Posted on Saturday the 25th May 2019 by Wanderstitch
Sarah from Wanderstitch here again, bringing you a little something different - I made a backpack!
This pattern is the Range Backpack by Noodlehead (pattern available here), which I'd had my eye on for a while. There's also the Making Backpack if you prefer a slightly different style - I'm definitely going to be trying this one out next!
The Range is a bucket-style backpack, with one (large!) slip pocket on the inside.
The bag can be made from either a slightly heavier fabric - canvas or denim for example - or you can use quilting cottons. There tends to be more choice of quilting cottons than canvas fabric, so the designer has helpfully included the little tweaks you'll need to make in order to use a slightly lighter weight fabric. It's nothing scary though - you just need to add a layer of heavier weight fabric between the outer fabrics and the lining. You can use up scraps for this - you won't see the fabric on the finished bag, so it doesn't matter if you're using different colours or prints or anything. Think of it as interfacing.
A slightly heavier fabric is recommended for the base of the bag - if you're already using canvas for the main bag, by all means use it for the base too, if you're using a quilting cotton then you'll want a leather, cork fabric or canvas fabric for the base. I fell in love with this gold synthetic leather and decided to use it for the base and the main front pocket. It's super soft and supple and really easy to sew - BUT the needle will pierce permanent holes in leather so there's no unpicking! If it's your first time sewing with leather, maybe buy a little extra fabric to practice on. It can be a bit sticky getting it through your machine, so it's worth practicing to see how it's going to behave. A Teflon roller foot will help the fabric to feed through a bit more smoothly. If you've chosen quite a heavy leather fabric, a leather needle will help too - it's got more of a 'blade' to it rather than a point which helps the needle to pierce the fabric cleanly.
You'll need some bag-specific hardware for the Range Backpack - rectangle rings, strap sliders and D-rings for the closure. Instead of D-rings, you could use a luggage buckle closure if you fancied it. I think I'll try this on the next version because I find the D-rings a bit fiddly! I deviated from the pattern and added a zip closure to the top of the bag as well - I felt a little bit edgy with an open fold-over top, so I installed a metal zip to keep everything extra secure.
I kept with the leopard print theme for the lining (because leopard print is THE BEST!) and chose this Camelot Fabrics Poplin Print in 'wildberry'.
The quilting on the back panel adds a nice pro-looking touch - by all means if you're feeling confident enough you can do fancy patterns but as a quilting newbie I played it safe and went with one-inch diamonds. Because I didn't trust myself to eyeball straight lines, I drew them on to the fabric with a ruler and dressmakers pencil, stitched the lines, then rubbed off the pencil marks.
Don't be put off making the bag because it looks complicated - it's totally not. The instructions are super clear and easy to follow and in no time you'll see the bag coming together!
I'm so happy with my backpack - it's a really good size, really comfy to carry (you can always add some padding in the straps if you like but I haven't found that that's needed) and there's so much scope for customisation with different fabrics and closures. Now all that's left to think about is how many variations I can make for myself before it's classed as too many....!
If you'd like to try some other Noodlehead patterns (and I totally think you should), check out this lot!
Sarah // Wanderstitch