A few weekends ago, while my boyfriend was out of town, I spent time sewing a muslin of the Colette Cooper backpack. I'm going to make one for him in the next month or so, but I wanted to give it a run through to see where I could make it special for him and how it all comes together.
And it came together beautifully, if I do say so myself.
Top view - check out that sweet flap action!
This is the first indie pattern I've ever really used. I have a sale-related addiction to the Big 4 (or 5? I really like Burda, but it's really just 2 companies in the end, McCall and Simplicity.) which I am now seeing the light of the wonder of getting so much more and helping someone grow their business.
The instructions were so easy, it felt comfortable and helped me ease myself back into pattern sewing. (I bought the Crepe pattern at the same time, so I look forward to being guided through a pretty little wrap dress as well.)
I also got suuuuuper friendly with my new pal, the edge stitching foot. I know I need to work on the straightness of my edge stitching/top stitching, but I knew this was a muslin just for me so I didn't mind at all that things were a little wobbly/speedily done. I'm the only one who's going to be paying any kind of attention to it. I know I'm going to be more smooth, slow and attentive on my next sewing mission through this.
Flap open - it's got a few nice little pockets hidden under there. I placed a bright red bird for interest.
My one main goof on this was buying 1-1/2" wide nylon webbing for the straps. It was a last-minute run on a Sunday (when all the fabric shops in Philadelphia are closed, save one which is only going to be open a couple more Sundays..) and I forgot how smart the indication of "cotton webbing" was. (And a smaller width, too - the 1 1/2" is pretty unwieldy on a tiny person such as myself!) The straps are really uncomfortable now. Hopefully they wear out a little bit and get more comfortable, but I'll probably just end up making little matching pads to put on them.
The handle and two straps in in the back, and a duck with weird feet
I was going to go and purchase actual muslin to do this in, but remembered how badly I need to cut back on my fabric stash, so I went shopping back in there and found this bolt of cute IKEA fabric, called Barnslig. I know I must've bought in on clearance/as-is or something, but they sell decently sized mini-bolts (I think they're about 5 yards, by my calculation. I may have picked up another one last weekend while out shopping for nothing... I think it's going to be a cute dress.) in these interesting prints. I'm pretty sure they're supposed to be curtains or upholstery, but I'm one of those people who hasn't learned better than shopping in the quilting cottons for apparel, so.. there's that. I really love this print, so instead of using the contrast for the flap like the pattern indicates, I used the main fabric for it as well. (That, and I scrambled through my stash for just-about-enough contrast to do the bottom pieces... whoops!)
Check out this cute bear hiding in the bottom pocket!
The bottom/contrast is black taffeta that I previously used for my spaceship dress, and the lining is a red that I found. It's a little suede-y for whatever weird reason. It was in a remnants bin at a local fabric shop and had an interesting print, so I picked it up a while ago - for almost this express purpose - and forgot it existed.
Full of all the stuff you really need - knitting needles, iPhone cables, mascara...
The main fabric isn't structured at all, and I think this pattern needs a little something more than a lightweight cotton to dig into. This Cooper is floppy all over, which isn't the best. I also didn't feel like putting in the magnetic snaps, because I am lazy and it seemed a little silly at the time. (NOTE - THIS WAS A HUGE MISTAKE. I am now holding it together with safety pins when I over-stuff it, which may or may not be frequently when I use it. This is not attractive or super-great for the fabric.) The flap does still keep the top of the backpack covered most of the time, but it's not secure at all. The taffeta gives it a nice sturdy bottom, though I'm sure it'll end up getting all kinds of nicked-up and dirty soon enough.
I'm really proud of this, and it's exciting to start making beautiful and quality pieces again. It's building up my confidence to try new things soon - like sewing knits, and working with quality fabrics instead of weird novelty prints. (I do have like 5 yards of this AMAZING black fabric with cougar heads all over it, though... that's going to make something absurd.) My fingers are itching to make more things and do it all well, because that little extra time I took to finish this (and the little bit more time than that I know I need to work on taking in the future) really made the difference.