My Brother’s Backpack

This backpack has been a long time coming! Ever since I made my mom a purse, my brother has been after me to make him a backpack. So the next time we were in Toronto I brought him to Perfect Leather so he could chose exactly what he wanted. My brother found a really pretty brown/black leather that was a bit shiny but at the same time a bit rugged looking.

Later when we got home he started looking online for backpacks similar to what he wanted. To my surprise he wanted something with a bunch of pockets! I had wrongly assumed it was something relatively simple, with maybe a zipper closure and a zipper pocket or two. I didn’t mind making that kind of bag, it’s just I had estimated the leather square footage I would need for the other design. But then I thought, it always works out somehow in the end so I just started drafting the pattern.

DSC_0288

There is nowhere around here where I can get handbag hardware. The closest place would be Toronto and it doesn’t really have the greatest selection. I had got my mom’s bag’s hardware on my trip to New York last year, I even had some custom zippers made up for it. But unfortunately my brother hadn’t put in his order for his backpack by that time. So I had to make due. I went on Etsy to see what I could find and was pretty surprised by the decent selection. When I was choosing the hardware I had to keep in mind that he wanted it to be manly, which is actually harder to do than I would have thought. So I stuck to gunmetal everything, and mostly used buckles.

DSC_0283

I warned my brother that all these buckles would be a huge pain, and knowing him he would be walking around with his bag completely open because he would be too lazy to do up the buckle. While browsing online I found this bag that had it all figured out, I almost missed it in the pictures. They put the buckle on the front closure just as all the other pockets, but this buckle is fake. They placed a tuck lock hidden beneath the buckle, so instead of having to unbuckle the front of the bag, all you need to do is press on the tuck lock! So clever!

DSC_0291

I added a zippered pocket on the back of the bag for keeping more valuable things like a phone or wallet. Since that pocket sits against your back, it’s usually safe from pickpockets.

DSC_0284

I didn’t start this bag for so long! When I finally sat down to start it, I drafted up the whole pattern, which was relatively quick to do. It’s actually one of my favourite parts. It’s so easy and fun since really all most handbags are, are a series of square pieces, and really they can be whatever you want! It’s so different from garment drafting since in garment drafting there are a lot of rules I guess you could say, and things to worry about like fit. But with bags it’s pretty much just whatever you wanna do! So I’m done the pattern, and I go to lay it out on the leather skins. I knew this would be the hardest part, because I was guessing it would be a tight fit. And wow was I right! I just kept trying different layouts over and over, thinking to myself there must be some way I can fit this, if only I keep trying. So I left it for a while after that. I moved on to other projects, because I couldn’t figure out how to make this work! So finally I sat down again, convinced once again I could figure this out. It took a while, but finally I found a layout, it was extremely tight. I was nervous to start cutting, in case I forgot an integral piece or somehow came to the end and it wouldn’t all fit. But it did, just barely! The great thing about it was I wasted almost nothing from those skins, literally shreds were left over. And since I knew my brother wanted the bag to be rugged looking, all the imperfections on the leather actually added to the aesthetic.

DSC_0277

I used silk topstitching thread for this bag, I had it leftover from another project. It was pretty much the price of gold, but I thought at this point it’s just left over and this bag would really showcase it.

DSC_0275

My brother was so excited when I brought it up to show him! He said it was even better than he had imagined! Success!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *