Now that we’ve cut out all the pieces and appliqued the Top Flap (optional), we can start sewing!
What do you think, girls?
Let’s do this thing!
[Continued from Part One of the Sew-Along]
6. Add trim to the Outside Pocket an Top Flap. Lay the right sides of the trim against the right sides of your pocket piece and sew them together with a 1/4″ seam.
Notes for Newbies: Fabric has two sides, a “right” side and a “wrong” side. The right side is the pretty side, the one you want to see on the outside of your backpack. The wrong side is the other side. Obviously. 😉
Fold the trim up and wrap it around to the back of pocket piece to enclose the raw edge. Top stitch the trim in place.
Turn your Outside Pocket piece over and cut away the excess trim.
Repeat these steps to trim the Top Flap in the same manner. To make adding the trim to the curved edges of the Top Flap easier, you can cut notches along the fabric edge. I use pinking shears to notch the fabric quickly. Use lots of pins to hold the trim in place and go slow around the curves.
Flip the trim around to the back side of your Top Flap, top stitch, and trim away the excess, just as you did with your Outside Pocket piece.
Set aside your finished Top Flap and Outside Pocket.
7. Make the Shoulder Straps and Top Loop. Fold the pieces you cut for your Shoulder Straps and Top Loop in half, wrong sides together, and press. Open up your pressed pieces, then fold in 1/4″ along the length of both sides and press again.
Fold the Straps and Top Loop in half again, along your original pressing line, wrong sides together. Top stitch along the open, long edges. Then, add another row of top stitching along the other long edge and a third row of stitches right up the center. These last two rows of top stitching are decorative. Your Strap and Loop pieces should look like this (Loop not pictured):
Set the Shoulder Straps and Top Loop aside for now.
8. Prepare and Sew on your backpack’s Closure Straps. This next part varies a bit, depending on what you decided to use for your Closure Straps.
- If you decided to use leather, you can simply sew the straps to the backpack ‘as-is’, no need to finish the edges.
- If you are using a woven fabric, you will follow the same steps to make the Closure Straps as you did to make the Shoulder Straps and Top Loops, in order to enclose the raw edges. Fold in half wrong sides together, press, open, fold in long edges, press, fold in half again, sew along open edge to close up the strap, and (optional) sew two more rows of decorative top stitching.
- If you are using packaged double-fold bias tape, you don’t have to do the pressing part, as the folds are already pre-pressed and folded, you simply have to sew down the long, open edge to close up the strap and optionally add decorative top stitching.
Regardless of the material and method you choose, you should have:
- Two Closure Straps (to be attached to the Outside Pocket) – 3″ long x 1/2″ (approx) wide.
- Two Closure Straps (to be attached to the Top Flap) – 4.5″ long x 1/2″ (approx) wide.
It’s okay if the width on the Closure Straps isn’t *exactly* 1/2″. This is art, not science, people! If the buckles or sliders you chose are a little wider or a little more narrow, you can adjust the width of the closure straps accordingly.
Now that your closures are ready, fold one end of a 4.5″ x 1/2″ strap (one of the longer straps) down about 1/2″ and sew onto the Top Flap where marked. I sewed a square with an X in the middle, partly for decoration and partly to make sure the stitching was very secure. Repeat for the other three straps, attaching where marked on the pattern, for a total of two longer straps on the Top Flap and two shorter straps on the Outside Pocket.
9. Baste Shoulder Straps and Top Loop to Top Flap
*Notes for Newbies: “Baste” means to sew something in place with long, temporary stitches in order to hold in place. You can do this with your machine or with hand stitches if it’s easier for you. Basting stitches don’t have to be pretty, they just have to do the job of holding everything still until the next step.
Fold the Top Loop in half, bringing the bottom edges together side by side. The “v” that is formed should be pinned at the midpoint of the Top Flap. Pin the Shoulder straps next to the Top Loop. Baste the Shoulder Straps and Top Loop in place.
10. Attach the Top Flap to Backpack Body piece.
- Make a “sandwich”. Lay one of your Backpack Body pieces right side up. Then lay your Top Flap piece right side down on top of the Backpack Body. Finally, lay your trim piece right side down, along the top of the sandwich. Pin it all together and then sew along the top with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Trim off any excess Shoulder Strap or Top Loop that is sticking out.
- Just as you did to trim the Outside Pocket back up at step 6, flip the trim up and over to enclose the raw edge of the “sandwich” you sewed. Pin, stitch across the top, and cut away excess trim.
You are making excellent progress! Please let me know if anything is unclear or you have any questions.
Almost done.. take a break or proceed to Part 3!