For the past 5 months, I’ve been searching for the “perfect” pattern for a backsack/backpack. I thought I’d found one back in February, but when I made it, I found the pattern itself was flawed–I thought I’d done something wrong, so I made it again and realized it was just a poorly designed backpack that looked awkward when on. I’ve searched online free patterns, in the craft stores and never really found exactly what I wanted. Then, one night about two months ago, Josh and I were out at the bar and this woman was carrying a backsack. I didn’t know her but that’s never stopped me before–I asked if I could look at her purse. She was happy to tell me about it–turns out it was a backsack by a famous quilted purse designer whose initials are VB (I really don’t want to invite people searching for the real thing here via Google).

The design is relatively simple and I knew immediately that I could reverse engineer it. Yes, it would be easier to go buy one, though they are awfully expensive, but I have some special fabric that I got six months ago for the express purpose of making a backsack as a gift. No, this is not the fabric, this is my test purse. So once I knew there was a design out there that I could work with, all I had to do was go to a store that sold them, take my camera, and snap a bunch of pictures for reference. And so I did.

Truly, I love it! The hardest part was figuring out the straps–specifically how to cover the straps. I’m still not convinced I did it the best way, and I wonder how to go about covering a smaller cording. If anyone has any hints for cover cording for purses/backsacks (it’s different to cover piping/cording for pillows and furniture, because you want to leave a lip for sewing into the piece of furniture. You don’t want that for purses, you want the seams smooth).

I had to have my husband put in the eyelets, because I tried the first one and didn’t have it on a hard enough surface. But other than that, this was very, very easy to piece together. Really, the cords themselves are the only difficult thing.

On the inside, there’s four pockets on one side of the backsack (I have to use it to figure out if I placed them on the right side, or if they should go on the opposite side of the bag). Like the VB version, there’s also a zipper pocket in the outside front. The third picture shows where it is, with the wallet hanging out. I used 7 fat quarters of fabric–I used the fat quarters because I have a bunch of funky material in fat quarters. Otherwise it would use maybe a yard and a half to two yards of fabric, depending on how you laid out your pieces.

As far as I can tell, from carrying it around the house with a metal paper towel holder, complete with a roll of paper towels (to give you an idea of how big it is), it’s comfortable. I’m going to use it on my trip this weekend, carry it around and see if I need any adjustments before I attempt one with the special fabric.

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