Welcome to day three of the Adventure Time Backpack Sew Along. How great is your bag looking already!!! I swear I spent about an hour just opening and closing that front zipper, basking in its awesomeness.
To recap on where we at, visit the previous blog posts:
Today we will be looking at:
- Creating your back gusset (Pages 9 & 10)
- Creating your outer side pockets (Pages 10 & 11)
- Creating your back outer panel (Page 12)
- Creating your straps (Pages 12, 13 & 14)
- Creating your strap connector (Page 14)
- Creating your hanging loop (Pages 14 & 15)
- Assembling your back panel (Page 15)
You will need:
- The Adventure Time Backpack pattern
- Pattern pieces:
- Back gusset – outer (with foam/fleece basted)
- Contrast panel – sides
- Back gusset – outer (zipper tab)
- Fleece or foam for the back gusset outer – assembled ends
- I leave this uncut for now and use the pieced panel to cut the foam to size when required.
- Outer side pocket
- Outer side pocket – casing
- Back panel – outer
- Contrast panel – back
- Fleece or foam for the back panel
- I leave this uncut for now and use the pieced panel to cut the foam to size when it is required.
- Strap connectors
- Hanging loop
- Hanging loop – interfacing
- Long pull zipper
- 1/4” Elastic
- Strap adjusters
- String, ribbon or something else long to help turn the straps (see step 32 on page 13)
- Scissors/Pinking shears
- Sewing tools of your choice (pins, clips, etc.).
As you can see today is a big day, so let’s tackle this elephant one bite at a time.
Creating your back gusset (Pages 9 & 10)
The back gusset is a fairly straight forward zipper installation (phew!). Here are a few tips to help make it a smooth process:
- If you are using foam, it’s crucial that you followed the note on page 5 and trimmed off 1/4” of foam before basting it to the back gusset – outer. This will prevent the zipper seam from becoming bulky and makes it much easier to sew.
- Pay close attention to which way your fabric and zipper are facing. It can be easy to get turned around and end up twisting the zipper.
- Keep the zipper pull well out of the way. You will most likely have enough length on the zipper tape to just dangle the pull off an end, away from the back gusset – outer pieces. If not, be sure to stop with the needle down, raise the presser foot, and shimmy that zipper pull out of the way before proceeding to sew. This is particularly important if you want a neat topstitch.
- If you have an open ended zipper, you can pull the zipper completely apart and stitch the two halves separately. Take care when stitching the second half though. You will want to quadruple check that you are stitching to the correct side else you’ll end up on a big ol’ date with Mr Seam Ripper (ask me how I know this).
- Aim to have the two back gusset – outer pieces square and in line with each other once stitched to the zip. This will make adding the contrast pieces a much neater process.
Creating your outer side pockets (Pages 10 & 11)
I really love the side pockets on the backpack. They’re such a simple addition to make the bag look so professional. My daughter also thinks that they’re magic because they hold her drink bottle…so there’s that.
I used mesh for my pockets, because I seem to have a twelve year supply here. I can see how the pocket would be equally as awesome in knit fabric though.
To start creating the pocket, you need to add the outer side pocket – casing piece to the folded outer side pocket. This is no different to how you would attach bias binding to an edge (even though the casing piece is not actually cut on the bias). For detailed steps on doing this, check out the Finish Edges with Bias Quick Reference Sheet.
I did find the pleats a little fiddly in the mesh as it was difficult to clearly mark the placement points. In fact, I pretty much just used the measurements as a guide and fudged it around until it looked right (I’m such a rebel). Pins really helped here.
When it comes time to feed the elastic through the casing, secure a safety pin or bodkin to the elastic. It makes threading so much easier as it gives you something solid to push through the fabric.
Finally, when basting the sides of the pocket in place, I found it easier to start at the bottom and work my way up the elastic. It’s like my machine needed a run up or something, because he had a right hissy fit when I tried to start at the elastic. He is quite the temperamental little guy.
Creating your back outer panel (Page 12)
This part is so simple I don’t even have any hints for you. It’s like the intermission in our sewing drama (or should that be comedy?).
Creating your straps (Pages 12, 13 & 14)
The straps for the backpack are just delightful. I love the effort Lisa has put in to make them comfortable.
Here are some important points to take note of when creating your straps:
- Make sure the adjuster is the right way around. Luckily, Lisa has included a detailed note about this.
- Don’t forget to add ribbon/string to the adjuster before sewing the strap pieces together, else you will find yourself inventing some remarkable new curse words. Make sure the ribbon is well and truly out of the way when sewing, and you want to see it hanging from the end. You will use this to help turn the strap the right way out.
- Sew slowly around the bottom of the strap and make sure the adjuster isn’t getting in the way of your presser foot.
Creating your strap connector (Page 14), Creating your hanging loop (Pages 14 & 15) and Assembling your back panel (Page 15)
The remaining tasks for today are all fairly straight forward and detailed clearly in the pattern. My main tip is to read, re-read, and re-re-read the instructions. Avoid taking shortcuts or skipping over steps. I can assure you that there is method to Lisa’s madness so, if any area has you thinking ‘huh?’ be sure to check in the Andrie Designs Facebook group before proceeding.
Finally, when assembling the back panel, make sure all of your pieces are facing the right way. Double and triple check the direction of the straps, the hanging loop placement, and the strap connectors. Use the diagram on page 15 as a reference. If your back doesn’t look like this, unpick and try again. You want this piece to be perfect before we meet again and start putting it all together.
WOW. What day. It was a huge information overload, I know, but you will now have a collection of pieces that are starting to resemble a very cool backpack. On Monday, 4 July 2016, we will be joining all of these pieces together to complete the outer bag. It’ll be a very exciting day as you finally see it taking shape.
Remember to post any questions, photos, hints and tips, or encouragement in the Andrie Designs Facebook group.