Backpack (intermediate 2)

I’ve been diligently working on the backpack for a while now. Before starting the embroidery (results here) I managed to close the straps, by attaching the front to the back with an overcast stitch, where I attempted to keep the stitches straight and not angled. After finishing the embroidery I overcast the flap pieces together. Before starting the embroidery I had already made a welt type hole in the front for the closure that I am going to make (I just found out I made it in the wrong direction, not very clever of me, but this way will probably work too). So now I have straps and a flap. If you look closely you can see the stitches.

Backpack back Backpack strap

The straps are connected to the bottom with ribbon. Therefore, they can be tied and retied if the backpack needs to be adjusted. I don’t know yet if this will actually work, but hopefully I’ll see during the April 11-13 road test. Below you see the backpack with the straps attached.

Backpack straps

The straps were based of a backpack that I really like the straps of. So I just copied them and cut them out in the skai leather. Then I cut them in something resembling fake suede. The fake suede was stitched (by machine) right sides together to a piece of flannel and a bit of batting was put inside such that the straps would be comfortable. It was then turned inside out and overcast to the skai bits. I think it turned out quite well.

Now on the the last couple of steps.

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Backpack (intermediate 1)

I’ve been working on my backpack since I previously mentioned it (here). I sadly did not finish it by the time I wanted to use it for a Larp special, which was the 15th of March. However, during that special something happened that made me rethink the pack a little, more on that later. The day of and on the way to the special I had been working furiously on the bag. I managed to get the straps on, although the fronts were not sewn to the backs yet. I added the flap in its two parts (front and back). I sort of sewed the lining in. It clearly was not finished yet.

During the special, I found out that they wanted me to become a priest (I did not want that, but they made me anyway). So I figured I’ll embroider a raven (the symbol of the god I was to be a priest of) on the flap. Luckily I had not yet closed the front and back of the flap, so I could easily embroider something on the back. I did a quick Google search, found a magnificent picture and decided that this was so much for personal use that I could use it. On the left you see the original, click it for the link to the source. On the right is my embroidery.

raven_eyes_by_sauceoftheboot-d4lgnq7OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometime before starting this piece I read a blog post about filling in embroidery using long and short stitches (here), to be able to create directional embroidery. It’s not as clear but I know I’ve used it and I think it works a lot better than stitching willy nilly, which I used to do before.

So on with the rest of the bag. I’m getting there!! The new deadline is the 11th of April. I hope I’ll manage.

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Backpack beginnings

As you might now, I wander around a larp field sometimes in a skirt with a lot of pockets (here). Since I also stuff those pockets, at the end of an event my hips are usually not very happy with me. The skirt is heavy and difficult to manoeuver in. So I figured I’d make myself a larp backpack, ages ago. I started well, creating a pinterest board with inspiration for a backpack. Some of the pins are shown below. (Click the picture for the link.)


That’s were my plans ended. However, Friday, after I had a meeting with my orthodontist (I hate my teeth), my plans were put back in motion. This is because I went to the thrift store where I found some nice blueish/blackish fake leather and strong light linnenish fabric. I spent the night drawing my new backpack, which will be a combination between the top left pin, the top right pin and the bottom right pin. See the design below (with the ‘pattern’ sketched out to scale). It’s a bit vague, but the light here is crap and the drawing is little. It might not end up like the sketch though, we’ll see.

Backpack Plans

Now the reason  I wanted the backpack was to be able to not overfill the pockets on my skirt. However, I figured that if I would just dump everything into the backpack, I’d never find anything again. Since I do this in real life, I have experienced searching through backpacks, but it’s not very practical, to say the least. So the light fabric was to be the lining of the pack, with a multitude of pockets again. Strips of were added to make pockets with a fold, so that they could be opened up to hold vials and such without distorting the lining shape. Other pockets were flat. I will add some more to the side that’s only got the one line of vial holders.


Well that’s where I’ve ended now. I’m planning to have it finished by Saturday but the real deadline for it is somewhere in May, so I’d better make that. I am now seriously hoping that the fake leather stuff will cooperate, I’m afraid that that will be the most difficult part.

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More Grey, Now a Francis

The reason why I’ve not been sewing as much, is that I’ve been knitting. I’ve been knitting a top down raglan sweater from a pattern with cables and a cowl. The weirdest thing is that I didn’t even lose interest for that long. I finished it within the season! One month and a half it took me to knit myself a pullover (more details on ravelry here). I’m so proud! It’s knit fully in the round. It’s actually quite warm also, with contrasting cuffs (seed stitch). I’m a little afraid of washing it, so I hope it doesn’t shrink massively. Here it is:


The ends are all finished with seed stitch, so that’s the cuffs, hem and cowl. My collar is a bit different from the pattern, probably because I didn’t switch to smaller needles. I still like the way it looks though. In contrast to the pattern I attached the bottom edge (not the hem) of the seed stitch band to the neck opening at the front, and partly at the back. The pattern stated to mattress stitch (?) the hem of the seed stitch bit to the neck.

Cuff Collar

Lastly, I chose to do some cables on the front. This was mainly because I’d be bored out of my brain with just knitting stockinette for forever after. I cabled using 4 stitches in all cables, but the centre one was split down the middle to form larger v’s and the side ones are mirrored to each other.


I hope to get a lot of wear out of this sweater. I’m wearing it while writing this and I’m quite warm and toasty, which is wonderful in wintertime.

