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.

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