It’s November and that means it’s time to make bags! We have two amazing patterns for you to choose from this month – make sure you use your exclusive Sew My Style discount code, which Meg sent out in the newsletter on October 15th. You can use them right up to November 30th.
One great thing about bags is that you don’t have to fit them, so you can make one (or twenty-three) for yourself, but they also make perfect gifts… and you know what’s coming up next month… I personally plan to make at least two as festive gifts for people in my family, and I love the fact that they’re both rucksack designs that can really be adapted for anyone, anywhere!
Alright, let’s take a look at the two patterns, and then I’ll list some ideas for where to get your supplies. If there’s one thing I know about bag-making, it’s that you want your supplies laid out before you sew. There is nothing more frustrating than getting towards the end of a bag sew and realising you don’t have five copper 6-inch D-rings, or whatever, and having to spend three days tracking them down. Gah! Neither of our patterns use crazy hardware, which is great, but it still helps to have it all sorted (or at least on its way to you) by your first stitch – just take my word for it!
This perfect little rucksack comes from the same designer who recently launched the Fennel Fanny Pack that everyone seemed to be making earlier this year. The first thing to know is that it comes in two sizes and so you can make an adorable set for everyone in the family, should you be so inclined. Alternatively, you can just use the two sizes for different purposes: the large as a gym bag or work bag; the small as an everyday bag.
As you can see, the Raspberry Rucksack has a cuboid profile and, believe me, it can hold a lot! That extra width down the full length of the bag really makes a difference and there is a sizeable front pop-up pocket.
The dimensions are (height x width x depth):
9 ¼” x 7 ¼” x 4 ¾”
23.5 x 18.4 x 12.1 cm
13 ¼” x 10 ¼” x 5 ¼”
33.7 x 26 x 13.3 cm
- The main note for this is that one of the pieces for the larger rucksack is 46.5″, so your fabric needs to be wider than the 44/45″ standard width for wovens if you want to cut it in one piece. This is particularly important if you want to use a directional fabric and match the pattern. For my lining, I pieced my fabric since no-one was going to be paying close attention to the join anyway…
- The Raspberry Rucksack does not have pattern pieces, but instead the dimensions of your pieces, since they are all regular shapes. The beauty of this approach is that you save all the printing paper and pdf-sticking time, but make sure you have a ruler handy to measure out the pieces. A quilting ruler, like the 6″ x 24″ one you see everywhere is really useful, although not essential, for getting accurate measurements.
The Desmond Backpack has a lengthier profile than the Raspberry and is big enough for all of your essentials, but small enough to use as an airplane carry-on. It’s an unstructured bag with a roll top closure, zipper pocket on the front for smaller items, and two slip pockets on the sides. The pack is fully lined with additional open top pockets on the inside.
Finished pack dimensions: 16.5″ tall, 11.5″ wide, 5″ deep.
- This bag has pattern pieces as they’re not all regular shapes and there’s a super-detailed step-by-step sewalong available too, which really helps!
- The Desmond uses more hardware pieces than the Raspberry, but they’re all easily available – and if you’re in love with the hardware from the official pattern sample, you can buy the accoutrements as a kit! (see supplies section)
Bag supplies are one of those things that sometimes need a little planning ahead. There are plenty of resources out there, but it’s unlikely you can just stop by your local shop and pick up the perfect hardware to match your dayglo orange rucksack.
So here are a few resources to get you started that come recommended by Sew my Style Team Members, but if you know of any other great supply stores, please comment in the notes and I’ll add them to the list!
First of all, I must mention the most simple solution if you’re making the Desmond Roll Top Backpack this month – and that is to buy the hardware from the designer himself! TaylorTailor is offering hardware packs in black or navy, both with and without webbing and/or zippers. Job done!
However, for many people, choosing individual hardware is just as much fun as deciding on the fabric to make the rucksack. Where can you find the hardware? (I’m not going to discuss fabric in this post, since I think most of us have a good idea of fabric resources. Way too good an idea in my case, heh.)
