This blog post will cover the how I completed the most recent version of the backpack. I say the most recent version because I plan to make more versions comma most likely to more . which I will cover in the next blog post . I will explain how I took the previous version and altered the panel construction to fix some of the problems I saw, how I actually constructed the backpack and it will also show the results of version three.
One of the things I wanted to add to the next version the backpack was a laptop sleeve. I didn’t want to put the laptop sleeve inside of the backpack because I wanted to make it easy to access a laptop without having to open the main compartment . This meant putting the laptop sleeve on the outside of the backpack but still needing to keep it protected from rain and dirt and things like that. I also wanted to include a liner on the inside of the backpack so that it would hide the seam construction of the outside paneling . This would give the backpack a cleaner finish and also make it look more professional. I realized that the front mesh pocket of the second version was a little too small so I increased the length of it in, basically making it the same shape and size as the main/bottom portion of the front panel of the backpack.
The front of the backpack is made up of four pieces including the front mesh pocket . I took these dimensions and transfer them over to poster board and cut those out to make templates for all the panels. This made it so that I could cut all the fabric to the right dimensions multiple times and get it right every single time. Blow you can see in the photos how I transferred the sketch Dimensions to actual scaled templates .
The most complicated part of the pattern is definitely the panel that makes up the back sides and bottom of the backpack. The reason why it is the most complicated because it creates it is all one piece . This helps reduce waste and material and save time on construction. The way that it makes up the sides and bottom and back are that I pulled the inside Corners together and sew along the edge. This turns the 2D panel into a 3D construction making up four walls of the backpack. In order to make this panel I first constructed the basic shape and needed to be with the basic dimensions and then I use Autodesk to sure that the bottom corners were the right size and dimensions in order to fit the front pattern make sure that everything was the same length so that I did not have any overlap or any bunching when I sold the two main parts together. Below is a sketch of the basic pattern shape in to the right of that is a picture of the Autodesk drawing I used to get the bottom corner geometry correct.
The inside liner was probably the easiest part of the backpack . all I needed to do was calculate the total surface area of the backpack and then design a panel that would make up half of that total surface area. I’ve been woodcut two of these panels and sew them together along the sides and the bottom leaving the top open. The shape of the inside liner had to just be the basic shape of the backpack so it had to include the tapering and then I just assumed that when I pushed it inside of the backpack it would form to the inside shape. For the liner, I used the same material as the first version of the backpack. This is a much lighter material then the outside fabric but it also has a waterproof coating. This gives the backpack another layer of waterproof material which would help ensure that minimum oyster would leak into the backpack. The sketch below shows the basic dimensions of the liner pattern. I had to cut out two of these panels and sew them together to make the full liner.
The laptop sleeve is made up of two layers with a flat style lid . The sleeve has a layer of 3D spacer mesh (for padding) that is centered on top and has a piece of fabric running underneath that is the same material as the main outside material. This panel that runs underneath is the main part of of the laptop sleeve as it actually forms the pocket at the laptop slides into. Fabric folds around the 3D spacer mesh which helps keep the laptop sleeve fully waterproof and strong. The lid of the laptop sleeve is made up of two identically shaped pieces of waterproof fabric. it overlaps the opening of the laptop sleeve creating a closure and has magnets to ensure that the lid stays closed. the sketch below shows how a laptop sleeve is constructed and how the bottom layer of the sleeve wraps around a 3D spacer mesh .
Below is a photo of all of the panels that I used to construct my backpack . there are 9 total different panels but for some of them I used multiples of the same panel shape. So the backpack is made up of 18 total panels This is not including the wedding or the cross grain ribbon that is used to clean the edges of some of the panels.
The construction of the backpack is what took up a majority of my time. This makes sense because I wanted to have a clean and professional look and I was also teaching myself how to construct backpacks while I did it. I practiced a lot by making smaller pouches in testing out different construction methods using scrap material . I use the sewing machines that are available in the idea Forge any used a high-strength nylon based thread . The following photos give a basic explanation of how I constructed the backpack. Because I get so caught up in the construction while I’m doing it, I forget to take photos of every single step. These photos show some of the parts I found to be the most frustrating steps of the construction and ones that displayed the general methods I used to construct all the panels.
To cut out the material I laid the patterns that I made from poster board onto the fabric and used a rotary cutter to cut along the perimeter of the pattern so that I could get the same shape every single time. and then arranged to all of the panels in the way that they should be sewn together this helped me figure out a strategy for assembling the backpack panels. if I needed to hold two pieces of fabric together usually longer pieces of fabric I used clips to hold the pieces together which helped so them straight.
The most frustrating part of the construction had to be wrapping the cross grain ribbon around the edges of the shoulder straps. The ribbon was so tough and it did not like curl around the edges so I had some overlap when I sewed it together. I also had to use a lot of clips to keep the ribbon wrapped around the edge of the straps. I think I use somewhere around 25 Clips around the edge of the shoulder straps when I was sewing them together.
Basically I repeat this for all the different panels over and over again and then I have a backpack.
Overall I’m really happy with the result of this version . I really like the color I use for a majority of the backpack which is a very light green with a mixture of grey which is technically called foliage on the website I bought it from. The laptop sleeve actually works really well, the magnets are so strong that I can hold the backpack upside down without the lid coming undone. The increase size of the front pocket is really nice because I can fit more stuff in there like I could quickly roll up a jacket and stuff and in there . However I do lose smaller items down to the bottom and I think I would like to add in a strip of non mesh material at the bottom of it just to protect like the smaller things that are at the bottom from getting like dirty or wet or just being generally exposed to the ground when I set the backpack down. I realize that the ribbon I used to clean up the edges of the shoulder straps is too stiff to wrap around the rounded corners so I need to look into getting some better material for that. The shoulder straps are also way too far apart and it’s it kind of off my shoulders which makes me want to keep shrugging them back on and it’s just not very comfortable. The liner of the backpack looks awesome I really like the hexagonal pattern of the ripstop nylon I used for it and it just gives it a really nice clean finish on the inside to not looking at all of the scenes in the construction of the outside of the backpack. Below are some photos of the finished backpack and there are some close-ups of the features that I like and some of the features that I need to improve upon.