This is a backpack that I finished just last night after about eleven days of solid handsewing. The patterns are somewhat improvised - I will explain where as the project progresses (definitely read through the WHOLE process before you start! and don't feel like you HAVE to do EVERYTHING just like I have it here... variate! I'm certainly going to, in future versions of this piece).
The Eyes zipper open and shut and there are four button-close pockets on the sides. The entire pack is lined.
I searched things like "skull" "kitty" "back pack" "punk" and a number of other related terms on etsy... went shopping for fabric at JoAnn's with my friend, took some inspiration from the world around me...bought the wrong zipper, bought the right zipper... and had a ball, and tried to take lots of pictures.
If you love this piece but are more interested in purchasing a finished project than you are pursuing the task, please contact me thru etsy to place a Custom order. Thank you for viewing and happy handiworking!
Step 1: Read Though EVERYTHING
It helps. Just sayin'. Ask me questions if you need to, I'll answer as soon as I can >^.^<
Step 2: Gather Materials!
This part can be lots of fun :) I like shopping trips with friends the best. Sometimes we coordinate online to figure things out.
You will need:
Two fabrics - either from the bolt or in the form of large, recyclable clothing (I like to go "fabric shopping" at the goodwill). One fabric will serve as the outside and one should be tough to withstand the wear and tear of being the inside of a backpack...I have used canvas in the past. I like the Plaid fabric because it seemed resilient.
two 7" zippers of your style and color choice
one 24" zipper of your style and color choice
four D-rings, fairly large
four buttons of your style and color choice
scissors - both thread cutters and shears
possibly a seam ripper
(everything but small scissors, pen/sharpie and seam ripper pictured)
Step 3: Cutting Patterns!
I am a very improvisational designer. I like to experiment with things and often come up with entire projects on the. fly. I did my best here to create some patterns and illustrate how I figure out the rest.
Initially, always, a sketch is helpful.
*I should note that while I was really fired up to make a zipper mouth for this, I decided against it eventually. I have notions for a more 3-d version of this... with a zipper mouth that would really be properly functional... >^.^<
Step 4: Laying Out and Cutting Up
I crack open the jeans and draw what I think will be the main part of the backpack - the oval "face" of the cat.
As I cut it out and handle it, I decided that it would turn out to be too broad for a backpack and trimmed it inward.
Knowing i needed one for the inside outer shell and one for the outside outer shell, i cut another identical piece.
Step 5: The Eyes Have It...
Next, a pattern for the "eyes"
I will create the oval shape to work off of and cut out two pieces for it, so that the pockets here are lined. so, we need four of this oval.
Step 6: I Smell a Pak-rat...
Then, a heart shape for the nose, which I will applique <3
Step 7: Ring Around the Nosey
Tracing the nose just a little larger so that it is easier to tuck the excess fabric under.
In general, I do this with patterns, unless I think it is not nessecary. but most of the time it's helpful to have a little extra for the seams.
Step 8: Do You Hear What I Hear?
I figured that it would be easiest to draw the ear pattern with the paper right beside the project. i could then simply see immediately if i "got it right"
Step 9: The Little Things...
An inner-ear applique pattern, plus the whisker applique pattern.
Step 10: Laying It Out and Cutting It Up, Again
Tracing the patterns - I will need four for the ear, which I am tracing slightly larger on the fabric to allow for the seams.
I try to use the fabric economically.
Step 11: Eye Spy...
I found a somewhat ready-made strip of the plaid that I am trimming off for use probably on the "eye" pockets in the face of the kitty.
Step 12: Seeing Things Well-roundedly
Pinning the plaid strip of fabric to the eye pattern to see how far around it goes. I'll cut off a length and then cut one more from this strip so that i have the pocket wallks for each "eye."
Step 13: Security Features
Cutting the straps for the backpack is pretty easy - I just butchered more of the corduroy at lengths comparable to the straps on my own backpack. The short ones ended up being about 16.5" and the long ones are 35.5", both are about 4" wide. The short straps only are pictured below (sorry!)
Step 14: Loopedy-Loop
One small rectangle for the loop at the top of the backpack from the plaid...fold quarters inward then in half, pin, stitch, save for later.
Step 15: There's a Wocket in My...
You want to make your top flap at least as broad across as the pocket, if not a little more. You can cut a piece to decorate the lips of the pockets with from the plaid, as well. The pocket itself should be as long as the sides plus the measurement of the bottom so that they can wrap around/underneath (the pockets stick out a little from the sides of the pack).
Step 16: Inner Ear Applique Pinning and Stitiching...
I decided it would be best to applique the inner-ear plaid piece before I sewed the two corduroy sides of the ear together. First, I pinned it as best i could, folding about .25" under, the whole way around the edge except the base of the ear.
