I always spend the last couple of days before our summer holidays trying to get everything ready.
As much as I love travelling, packaging is an entirely different story. Especially, when I also have to pack for 3 kids and make sure they take a small amount of toys/books to amuse themselves during the journey.
This year, I was considering making small backpacks for my younger kids (so helpful for those long car journeys and for exploring a different city), when Virginia from Gingercake patterns asked me if I was willing to sew her new pattern: The Day Off Backpack.
I was hoping to sew two matching versions – girl and boy, but my kids weren’t very keen on having matching backpacks … Apparently these are no longer cool once you reach 1st grade 😦
Nevertheless, they loved the idea of having a new backpack to pack all their stuff for our long car journey.
The pattern itself, includes both adult and kids versions and has enough options to customize your backpacks.
Because my local fabric and haberdashery store was closed for the summer (and I was too lazy/busy to travel to another store), I decided to work with what I already had. And, luckily for me (and for them), it was exactly what we needed for these cute backpacks (with a few minor adjustments for the straps, as I had to make them simpler due to the lack of proper tools).
I’ve done other Gingercake patterns before and I can honestly recommend them. The instructions are quite detailed, including step-by-step color photographs and additional guidelines for adapting the pattern to your needs. Plus, everything I made so far looks exactly as intended (I was going to write “as expected”, but honestly they always surpass my expectations).
Overall, both backpacks took me approximately 4 hours to sew. The first version did took me longer – lots of seam ripping involved, but the second version was really a fast sewing and I had 2 kids (trying) to help me!
For the girl version, I used a liberty twill (medium-weigh) and a blue stripe canvas for the lining. The bottom is also a medium-weigh cotton and I interfaced both the bottom and the front flap (plus adding cotton batting at the bottom). The backpack closes with a drawstring and a cute button.
The boy version, was made with quilting-weight cotton (from Sarah Jane introductory collection Children at play) and the same blue stripe canvas for lining. For the bottom I selected a remnant pre-quilted cotton in baby blue (it has been previously used for a doll carrier).
For this version, I only added interface to the front flap as the bottom was already too heavy, but added a second layer of cotton batting to the bottom. I selected the same method for closing his backpack (I think a snap would look great, but I hadn’t had any available).
I’m not sure if these backpacks will be used for school as my kids already need to carry a (huge) amount of books and school supplies everyday (outrageous, I know!), but they have been carrying them for our late-afternoon strolls in the park.
Surprisingly, the backpacks do carry a huge amount of stuff.
These would be great as gifts for younger kids and I might need to test also the adult version to check the size. These were much easier to make than I had initially expected (plus, they look so professional).
Don’t they look sweet?
If you’re curious, here’s the detailed content of each backpack on the above picture (obviously, I did forget to take some pictures, but this should give you an idea):
Girl version: Medium size stuffed dog, 2 coloring books, a pack of crayons, a dog-brush and mirror (?) and a medium-size water bottle.
Boy version: Football equipment: soccer shoes, socks, shorts and tee-shirt plus a medium-size water bottle.
Earlier this year, I purchased another Gingercake pattern (The Love Your Lunch Box) but totally forgot to post about it. I really should have done it, because I loved it so much, but, as usual, I only took a few pictures and most of them were deleted when my SD card crashed a few weeks ago.
Still, I though it would be a good to share the few pictures that were left, before I totally run out of opportunity to post about these.
I followed the pattern almost exactly, but replaced the smaller strap by a longer one to be carried over the shoulder.
I made a girl (blue flowers) and a boy version (fox) and both were a major hit among my kids (and their friends). I will be using this pattern again in a few weeks when they return to school.
I did took me a while to find the proper insulating batting (I ended up ordering mine from Sewessential.uk), but I was totally worth it. These were the cutest lunch packs my kids had so far and they did withstand the entire school year (with regular weekend washings).
A word of caution: This pattern it’s not difficult at all (mainly straight lines to sew), but because there are quite a few layers to sew together, it can be quite challenging, especially if you don’t own a walking foot (like me!!).
xoxo, Ana Sofia