Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hard-Working Drawings

I spent many hours today working on a backpack for a customer.  I've never made one before, so I was working out processes as I went, and I like to draw as I go in order to figure things out.  This backpack needs to hold a very large journal, around 13 x 10 x 1", along with many heavy art supplies and sometimes a laptop.  It will also hold keys, wallet, an array pf pens and pencils-- sometimes lunch probably.  I incorporated some parts of the customer's beloved old backpack, such as the straps and the flap closing.  This page shows notes and drawings as I began to assemble all the pieces, moving toward finishing.

The backpack needed to be sewn inside out and then turned.  The placing of panels and hooks and flaps inside out was very confusing at first, so I rehearsed it using binder clips to hold the pieces together.  Then I drew each step to cement the images in my mind (and also for future reference).

Sewing was pretty awkward due to the bulk of the backpack.  My treadle machine seems to be able to handle anything I give it though, as long as I can pass it under the machine head without unthreading the machine or sewing my hand to the material.  After sewing, I had to turn the entire thing right side out, usually kind of a scary step, all that crumpling of material and stressing of seams.  No problems today, though, and the drawings helped me stay focused.  I did the sewing right on the first try and didn't have to rip or re-sew anything.  So on the left is the finished backpack.  The material is a really cute Lotus brand dog food bag combined with a chicken feed bag or two.  It's funky and useful I think.  And on the right is a map of the inside showing its two full width and length flat pockets as well as its cavernous middle section.

If you'd like us to make one for you, let me know!  Check out our blog at  We really enjoy special orders and new designs.


  1. Lots of great things going on there Gwen! good luck with the backpack, or maybe its done now.... bit of a challenge - what material are you making it in?

  2. Just re read that, recycled materials... looks good!

    drawings really came into their own in designing it by looks of it.