I then handsewed the applique. You may want to use a machine; sometimes I do, depends on the project >^.^<
Step 17: Stiching the Ears
The Ears are pretty easy to pin and sew, and once I had seamed the inside, I flipped them right-side out and did an outer seam as well. I think it looks tidier this way and holds the shape better.
Step 18: Nose Applique
The nose I treated the same as the inner-ear applique, and it was naturally a bit trickier.
Step 19: Whiskwer Applique
The whiskers were a little easier, as they are all straight edges.
Step 20: Eye Pockets 101
One of the next things we can do is construct the Eye Pockets.
This means pinning two and two of the eye pieces together; and I chose to sew them together before sewing them to the sides/zipper - simply because it would be easier to keep all of the pieces pinned neatly.
I then sew the zippers to the sides, making certain to center each one so that when I attach the zippers and sides to the eye ovals, the seam for the pockets' sides will be on the bottom in the middle.
Turn the Pockets right-side out and double up on the seams, which I'll carry further a little later on in the project.
I will save these for later, as I want to sew them on through both the outer shell and the lining, to make them more firmly attached to the pack and lessen the stress on the other shell.
Step 21: A Way of Seaming...
Next, step: cutting out the plaid lining patterns for the front and back. This is Easy. You pin the corduroy face-down on the plaid, and cut it out. do it with the front and with the back. We are at this point ready to sew the front onto the lining (exciting!!!) and create the head.
As with the ears, we will do a little outer seam. If it helps you out, get the material shaped properly and pin it in place before you start to sew. It could save you some hassle in handling the fabric.
Step 22: A Turvy Tail
Now, I cut this fun shape out for the back of the outer shell...The tail applique I treated just like the other appliques we've done. It's just much bigger >^.^<
Step 23: C'mon Get Strappy...
Next, the straps. It may not feel necessary to you to pin them together before you sew them but I am showing you how here anyway. I sewed them once inside-out, then put an outer seam on them.
Step 24: A Roundabout Way...
Now comes a slightly tricky part. We need to measure the whole way around the edge of the backpack to get the length of the material that we'll need to cut for the sides of the backpack. A cloth tape measure would serve you best here, or you could use a length of thread or yarn - lay it out the whole way around the edge and then measure the length of the yarn with a straight measuring device.
As it took a few pieces of the plaid to make up the full length, I went ahead and sewed them all together, taking care to seam once on the inside and once on the outside, which helps the fabric to lay flatter. I also did a really quick-n-dirty running stitch down the sides of the sides to keep them together and easier to work with while pinning, sewing, etc.
Step 25: Pockets... Take 4
Assembly for the pockets is simple... you wind up sewing 8 sides to 4 pockets and 4 pocket flaps, 4 button holes and plaid trim x4 if you are so adventurous.
Step 26: Eye Pockets!
Also, 'since we've sewn the lining to the front and turned it right-side out and done the second seam, that means it is ready for us to sew the eye pockets on! with about .25" tucked underneath, I pinned each pocket the whole way around and did a whip-stitch, initally. I followed that with a running stitch.
This is also where I completed the second seam around the ovals. Looks much tidier >^.^<~
Step 27: Strapping In...
Next, we pin the straps to the back outer shell, with the lengths facing inward. this will help make the straps more stably attached to the pack, as they will be sewn into the lining.
I take a measure to make things easier on myself and sew the straps to the outer shell.
Here we see photos of it pinned, sewn, flipped, and with the outer seam added
Step 28: Ear-tachment
Time to Pin and Sew the ears...two seams ;)
Step 29: D-Rings
D-Rings are easy to attach - just make certain you attach them to the short (top) straps and not the long (bottom) straps!
Step 30: Zipper Attachment Time!
The Zipper can now be attached to the front - match middle of the zipper to middle of the top of the front, and pin to the inside.
Step 31: Side Attachment, Pt1
So...crazyness, we are ready to attach the side panel to one of the face/body panels! I'm chosing to attach the zipper side first, as it will be the more difficult, and because it will be easier once it is attached to just unzip it to work on the backpack while I am sewing the other side on.
IMPORTANT: make certain that you pin the side panel to the front of the pack with the pockets facing INSIDE. the frayed edge of the side panel gets pinned facing into the front panel. (see photo 1)
Once I am done sewing the inside, I sew the outside. Zipper start and end are specially reinforced.
Be certain to double-seam around the outside.
Step 32: Side Attachment, Pt2
Unzip the pack and now it is time to attach the back to the sides. First, we pin everything together, then start to stitching, try to match up that .25" extra seam allowance with the outer seam of the back panel, to help keep the seam straight.
Be certain to double-seam. Especially at the zipper.
Step 33: Wait a Second...
... all of a sudden, you're done! Thread the long straps through the D-Rings, have a friend try it on, take a few display photos and feel good about your final product >^.^<