This Instructable is going to show you how to hand stitch your own rucksack which you can use at work, out on a stroll or anywhere else you like. I am going to make this using leatherette, which is also known as fake leather or rexine or upholstery leather. It is normally water resistant, flexible and easy to work with.
The tools and materials we are going to need are : a leatherette sheet, fish eye rivets, snaps, scissors, steel scale, pencil, twine, crochet thread, snap setter, rivet setter, hole puncher and needles.
This is going to require a lot of hand stitching. You could use a sewing machine too, but some parts would have to still be done by hand. Be careful using the needles and have fun!!
Step 1: Drawing and Cutting Out Pieces for the Bag
First, we need to cut out the front and back panels for the bag. Draw a shape as shown in the first picture. You can make it as big as you want. I measured 40 cm on the top, 60 cm height, and 50 cm on the bottom side of the rectangle and drew that semi circle at the bottom by hand. Then just cut the shape out using a pair of scissors. Once you have cut one piece, place it on the leatherette sheet and trace the shape and cut out another piece.
So now you have two pieces - one for the front side and one for the back side. Now measure the outer perimeter of one of these pieces and draw a long rectangle with 10-15 cm width. I added 10 cm to the length of the perimeter just in case I make some mistake while stitching the pieces together. We are going to cut this piece out and use it for the side and bottom panels. You can see the piece I cut out in the pictures above.
Now its time to stitch all these pieces together.
Step 2: Stitching the Front, Back and Side Panel
We are going to use thicker crochet twine to stitch the bag together. First keep one of the front panels and the side panel side by side. You may draw lines on the sides to guide your needle. Bend the two edges inwards and insert the needle perpendicular to the bent edge on one panel and out and insert it parallel to the other panel, again perpendicular to the edge. These are called invisible stitches. In case you are not sure how to do this, you will be able to get a better understanding if you search on the web. Now, after you've stitched the two panels together, use a normal twine and back stitch just above the crochet stitches. This is done to make the bag hold more weight.
You can see the stitches in the pictures above. Once you stitch one of the front panels to the side panels, start stitching the other panel to the side panel. Finally, you'll have stitched together something that looks like a sack as you can see in the last picture above. Next, we need to add a few fish eye rivets for the drawstring.
Step 3: Rivets for the Drawstring
Bent the top of the rucksack inwards and start making holes slightly smaller than the eye of the rivets. Use the puncher to make four holes in the front and back panels and two holes in the side panels. Now use the rivet setter to set the rivets in these holes.
After this, use a crochet thread and needle and do a back stitch around the neck of the rucksack just below the rivets. You can see this in the pictures above. Now pull the bag inside out and we'll get a real look at the rucksack.
Step 4: Shoulder Straps
Now we need to make shoulder straps. Leatherette is kind of soft and flexible to use for making straps, therefore, I am going to fold a piece of leatherette and make it thicker.
Cut out two long pieces about 100 cm(or whatever fits you) with 10 cm width for the shoulder straps. Now draw a straight line down the straps taking a midpoint at 5 cm and fold the edges inward. We are going to make 'X' shaped stitches down the strap to make the folded edges hold together.
Start stitching down the thread in a zig-zag fashion and once you reach the bottom, start stitching back up. You'll get those x shaped patterns as shown in the pictures (Yes, those x's are out of shape and its a lot of stitching work, but its fun!!).
Once you have made two straps like this, choose one of the panels on the sack as your back panel and place the straps at a 45 degree angle going outwards so they'll fit your shoulders. Now stitch the strap to the back panel using back stitches in the shape of a rectangle. Once you have done that, fix the bottom part of the strap to the bottom of the back panel in the same fashion. You can see this in the pictures above.
(Those stitches look hideous !!! I need to work on my stitching.) Next, we'll cut out and fit the top flap.
Step 5: Top Flap and Drawstring
Cut out a top flap from the leatherette sheet as shown in the picture above. I didn't measure it out and just guessed a shape and size that would fit the bag and drew it out on the leatherette sheet. Once you have cut this piece out, stitch it to the top of the back panel of the rucksack and keep stitching around the perimeter of the flap to add some finishing to the flap. You can see what i did in the pictures above (or you could fold the edges inwards and make invisible stitches and make it even better).
Once the flap is stitched on, we need to add snaps to the flap and the front panel, so we can close the flap. Use a rivet setter and rivets and attach the pin part to the flap and the hole part to the front panel of the bag. It is quite easy if you have a snap setter.
Once the flap and snaps are fitted, we need to insert a drawstring through the rivets. We could use a shoe string, but I made a makeshift drawstring using a long thin strip of leatherette and tied crochet threads at the ends.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
And that's it!!!
We have put together our leatherette rucksack. Now,for a few finishing touches - I have these badges lying around, you can also use something else like patches or metal lockets or anything else you like. Just go crazy and use how much or how little as you like!! Or even embroider your name on the flap!!.
And that's how I made my leatherette rucksack. I know it could do with some better craftsmanship, but if you have any questions, post them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading!!