Sunday, November 8, 2015

I am Making a New Backpack

I'm really happy with the backpack that I made for myself a year and a  half ago. But there are a few things about it that I would like to change, so I'm making a new pack.  The main problem with my old pack was actually a problem with my sewing machine.  My machine was a pile of junk and it was not heavy duty enough for the job.  Because my machine was such a broken down hunk of junk I was not able to sew my pockets into the main seams of my pack.  I had to sew all the pockets onto the outside.

That made weak spots at the top corners of every pocket.  The I had  a lot of other problems with pockets too but after many trips back to the sewing machine I have figured out a good design.  You see I did not simply sew my own backpack. I DESIGNED MY OWN BACKPACK.  I did not have a pattern to go off of, or any directions to follow and I'm not much of a seamstress   I got a "D" in home economics because I failed the sewing project.  Add to that the my sewing machine was broken and I did not even know it, it was amazing that I managed to make anything I could take hiking.

The feed dogs on my old machine were broken and I did not know that a machine was supposed to feed the fabric.  I thought it was my job to pull the fabric through the machine and this was with a machine that only had two speeds; fast and insanely fast.  When I realized that my machine was broken I took it to a shop that could not fix it.  They offered to sell me a new used machine instead.  Okay, I know what you're thinking, they were just trying to up-sell me.  But no, this shop was an honest shop.  The found and old sturdy Kenmore machine and sold it to me for what they would have charged me to repair my machine.

I think I paid them $50 for it and it was tuned up and perfect for my needs.  I'm so happy with my new sewing machine.  Sewing is actually kind of fun now.  Since then I have inherited my Mother's sewing machine but it is not as good as my old Kenmore other than the fact that it has a free arm.  So I'll keep the free arm machine for sewing clothes and the Kenmore for making backpacks.

My new backpack sewing project is going very smoothly so far.  It's going suspiciously well.  My machine is behaving and I've only had to use the ripper a couple of times.

I have cut out all the pieces and I have sewed the pockets into place.  All I have left to do is sew it all together and add a couple of finishing touches to the shoulder straps.  I anticipate that I will be able to sew it all together without too much trouble.  The parts seem to fit well, and there is lots of room for error with a backpack and a one inch seam allowance.

Here is what I have done so far.  The rest will have to wait until I get back from Kirkland.

I started by cutting out the side panels.  I used the grid mat to help me make them square

4 panels and 3 outside pockets cut out

decorative trim and loops to hold bungee cord on side panels

Two pockets that my sit pad will fit into. This part of the pack will go against my back

Pockets have been tacked into place.  Velcro loop to hold trekking poles
and green loop to hole ice axe have been added

All pockets and panels done, including loops to hold in internal pocket
I'm going to use the internal pocket from my ULA pack.
Shoulder straps are on the far right.  I need to cut the foam to go in them and
then sew them to the top of the pack and sew cord to the bottom of the pack.
I don't have the little plastic parts I need to hook the to parts of the shoulder straps
together, so I will have to buy that.

All of the material for this pack has been upcycled. Once again I am using the old rainfly from my 4 season tent for the pack body.  I'm using an old shirt to hold the sit pad and to line the back of the shoulder straps.
The black pockets are made from a huge bag that I paid $1.00 for and have already used for pockets on my current pack.  All I have bought for this project is new sewing machine needles, thread and elastic.

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