Saturday, June 30, 2012

The 'Day in the Park Backpack Tote'

For the June challenge by Abakhan Fabrics to sew for less than £15, I chose to sew bags. I had bags on the brain because I was trying to decide what to make for teacher gifts - last year I made the O+S Mother-Daughter Tote and I considered making them again as gifts this year, but instead chose to make the sew4home Roll-up Makeup Brush case.


However, I still wanted to make bags, and I picked this pattern 'A Day in the Park/Backpack Tote' (which is out of print. Edited 7th Sept - see comments for a link to the digital version). Though I was sewing within a budget, I chose this pattern as I have it in my stash, and I have used the pattern before. There are quite a few Simplicity bag patterns on the Abakhan Fabrics site, including the Lisette one that I like the look of, but I had my heart set on making the Backpack Tote. I made this bag about two years ago - that time I made a lot of changes to ensure schoolbooks would fit.

This time I made it exactly from the pattern.



I chose curtain fabric from Abakhan, and also other notions

My total came to £14.73


There are a lot of steps to this pattern especially in preparing the pockets in the lining and the straps. Though it's not particularly difficult, there is plenty sewing around curves which is made even more awkward by the layers of thick fabric. (I omitted the canvas layer because the curtain fabric heavy enough)

My only sewing tips would be in relation to sewing the side/base parts to the front and back of the bag:

  1. keep the front/back nearest the feed-dogs, and
  2. start sewing the seam half way along (centre of the base) then
  3. go back and sew the rest of the seam starting at the base again.
  4. Repeat 1 to 3 for front/back of lining

The black and silver fabric (in the picture above) has more of a drape, and even with interfacing, made a soft bag.

The fabric with the turquoise flowers is more like a denim fabric and made for a firmer bag. I haven't added buttons to the front of the bags yet because I forgot to include them in my order. The elastic for the buttons was recycled from a jacket.
The inside of the bags are lined with a check fabric also from Abakhan, and each bag has 2 inside pockets, one with a zip.

The best thing about this bag pattern is that it can be worn as a backpack or carried as a ahoulder tote. This would be very difficult to demonstrate without a model, but even with a lot of model cooperation I managed to forget to get a picture of the bags being carried as a tote.


This picture of both bags gives a slightly better idea of the bag handles and how it can be carried as a tote.

My daughter was very helpful when we were taking these pictures, and only asked that I take a picture with her Teletubby in it. Mind you, I think she had her eye on this bag as she asked me later if could she have it.

This is a great pattern, and even though it is time-consuming to make, is worth it for how it looks, and because it is so well designed.

I enjoyed sewing the bags, and the fact I could make them for just over £7 each was very, very motivating.


(The fabric and notions for these bags were chosen by me and supplied by Abakhan Fabrics, free, as part of their challenge to sew on a budget)


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  1. I also made this bag about three or four years ago. It's a lovely bag and a good pattern, but, I agree, bags are a lot of work!

    1. Karin, I don't mind too much that they are time-consuming, but the amount of interfacing, and making sure all the pieces are interfaced correctly - a 'bit' of a pain alright :-)

  2. I recently purchased this pattern but have yet to make it. I love all your versions, Angela!

    1. Thanks Cindy, I think you'll really like this pattern, but it might be an autumn/Fall project! I'm glad you like these versions - I wasn't sure of the fabric colours, they're a bit different to what I would usually pick.

  3. Ladies, I have been looking for the pattern for a while but it is nowhere to be found in The Netherlands. Could someone please make a copy for me? Sandra

    1. Hello Sandra, for copyright reasons I won't copy the pattern, but I found a link to a pattern for sale in a UK shop that I gave you. It might also,be worth checking eBay and etsy. I hope you find the pattern :-)

    2. I've been looking all over for this pattern too in the US and couldn't find it anywhere but I learned that Liesl + Co have just released this pattern again in a digital format! You can get it here.

    3. Anon - thank you so much for taking the time to leave that link. I'm delighted it's now in digital format!

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