Handmade Backpack

I am a firm believer that "If its made out of fabric, then I can make it". Why not? I signed up for a class at a local art school and the first thing I do to prepare to accessorize! I was going to buy a backpack but couldn't find anything I loved for less than $100. Although I have no access to commercial fabrics- cordura or coated poly, or other heavy duty water proof fabrics, I knew my bag would be out of canvas. Those commercial fabrics are great because they are light weight and sew pretty easy. ( I am trying to get my hands on some for future projects). I used duck cloth ( a thick cotton - not as thick as canvas) for the upper. The lower is a (thin) poly decorative suede that I lined with duck cloth.

On one side is a zippered laptop sleeve ( bottom right). It turned out really well and it is heavily padded.

 On the other side is a sort of hidden pocket that I made for my hand to slip into. ( left side) The pocket is quite large on the inside. I like it but I can only put things in that are hand size.

I wanted a bag that opened on top rather than a zipper. This is so that I could fit larger things in, like pads of paper or rulers. I have gotten some comments about the way it opens on top, but I don't mind that it is not zippered. I thought I could remedy that by putting a draw string pull closure.

 My favorite part of the bag is the waxed treatment. The fabric is actually a light beige but with the wax it became a darker khaki. I waxed the poly suede and it became shiny and much more durable. This was my first time doing a wax treatment to add water proofing. I don't think I put enough on but, but I lined the outer fabric with water resistant lining material- available at Fields. I was stuck in one especially heavy down pour and nothing got wet inside. I used a tutorial online for the wax treatment. I used 100% parafin and a paint brush to do this. I have since done a second bag differently, see Handmade Backpack 2 for details.

Things I learned: Having one central strap caused gapping on the side and put a lot of stress on the strap. You can see the shredding of the belt I used for the strap, which may just be because that belt wasn't made for that type of stress.
Also I need more pockets. And a place for a travel cup or bottled water. I was constantly having to get into the bag for these and it was just clumsy.
However I do like steam lined, minimalistic look without a lot of clutter, so I guess there is some sacrifice.

Here's the three backpacks I have made. The middle has internal laptop sleeve, the outter two have external laptop zipper pockets. I repurposed the organization pouches from thrift store bags to save me time. I made all the straps and spent time making then strong and reinforced. I basically was experimenting with top closures, sizes, and usefulness of bags.

Moving to a new blog

Hi I have started a new blog : left right confused, I will continue to post crafty projects there. please update your reader I hope to see all of you there!

click here to go to left.right.confused


Customized Planner

I bought a planner on clearance that was a little boring, it was really easy to customize it to be unique. I was able to sew over the existing cover ( through the cardboard- easier than it sounds), then glued around the tab and magnetic closure.

Also I created a custom monthly planner in Indesign that I printed out on 2 sided speciallty scrap-book paper, with a 3-hole punch and a rotory cutter its one of a kind.
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Print your own plannner: download the custom monthly planner pdf here

More Diaper Bags

McCalls B4560
these are a comission, one in pink and one in blue. I added strap adjusters per request, I had to special order 2" adjusters, they just don't sell those at the store. other than that I put the plastic canvas on the bottom instead of the back. I have made this pattered at least 8 times now and I love it more and more each time

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Holiday sewing

Homemade cassarole dish cozy with zipper, it has temperature reflect fabric to keep things hot or cold. It came together easier than I thought it would, I'll probably have to make more of these in the future as I can see how it could in handy for potlucks

Dog coat: Mccalls 5723 view c , no bow, I used fleece and reflector tape. this is the large size! it fit great though.


McCall's 5538

fleece winter coat with an oops! ( bottom pic) how did that happen???oh well.

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homemade couch slipcover for Katie

From 2010-08-29

and after:

this took us about 2 days of sewing, this is my 3rd cover and I like to make the cushions instead of a regular slipcover- I think this looks much nicer. Covering the cushions probably takes the longest. we used heavy home-dec fabric that is way more durable than the chintz that was on there to begin with.
below is close up of the arm back, probably the hardest part with the curve and 3 large pieces that come together, it needs to be tight to prevent it from shifting.
From dp

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helper cats Basil and Nutmeg!

and helper dog Salute:
From dp

parasal from unbrella


I have been wanting to make this for some time, I covered an existing unbrella that had a few holes with home -dec fabric ( thank you Carrie!), I pinned the fabric together over the umbrella for the pattern but still had fitting issues - although the cells appear the same they are not symetrical at all. Next time I make one I will use thinner material, the dotted fabric adds a little weight but it keeps the sun out, perfect for the beach!
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Paint Brush Holder


I made this out of osnaburg- one of the oldest fabrics, I love to use it, it has a great feel and look. I didn't line this because I wanted it to be thin. Now off to painting...
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diaper bag for Nerrisa

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Pattern Review Here

This is for a coworker, I offer to sew a homemade diaper bags for anyone expecting as my gift. I love this fabric, it's stain repellant outdoor fabric, the beige on the inside is pre-quilted fabric.

pillows for Carrie

I love sewing pillows, they are so easy to make, and they look store bought with a little pipe-ing. At her request I made the pillow covers with a zippers instead of a flap, I used the by-the-yard home dec. zipper and a little flap to cover.
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Jewelry Holder made from Tree Branches

I found this idea from this
I was in need of something for jewerly, I had been using a plastic silverware tray lined with felt but my necklaces became too kinked. I sanded and removed the bark then painted the branches white then to add sparkled I brushed diluted glue and sprinkled glitter on. I used plaster in the little decorative jars to hold them, they are a little tippy so I would recommend slightly larger bottles. It is so pretty in the morning sun..

neglected sewing machine

well, I knew the last time a needle broke was a bad one but I just kept going on, until I kept breaking threads and snagging fabric. here is my throat plate, you can see the gashes that have been snagging, the one on the left is huge and there is a sliver of metal hanging off!

then I discovered the underneath...YUK!

Zipper repair in pants for Flor

this is my first ever zipper replacement, I don't know how I have avoided these so long but I am surprised how well it went together. Of course I couldn't find the same color zipper to match the beige pants but I am please with the light cream. and it save Flor from loosing her favorite beige pants.
I removed the original zipper carefully keeping it in place with pins then slipped the new zipper exactly in same position then sewed carefully. I would really have to love a pair of pant to do this again though.