George’s Dino Backpack

My first foray into bag making was a baptism of fire many people witnessed on social media! Not only did I pick a particularly complicated backpack pattern, I also decided to use laminated cotton to give a little weather resistance, which I’d never used before!
 
The whole backpack took me 3 months to make. This is mainly due to only being able to sew in short bursts, as I have a now 3 year old helper! It also didn’t help that it felt like I had to cut out a million pieces:

I made the small size Cumberland Backpack by Sew Sweetness and I have to say that the instructions were fairly easy to follow. The outer and inner get sewn at the same time for most of the construction, so the repetitive steps really helped (I still have baby brain 3 years on!) Once I’d applied the interfacing and foam to the pieces, it seemed slightly less daunting:

I found working with the laminated fabric quite tricky as it’s very slippery and you almost have to physically encourage it to go through the machine (I’ve since learned that a walking foot would have helped), but on the whole, going slowly and gently helped a lot. It wasn’t long before the pieces actually came together and started to resemble a bag… time to get excited!!

Reading ahead in the instructions, I was able to make a few design changes – such as no slip pocket inside the bag (as this was for a 3 year old, I really didn’t see the need) and I decided not to topstitch around the front zip pocket as I didn’t think it was necessary (and I prefer the look without). I could feel my confidence growing with each sewing session (I could only really sew 2 or 3 times a week for about an hour an evening). And I tackled many sewing firsts:

  • Using foam interfacing
  • Sewing with nylon strapping
  • Handling laminated fabric
  • Constructing straps
  • Sewing a zip on a curve
  • Applying a magnetic closure
  • Using iron on woven interfacing

The list could go on! Eventually, came the moment to “birth the bag”. In all honesty, apart from starting the project in the first place, this was the most nerve-wracking part! The reveal, so to speak. The only advice I can give, is when the instructions say leave a 20cm gap, leave a 20cm gap!! And then that was that! One dinosaur backpack finished for George to take to nursery… during lockdown… just days before his birthday!

As a footnote, if anyone feels daunted about making a bag, don’t be. Just do it, it’s a case of following instructions and taking your time. Oh, and breathe. I often forget to do that whilst concentrating! This project has led me on to make myself a backpack and also plan another, this time in Harris tweed (yes, I don’t do things by halves and love setting myself a challenge!)

– Fiona

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