lined every compartment and added extra pockets and embellishments.



All the materials were pretty much from my stash except for reflective tape and piping. I used a sturdy cotton canvas for most pieces, linen canvas for the bottom and back, and quilting cotton for some of the lining. To make the backpack stand the test of time (and heavy use), all pieces are interfaced. The back piece, bottom, and shoulder straps are re-enforced with fusible felting.



The reason why the project stalled for nearly a year are the side pieces. In laying down the pattern pieces I didn't realize how they would come together in the final construction. Turns out I cut them in the wrong order and now have cars that are cut in half. *headdesk* It would've been such an opportunity for perfect pattern matching! Oh well.



The front piece of the backpack was cut into two with a zipper across the middle. Inside there's two elasticated pockets and a little key fob. The middle compartment also has extra pockets with pencil holders. And the big compartment is big enough to carry a few hefty volumes.



Fully lining the backpack meant I had to stray from the pattern instructions. I wanted to hide all the seams on the inside so I really had to rack my brain on the construction and sewing order. Dealing with multiple compartments and multiple zippers at the same time was truly a real-life test in spatial reasoning. How many times did I pin a wrong thing to another wrong thing with wrong sides together? Too many to count.


All in all this project was a real labor of love... and time. Mostly time. I really love my new backpack and hope to get plenty of use out of it. But if I were to make another one, I'd definitely pick a more straightforward pattern. The Making Backpack (also from Noodlehead) and the Mila Uni Bag from Unikati are strong contenders.


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#sewing #sewingpattern #bag #backpack #MeMadeMay #MeMadeMay2019 #zipper

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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