Desmond Backpack


Over the past couple of years I've made exactly *zero* Christmas presents for family and friends and during that time I felt exactly *zero* guilt for choosing to do so.  More than anything, it's the pressure associated with holiday sewing that turns me off.  The idea that everything must be perfect (which is NOT how I usually sew) and that it has to be done by a certain time makes it more trouble than it's often worth.  I mean, life has enough actual deadlines.  Why add arbitrary ones on top of that?

But this year I got an early start on sewing presents, which is a good thing because I had to make this one twice in order to get it perfect (or as perfect as my sewing will ever be).  I present to you the Desmond Backpack - a pattern by TaylorTailor.  

Now, let's talk about my first version and what I learned from that little foray into sewing mistakes (full disclosure: the only bag I ended up photographing is my second version).

First, I learned that the sew-a-long on TaylorTailor is amazing so if you're thinking of making this pattern, definitely use that as a resource (in fact, I never actually used the instructions - just the sew-a-long).

Second, I learned to pay attention, because in finishing my first bag I realized that I sewed the straps on upside down so that the pretty webbing design feature on the straps ended up on the underside, leaving some not-so-pretty visible stitching on the outside.  And with all the heavy duty extra stitching that you do in making this backpack, there was no way that I was ripping anything out.  In the end I sewed a cute little square that covered the ugly stitching, but I was still pretty annoyed with myself.

Third, my first version was also in waxed canvas and I learned how finicky this fabric can be when it comes to ironing.  There were times when even with a low-heat iron and a pressing cloth, the iron still left permanent marks on the fabric so for round number 2 I mostly just finger pressed seams.

And lastly, I learned function over beauty because for version number one I used cotton webbing simply because I liked the look of it better but it really doesn't feel as substantial as a backpack should and I wish I would have used the nylon stuff the first time around (plus, burning the edges is really fun).

Okay, now on to version number two - with the exterior made from a beautiful waxed canvas and the  lining made from Monstera Canvas by Cotton + Steel.  The waxed canvas is the green color way but to say that the color is subtle would be an understatement.  It's really quite hard to see any green in it.  It probably looks more gray than anything.  Both were purchased from Fancy Tiger Crafts, which may or may not be my new on-line guilty pleasure.

Both times around I bought the entire hardware set from Taylor Tailor.  The quality is great and it's  nice not to have to hunt around for all the odds and ends you need to make the bag.  I opted to add padding in the form of quilt batting to the straps which made turning them a complete and total pain in the butt, but was well worth it in the end for a little extra comfort.  I also paid attention and actually sewed the straps on right side up the second time around.  Gold star for me.

Now for the controversial part - to roll the top forward or backward.  As a biker and a lover of roll top bags, Ben swears that you're supposed to roll them backward for maximum effectiveness but I say roll whichever way suits your fancy.  In fact, that's my general life philosophy for the most part.

You do you.

(Also, an extra-special thank you to Ben who was not actually the recipient of the bag.  He just so happens to be the most willing, available model.  Thanks, Ben!)

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