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Fancy Grey Pants

I mentioned this project as an aside in my curtains post (here). I had made some grey pants using the pattern from my green pants (here). Sadly, when I put them on with the invisible zipper already in place, it fell off, it was that large. It was also extremely itchy so it was difficult to try on and figure out what to do. However, I had to take it in somewhere.. I decided I didn’t want to mess with the fantastic side seam zipper. So I took it in in the middle. (Note: trying on really itchy pants with pins in the crotch seam.. Super scary!)

I first had to get a lining to be able to fit the thing easily. I got that with the curtains and then managed to get my pants done. I made my own bias tape to line the pockets and belt loops. So my pants are black and grey, very wide, extremely fluid (because of the lining it feels like liquid bottom covers) and nice to wear. This is how they look:

Front Back

Here’s a close up of the zip and pocket. You can also see some of the belt loops.

Zip Pocket and beltloops

I have even more pictures of those belt loops, clearly I like them, the left is the front and the right is the back. There is a centre seam in the pant front waistband because I had to take it in and was not interested enough to cut a second front waistband. This works fine.

Front loops Back loops

Lastly, the lining (brown) and the hand sewn hem. The hem is quite wide, so I could theoretically let it out if needs be.

Lining Hem

I really like these pants (even if the proportions might not be ideal on me). I’ve worn them quite a bit since I finished them. I’m still getting used to the fluidity, but I like the fact that there are two layers. Next, I finished a sweater and you’ll get the details.

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A Leopard Earns His Band?

A friend of me asked me the other day if I wanted to help him make a jiu jitsu outfit for a stuffed toy. His friend was going to have a jiu jitsu exam not so long after and he wanted to give him a present in case he successfully completed the exam. His idea was to make a jacket for a stuffed animal with a brown belt.

First, he figured out what the favorite animal was that he needed to buy in a stuffed toy version. This turned out to be a leopard. A leopard was found, bought and delivered to his home and then he brought it to me. We (me..) decided that he was going to sew the entire jacket himself. He didn’t have much experience using a sewing machine but it all went very well.

First we started drafting a pattern for the top. It was basically me with a measuring tape, a bit of tracing paper and no fear. I looked at the way the creature itself was put together and figured out a way to make a pattern with 4 pieces. It was all stuck together with painters’ tape (one of my favourite sewing notions) and tried on the toy. It actually worked really well first time around, I only had to change the fronts a little. The leopard was not symmetrical so the pattern pieces for the front were a little different, but that made it fit fairly well.

I instructed my friend to pin the pieces on the fabric we chose and add a seam allowance of around a cm, he wanted to draw it in so he got some chalk. Then cutting it out, which went fine. Lunch! We did some practices on the sewing machine and all went well. This was followed by the most difficult part: figuring out which bits have to be sewn together. Right and wrong took some getting used to, but in the end (with some direction) it was all sewn together. Then came pressing and finishing. I cut the selvedge from a bit of brown fabric and considered the belt to be done.

Last pressing stage done, and the leopard could be dressed. We both couldn’t get over how well it worked. He also did all of it himself! This is the result:

Leopard Leopard

So, I had a fun day with a good friend, we made a present that was appreciated, I made a pattern and my friend learned to sew! All in all I think that’s a good score for a single day. What do you think?

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Pyjamas again (Part 2)

Let us continue with the second installment of Pyjamas again. The first was started here and concerned the pants of my new pyjamas. This section will cover the top and will show the full owlage at the bottom of the post.

Having never made pyjama tops I first had to figure out what I wanted. 1. Owls (that one was easy), 2. Long sleeves (otherwise cold.. brrr), 3. Wide (more room to move), 4. Buttons down the front (easy to loosen if it is too hot), 5. Buttons that would not stick out too much, 6. A pattern. Turned out that that last one was the most difficult. I ended up with two options, but for one the pattern sheet had gone.. missing. So the last option was picked.

Now, I think I could have done it a smarter way, by adding more width to the sides or something. I chose not to do that, I chose to just trace the size 42, instead of 36 and call it a day. This was the pattern used:


After tracing and fighting with the pattern placement on the fabric “I want an owl on the front and on the back”, it was all cut out. Luckily the serger still worked so I serged it all together. Then decided that the sleeves were much too wide, so I chopped about half off. Then I decided it was way and way to big in the back neck, so I took a pleat out of there, which you can see in the picture below. This solved quite a few neckline problems.


I finally added buttons, brown ones, sewed the facing down and hemmed it. The fantastic results can be found below.

Top Top back

Yes, I know it looks like a chaos of different shaped jars and things. They hold all kinds of bits and bobs that don’t fit in drawers anymore. Behind them are old computers and music things and my pattern binders. This is a corner of my sewing room, sad thing is that this is the cleaned up state. Ah well, as my auntie said (paraphrased): Projects always make a mess, if a project room is completely clean, nothing is going on. I’ve kept that in mind a bit too well I guess. Anyway, the top of the shirt actually matches, sort of at least. It’s also very neatly finished on the inside (and you can still see the owl!).

Top button Innards

Last but not least, here is the full owl compilation. Everything owl!

Owlage front Owlage back

This was the end of the Pyjamas again (short) series. See you next time for Leopard jiu-jitsu jackets! (Yes, I’m running behind-ish on posts, which is why I know what is going to happen..)



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