Most of us have a department/big craft store of some description nearby: Joann Fabrics and Michaels in the US, or Hobbycraft in the UK, etc. and you can definitely buy the basics there: most of these places should have zippers, D-rings and grommets, for example. Sometimes though, you can get a good range of bag supplies in other stores:
- Your local fabric store probably has most of the basics, if not a huge range.
- Check if you have any outdoor or recreational shops nearby. Here in Seattle we have Seattle Fabrics, which deals in all sorts of fabric and hardware for exclusively outdoor pursuits, so they have a HUGE range of snaps, cords, webbing, d-rings, O-rings, clips and so on. It’s a great resource!
- A leather or saddling store is another potential source if you’d like to finish your bags with leather strapping and handles. Tandy Leather is an example of a good resource in the US.
While it’s handy to have local suppliers in your pocket, it’s more likely that most of us will shop online for bag hardware at some point. Etsy is the number one place to find all sorts of goods and we’ve listed a few popular Etsy picks, as well as some favourite team general online stores:
Bagmaker Supply: Zippers, metal hardware, snaps and clips. Based in Chicago, US; ships internationally
ByAnnie.com: Many bag-specific zippers, metal hardware, strapping, clips and snaps. Based in US, ships internationally
Wawak.com: Well-known online store with zippers, grommets, snaps, etc. US and Canada
Sewing Supplies: Bag-specific kits, webbing and trims, buckles, snaps, fasteners, misc. hardware US only
Strapworks: Tons of strapping and webbing! Also buckles and d-rings, metal hardware. Based in US, ships internationally
Pacific Trimming: Well-known New York store with large, quality range of everything bag-related. Zippers, hardware, webbing, handles, etc. Based in US, ships internationally.
Klum House: Curated selection of leather bag supplies, rivets, zippers and clips. Based in US, ships internationally.
Zipit: Zips, zips, zips! Etsy store offering all sorts of zippers. Based in US, ships internationally
Zipper Source: Specialist store making custom zippers. Based in US.
Emmaline Bags: A one-stop shop for all things bag-related. Zippers, webbing, hardware and strapping. Based in Canada, ships internationally.
MacCulloch and Wallis: Long-established London store with extensive selection of strapping/webbing, hooks, rings, zippers and other assorted hardware. Based in UK.
Merchant and Mills: Beautiful webbings and some metal hardware (also waxed canvas etc.) Based in UK, ships internationally.
Minerva Crafts: Large online store with all manner of bag-making hardware, zippers, webbing, etc. Based in the UK, ships internationally (good international rates)
Empress Mills: Zippers, bag supplies including d-rings, bag straps and studs. Based in the UK, ships internationally.
The Village Haberdashery: Lots of lovely webbing, as well as hardware, zippers, and more. Based in the UK, ships internationally
Rascol: A French one-stop shop: webbing, metal hardware, zippers – they have it all! Based in France, ships to Europe, US and Canada.
Stoklasa: Large online craft store, with webbing, hardware and zippers. Based in Czech Republic, ships internationally.
Australia (thanks to Florence MC for the local knowledge :))
Betty Box Pleat: Great selection of everything you’ll need: zippers, hardware, webbing, etc. Ships to Australia only.
Sew Creative Supplies: Super selection of metal hardware for bagmaking, as well as bag patterns and kits. Will ship internationally
Voodoo Rabbit: Large range of bag hardware, webbing and zippers as well as specialist materials like mesh from By Annie. Will ship internationally
Studio Mio: Dedicated bag-making store, with everything from fabric to handles, webbing, hardware and more. Will ship internationally.
In general, searching Etsy is always an idea, as there are tons of small suppliers around with lots of goods. In my opinion, some of the larger/better-known stores tend to have better selections, but perhaps Etsy is slightly cheaper. Have a hunt around and let us know if you find any good sources!
Hopefully, this should get you started on your bag-making odyssey! Don’t forget to stay tuned to the FB and IG pages to check out more posts coming up from the team, including an inspiration post, a Bagmaking 101 post and, of course, some cool hack ideas. Have fun!