Maine, United States

Child's Backpack / Making No. 7 / DESERT
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Child's Backpack / Making No. 7 / DESERT

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Lately, I've felt very inspired to make more easygoing projects. I've also felt a distinct calling to be creative with my scraps. I made a quilt from scraps, and then another mini quilt from my scrap's scraps. I also made the Meditative Pincushion, another project from our Scrap-Busting series.

Typically, I save all larger scraps; some are large enough to be made into clothing items that require a yard or less like tank tops, and some of the smaller ones I save and cut into squares for quilts. When it comes to my favorite and most precious fabrics, I have a hard time letting go of even the smallest ones, so I have a few bags of tiny and oddly shaped fabrics in my favorite prints. Sometimes when it comes to scraps, you get extraordinarily lucky, which was certainly the case when it came to the primary material I used for this project and what was left over. During the fall of last year, Merchant and Mills released a series of gorgeous Cotton Jacquard fabrics that gave the appearance the fabric was quilted. Sadly, I missed out on the first batch and snatched some up the next time it came around. I ended up making a Wiksten Haoria pattern that was initially released in Making No. 5 / COLORwith the fabric. Some of the smaller, unusable pieces I passed along to my grandmother, which she used to stuff a dog bed. There was one good-sized piece I knew could be used for some kind of bag; I was just waiting for inspiration to strike. 

One of my favorite things is the energizing feeling of inspiration. The Child's Backpack by Sanae Ishida from Making No. 7 / DESERT has been on my wishlist for some time. I've had a few fabrics piled together, thinking they would work well for this project. But I recently remembered my jacquard cotton scrap and knew I had to use it for the backpack instead. I had the perfect complimenting cotton for a lining, so I got to work and brought the inspired idea to life! 


Sewing Notes & Tips 

Bag Size  

The finished proportions of my bag are slightly different from the pattern because I used the lines in my fabric as a guide and wanted to make sure everything matched up nicely. Pattern matching can sometimes be challenging, but I love that with this simple project, I was able to customize the size and match up the pattern without much effort. Since I was working with a scrap that had limited width, I kept to the pattern for that. However, when it came to the height, that's where I changed the dimensions so the squares at the top wouldn't be cut off with a seam. 

Eliminating the Bottom Seam  

Something else I did to help my fabric work well with this pattern was to eliminate the bottom seam. I decided to do this because my scrap was long enough, and the fabric unravels easily. By removing the bottom seam, I hope that this bag will be more durable, and the material won't wear out or unravel as easily. 

Sewing the Pocket

I think this was probably my favorite part of the entire project. I've been falling in love with hand sewing more and more lately. Ever since I made the Meditative Pincushions, I've wanted to do something again that incorporates decorative stitching. I used this sashiko thread, and to help with getting my lines of stitching straight, I marked them beforehand with an iron away pen. Because I wasn't quite ready to stop making stitches by hand, as has been my problem lately, though a good one, I decided to add three lines of stitching to the top of the pocket as well. 



For the drawstring, I used something a little different. I had searched online for cotton cording and parachute cord, but couldn't find anything that I really liked. After a bit more thought, I ended up looking for the cotton cord on Amazon and came across this cotton clothesline. I read a few reviews and realized others had used this for crafting, so I decided to give it a go, and it worked out perfectly! 

Drawstring Ends 

The only downside of cotton cording is that it unravels terribly, so I taped up the ends to slide them through the drawstring casing easily. To finish each strand, I tied a knot at the end before securing both strands together with another knot. 

I love how this project turned out and am excited to use it for trips to the beach or farmers market. The Child's Backpack and Animal Keychain by Sanae Ishida can be found on pages 90-97 of the DESERT issue. Happy making! - Emily