Today I added another notch in my sewing belt--I successfully created a pattern for a toddler backpack and finished it! It was my very first time to use interfacing and to sew a zipper. I have restored faith in myself that I can actually sew more than just straight lines (or almost-straight lines). I took pics along the way to share with you....and if it didn't turn out then I would have deleted them all! HA.
I started off by looking at several different types and styles of toddler backpacks on the internet. Some had flap closure, some had drawstring, some had button.....some had a zipper like this but were lined on the inside with another zippered pocket. The cutest one I saw was a pattern to buy for $8 and I am too cheap for that. I found another one that was also cute but the pattern was soooo involved I got lost in the details--as usual.
I thought, you know what? It basically just has 3 pieces and they all pretty much go together the same way. Why can't I just draw up my own pattern? Worst case scenario I would have to buy some more interfacing. So I got to it!
I knew I wanted interfacing to make it stiffer, and I knew I wanted another layer of fabric on the inside to cover the interfacing and make it look more finished. I decided on the blue robot fabric for the front panel and for the zipper piece. The red is the back panel and the bottom piece. All of the green is my liner. I cut out all of my pieces and fused interfacing onto the bottom piece, the front panel and the back panel. I also decided to make a small simple pocket on the inside (the blue square on the green piece).
^^^^^Is this not the cutest robot fabric ever????
Here is the perfect robot ribbon I found at Hobby Lobby. I chose to use this for accent and for the straps.
Here is the big part I was worried about--the zipper! Almost every newby sewer has a fear of zippers. Why? I don't know. They are intimidating. I have heard stories of needles breaking....and I've always wondered how do you make it the length you need? Well today I laid those fears to rest and conquered the zipper! There are several techniques to sewing one in, but the way I did it is cut my fabric in half lengthwise where the zipper would go, then sew each side (right sides together=RST) onto the zipper, then topstitch with coordinating thread. Done!
At the last minute I decided to sew a strip of the ribbon midline along the bottom piece. It turned out perfect! Finally I could sew the ends of the bottom piece and zipper piece together to make a loop.
Next I took that loop and matched it up to the front panel (RST) and pinned all the way around. I did have make an adjustment to shorten the length of the bottom piece about an inch on each side. Better too much fabric than not enough! After you pin the crap out of it, carefully sew with a straight stitch. Go back and zigzag the edge (or use a serger).
Before you sew on the back panel you have to get your straps ready to go. Turn it right side out then pin your straps where you want them on the top and bottom. I did a handle as well as shoulder straps. I went ahead and sewed them on just so they wouldn't move around while I was sewing on the back panel.
After that you turn it inside out and tuck ALL straps inside the project or else you will sew over them and mess everything up! No I didn't do that, but I have done it before when making baby shoes. Prepare your back panel for pinning (RST) and pin the crap out of it. Sew!
*****VERY IMPORTANT****** Leave your zipper unzipped a few inches before you sew all the way around. Otherwise you will sew it shut and never be able to turn it right side out! I almost did this but thank you baby Jesus that I had left a little gap in the zipper.
Tada! Turn right side out and poke out your curves and corners. You are done! You can either make your shoulder straps one piece, or you can make it two pieces and use a D-ring or backpack strap to make it adjustable. I am going to use a D-ring....I just haven't gotten one yet.