This little one of mine started Kindergarten last month. The build up to that day was grand, for all of us. Of course, we got her school supplies, looked through her fall wardrobe and talked and talked about the day. And it was time for a big girl backpack. Which I decided I would make.
I think sewing for these momentous occasions is as much for them as it is for me. It helps me prepare, feel like I’m doing my part and a bit of me is going along with her for the day.
And, of course, the bag I decided to make was a bit of a stretch on my skill level. I’ve been obsessed with this bag from the (awesome) movie, Instructions Not Included (if you haven’t seen it, you should). Since I couldn’t find a pattern, I started with the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew messenger bag and used the Sweet Pod baby carrier pattern for the straps.
I felt like this was a bit of an unconventional challenge. I wanted a water resistant fabric but I didn’t want vinyl coating so initially I planned to try to wax my own cotton/linen canvas. But one day, walking through Target, I veered into the bathroom accessories aisle and landed on the shower curtains, perfect! After some debate and thinking about what Lucia might like, I chose this colorful hexagon print. Of course, I didn’t consider how hard matching those hexagons would be until I started cutting! The lining is the perfect shade of watermelon which I found in the remnants at G Street. The zippers, webbing and binding all came from Joanns (thank you Dritz) and the clasp at the front was found on Etsy. I used horsehair for the interfacing and bits of the insulation I use for my French press cozies to pad the back and the straps. Last I cut up a lingerie bag to use the netting on the water bottle pocket and straps and a fold-over elastic hair band for the top edge of the water bottle pocket. Whew. No wonder it took me awhile to finish. Hah.
I didn’t make good notes about the modifications I made to the pattern, but here are a few that I can share off the top of my head.1. Added 2 inches to the height and depth, the width stayed the same.
2. The original pattern has you cut one piece for the back and flap, I split these to attach the straps.
3. I combined the two side pattern pieces since I wouldn’t be attaching the strap to the sides.
4. I made a new pattern piece for the top zipper section (with this you could also eliminate the flap).
5. For the front smaller pocket, I used the same pattern piece, but added gussets to the bottom corners and eliminated the middle welt, then added a new piece for the top zipper portion.
I have to tell you that she didn’t have any faith that I would finish the bag in time for school to start. She asked me daily about it and was really worried. I wasn’t sure she would like it and worried it would look homemade, so I was fully prepared to go out and buy her one if I needed to. But…she loves it. People would have no idea it’s homemade, except she tells everyone. I love that, but mostly I love her.