Saturday, 1 October 2016

Mummy made retro-style school bag

My daughter came home from school one day and announced that she wanted a mummy made school bag. Anyone would have thought that this was a straightforward request, given the nature of what I do. Then the specifications came rolling out. I realised she had a long time to think about this request before she came to me. Cheeky. And cunning. So the details of her specifications are as follows :
1) Must be able to fit an A4 ring binder.
2) Could accommodate an A4 cardboard folder (which I found to be an inch and a half longer than A4 ring binders, did you know that?)  
3) Her Smiggle double up hardtop pencil case must be able to sit comfortably in it.
4) Must also be able to fit a water bottle.
5) And when she has her music lessons, she has to fit her collection of music books - A grade book, a theory book, a sight reading book, a scales and appreggios book.
5) And a separate section to fit her Tom Gates book.


Having had a look around my workshop to see what I have and what I could use, I came up with the idea of a retro-style rucksack, using all the bright coloured faux leather I have in stock. My initial sketch was for a bag measuring 15.5 inches tall x 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep. I thought this is big enough to fit all the above, but not too big that it would make her look like a turtle carrying a  shell on her back.

The faux leather I have in stock were actually really scrummy and reminded me of M&Ms, which is what we end up naming the bag ; The Candy Bag. They also have this wonderful texture on them which gives them an added dimension instead of a normal, boring flat surface. 

Making the rucksack was no mean feat. This bag was made specifically for her which means I needed to get the measurements right, not just for the items she'll be carrying, but also for the size of her little figure. The straps needed to be a perfect length so she has the option to tighten or loosen them for good support, to avoid damaging her back. Also, given the amount of things she would be travelling with, I wanted the straps to be wide and comfortable so they wouldn't cut on her shoulders. They ended up measuring 3 inches wide at the top where they sit on her shoulders. I also padded them for extra comfort. The D rings are added on either side of the bag which work really well as zipper pull support and a place she can attach her key ring collection.

It took me about 4 days, from drafting the pattern to finishing the bag. Personally, that was quite a long time to complete a project.

I also added a loop at the top of the bag, just in case she ever needed to hang the bag on her peg.

The shoulder strap is extendable by adjusting the dark brown webbing added at the bottom of the bag. Using dark brown accentuates the theme of the bag even more.

Now this is my most favourite bit - the vibrant, multi coloured star lining. It is just the most gorgeous print and perfect for this project. The stars echo most of the colours from the main outer materials, as if they were all made for each other. I added the internal slip pocket for her Tom Gates' book. As requested.

Overall, the bag turned out a success. However, it would take sometime before I could replicate this bag. There are a few niggly bits that need to be perfected and I am working very hard to tackle those issues. But even if the bag wasn't 100% perfect, my little girl was ecstatic with it. And that to me, is all that matters.

Hope you enjoy this post. Have a fabulous weeekend ahead.

Fely xxx

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