1Decide to make a backpack
I have made 15 bags in the last two months and I'm ready to make another one that I can't just finish in a couple of days. I thought about making a Fjallraven Kanken copy using WithWendy's tutorial, but it's for a mini backpack and not a full-size. I've already made one mini backpack, so I want to make a big one.
2Decide what fabrics to use
I've got a large canvas drop cloth that I used in conjunction with a PVC frame as a backdrop for pictures. I haven't used it for that in years, so I decided it would be great bag fabric. I might even dye some of it, who knows? It's not heavy enough to be used without interfacing, so I'll be adding Pellon Shape-Flex (SF101) to the front and back pieces, the gusset (the sides), and the two pieces of fabric that the main zipper is sewn to.
For the lining, I went with some fabric I already have because I need to bust my stash. I think it goes really well with the drop cloth. Only some of the lining pieces call for interfacing, but I might interface more of them as I go along.
3Print out the pattern pieces
Make sure it prints at 100%, unless you're #bag hacking or something. Every page in this pattern with pieces on it also has a 1" reference box for making sure it printed correctly. That is good patternmaking if you ask me.
4Cut out the pattern pieces
This is your first chance to screw things up, so do it slowly. Cut on the very outside of the lines and tape the pieces together wherever necessary. This pattern has four or so pieces that must be taped together. I like to tape both sides.
5Study the pattern and the pieces
No need to jump in and get ahead of yourself. Read through the pattern or at least skim it a few times before you do anything else. Everybody who writes a pattern inserts their own quirks. They don't even agree on 'RST' for right sides together.
6Get started cutting out the project pieces
Lay your pattern pieces on the wrong side of the fabric. My drop cloth is pretty much the same on both sides, but when it came time to iron on the interfacing, you can bet I fused it to the side with the remnants of purple marker.
I have about a dozen extremely large washers that I like to use for pattern weights. Some people like to pin the pieces to the fabric and cut around them. You do you. I don't want to take the chance of slicing little slivers off of my pattern pieces.
I usually like to cut out all the exterior pieces, then all the interior pieces, and then the interfacing. Interfacing is expensive, so I like to make sure I understand exactly what needs interfacing so I don't waste any. As with fabric, I try to lay out the pattern pieces to maximize the available interfacing.
7Make any changes you want to make to the pattern
This is the time to add or subtract pockets or dinosaur patches or decide the placement of and use an embroidery machine to add a Hackaday logo. If this is your first project of a certain type or your first time following a new pattern, I would advise against making changes unless you know very well what you're doing, and you understand the pattern thoroughly.
I decided it would be pretty to have some of the interior fabric on the outside of the backpack, so I'm going to do the side pockets in my interior fabric (the southwest colors with the squiggly squares) for visual interest. I would like to go all out and buy webbing that matches, but I think I'm going to stick with black.
8Start sewing it together
I will be following the pattern in the order it is written, which is roughly:
make the front pouch pocket and attach to front main piece make the front lining pocket above pouch pocket
- make the straps
- attach the straps and carrying handle to front main piece
- attach the other part of the straps and the other carrying handle to the back piece
- make the zipper panel and gusset (the bottom and part of the sides)
- make the lining pockets and attach them to the lining
- attach the main lining panels to the main exterior panels
- sew the main panels to the gusset
- add bias binding to the inside seams we just made
- turn inside out and press into shape