KLB Backpack

About 5-7 years ago, I made a bag for one of my really good friends, Kristie. At the time, she was cosplaying Kobato. She was fairly new to cosplaying and was struggling to complete her cosplay. Her birthday is the day before mine and we were going to spend the weekend of together. I decided that for her birthday gift I would make her Kobato’s bag.

A few years later, the bag was wearing thin so Kristie – now in grad school – wanted a new bag. She actually had a bag in mind, modeled off a character in some anime; to be honest, I can’t remember because at the same time I had waned out of the anime fandom. But it was a basic black cross body bag with interior pockets. I remember using a pretty Japanese-esque cotton print for the inside.

Fast forward to present day. Kristie is now living and working in Japan. She contacts me via text to ask for a 3rd bag since the 2nd is on its last legs. Only this time she was even more specific. She wanted a backpack like Marinette’s from Miraculous Ladybug.

A backpack?!

She needed a backpack since it was more convenient to wear one while biking to work. I’ve made a number of bags in my life but never a backpack. It was going to be a challenge. Kristie did tell me that if it was impossible so just make the bag a cross body. But no, the perfectionist costumer in me was DETERMINED. So I set out to make a backpack.

It was not an easy task, and I spent many moments huffing and snarling at my machine for not wanting to cooperate. I also did what I promised I would never do after Elsa: hand embroidery. Last time I stubbornly hand embroider satin, this time duck canvas.

Knowing that this bag was primarily going to be used to carry the textbooks Kristie uses in her classes, I needed to find a fabric stronger than the bottom weight twill I used in previous bags. Duck canvas seemed to be a good fabric to use. It’s sturdy and almost waterproof on its own. The only downside is it was thick and would require heavyweight thread and needles.

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To make the bag unique, I added some hand embroidered details on the front with Kristie’s initials and a free form flower and swirl design. I couldn’t replicate Mari’s design on her bag without the use of applique or an embroidery machine so I did my best approximation.

For the record, embroidering duck canvas is 50 times worse. My fingers were aching after only an hour of simple stitching. But it’s pretty, and I’ll do just about anything for family and good friends.

To reinforce the canvas and give the bag its distinct shape, I used heavyweight Pellon interfacing. The interior lining was a pretty pink cotton with gold roses.

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When making such bags, I pretty much free form everything. The bag is roughly 14 inches wide, 10 inches tall, and 4 inches thick. It has a front flap with hand embroidered initials and details, held closed by parachute clips and sports a handle to carry like a briefcase. The 2 inch wide shoulder straps are made from duck canvas, batting, and nylon cord with plastic sliders. The bag itself has one large exterior pocket on the front, one large interior pocket, and two smaller interior pocket. There is also a clip for keys.

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I’m quite pleased with the result but just hope it stands up to abuse. Japanese textbooks are much smaller than American textbooks but still. The only two requests I was not able to fulfill was a phone pocket (not enough fabric, I estimated just enough) and a zipper (2 layers duck canvas + 2 layers Pellon + 1 layer cotton = my machine was not happy).

The one thing I am most displeased about is my stitching where it’s visible. I try my hardest to make visible stitching as straight and as even as possible in everything. But the thickness of this just wouldn’t allow it. I adjusted my stitch length and tension so many times but nothing seemed to work. In the end, I gave up and decided function and strength outweighed pretty, straight stitches.

Currently, the bag is on its way to Japan, stuffed with post-Easter goodies. I’m really hoping Kristie likes it in person as much as she liked the photos (which, by the way, were taken hastily on my phone so I apologize for the pictures and the messy state of my sewing room).

2013 Planned Sewing and Knitting Projects

No replica posts today. I haven’t had a chance to take any photos – good or bad – since work started up again on Wednesday. Classes begin on Monday so the last few days have been a blur of meetings, professional developments, and getting things ready for class.

Instead, I am posting a list of some replicas I plan to make myself. Two of my New Year’s resolutions are to 1) spend less money and 2) sew more non-cosplay related items that I can actually wear. Here are the items I plan on making if the chance and time permits.

Hermione’s Red Dress

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Hermione wore this red number to Bill and Fleur’s wedding. It is normally not a dress I would wear myself, but I had a lot of red satin from a cosplay I never finished, and I got matching red chiffon for a good price. I already have everything I need for this one except beads, which is put on afterwards anyway. Though I don’t plan on wearing this much, it would be nice to have for any special occasion that arises.

Hermione’s Navy Blue Asymmetrical Top

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This is one of the first items in Deathly Hallows I absolutely loved. The only problem is I haven’t been able to find the proper knit fabric. I am still looking but haven’t found anything so far.

Bella Cullen’s Blue Transformation Dress

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I actually want to try to make the movie version and the book version. The movie version is something I could probably wear to work and on special occasions. The book version is described as ice blue dupioni, which is an expensive fabric, so that will be more of a special occasion dress. The book version is also going to take more time to figure out since it isn’t really described.

I actually want to make a lot of Bella’s vampire wardrobe. Human Bella’s wardrobe is more my style, but I love vampire Bella’s style and darker, more subtle colors. I just wish my body was more to my liking to fit the style.

Bilbo Baggins’ Backpack

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My Tolkien fan side is being aroused again with the release of the Hobbit. One of things I really want is Bilbo’s backpack that he carried up until the goblin capture.  I can’t make an exact replica unfortunately.  I’ve been having difficulty finding buckles that are similar without having to get them custom made, which will be expensive since they require molding/sculpting and casting (not to mention I’ll need at least 5 of them in 3 different sizes).  Also, I believe Bilbo’s backpack was made of leather/suede but the most my machine can handle is suede like upholstery fabric (and that can get pricey as well).

I am also planning a messenger style version as an alternate since I much prefer messenger bags.

Dr. John Watson’s Jumper/Sweater

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My fascination with BBC’s Sherlock and Martin Freeman’s portrayal of Dr. John Watson had me scouring the net or anything related to the series I could find.  Alas there is no official merchandise, and since Sherlock and John are both men I can’t purchase their clothing replicas.  But John’s sweaters (jumpers on the UK) seem to have become popular with the knitters on Ravelry.  This is on my list of knitting projects once my current queue of four sweaters is finished.

Hermione’s Phoenix Stripe Sweater

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Currently I have two replica knitting projects on needles.  I’ve been working on them since October and am only about halfway finished.  I knit slowly and then got busy with work and generally lazy over the winter break.  Now I’m trying to finish them before beginning anymore projects, or buying anymore yarn.  One of the two sweaters is Hermione’s striped sweater from Order of the Phoenix. I am using this pattern on Ravelry and Swish DK yarn from Knit Picks.  Currently the back and 1/3 of the front is finished.

Hermione’s Deathly Hallows Fair Isle Cardigan Sweater

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This was the sweater that got me into knitting in the first place.  This sweater has been quite the feat.  I had to restart it twice since the first time my fair isle stranding was horrible.  I am about halfway done with the body (the hood and fair isle yoke are done) before I begin the sleeves and pockets.  I am using this pattern and Wool of the Andes Worsted weight yarn.  It has a positive stretch so it is a little bigger than I wanted but not overly so.

I have already knitted the scarf that Hermione wears in the above picture I will need to remember to post.  I may also knit Harry’s sweater if I can ever find a pattern.

It is going to be a busy sewing/knitting year.