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OliBeli Daypack For Back To School

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Today I have another back to school post. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my son isn’t school age yet but he does love sharks and anything “mami” makes for him. This backpack was inspired by crayons and my son’s love for all things sharks. At this point of my “sewing career” I’m not focused on perfecting an item, but rather I’m focused on learning new techniques and finishing a project.

In this case, I was able to share a moment with my son were he showed interest in what I was making and was so excited to “help me”. I took the opportunity to put him on my lap and very cautiously let him feed a piece of fabric through the machine. The next day when I showed him the finished backpack, he proudly wore it to his daycare. My hope is that in the future he is inspired to use his imagination, creativity and push himself to do whatever he wants.

The moment I shared with my son reminds me of a time my dad helped me make a handbag. We used upholstery fabric and so now many years later, the fabric is falling apart but the memory I have of our time together remains with me. For many years, I proudly used my bag and now it is tucked away in my closet so I can preserve it.

Thanks to Made for Little Gents for organizing these tours because they really serve as a platform to showcase our creations and engage with other boy moms.

So, what says Back to School more than a backpack? In my pattern library I found the OliBeli Collection Backpack (affiliate link) from Ellie and Mac. I received this pattern at no cost upon completing a pattern test for the designer.

I love the finished product, but the road to getting there was bumpy. There is a lot of information on the pattern instructions so at first I was a bit overwhelmed with all the pattern pieces and supplies needed.


Here’s what you get with the pattern:

  • 2 size options backpack and daypack * I chose the daypack
  • 2 pockets
  • Fabric requirements and pattern pieces
  • Instructions with photos
  • There is a long list of supplies needed on the tutorial that I wish I would have followed:

    • glue stick for basting bias binding
    • spray adhesive to baste layers (lining + main fabric) together
    • use clips instead of pins

    There are lots of pieces that make up this pattern so the best thing to do is look at the pattern layout to guide you. Since there are two different size options for the backpacks, I would suggest to only print out the pieces for the size you intend on making. After cutting your fabric pieces, put them together as if you were working on a puzzle, to get an idea how all the pieces will fit together in the end.

    • I noticed there wasn’t a “left front pocket piece”, however, there is a “right front pocket piece”. Did I miss that? Nevertheless, the front pieces are both the same so cut two of each.
    • Also, there isn’t an “inside pocket” pattern piece so you will have to cut your own. However, the measurement given for the inside pocket seems to be bigger than the backpack. I cut a smaller pocket piece and it worked out just fine.
    • It is not clear on how to sew the front (left/right) pocket pieces, but maybe I missed that too. I wound up basting the front pocket piece to the main front piece prior to sewing the side pieces to the main fabric.

    I e-mailed the designer asking if she would accept some feedback and she graciously said yes to send it over. This is in no way a negative review, but just some thoughts I gathered along the way. I could be wrong and perhaps she can offer some suggestions, but perhaps my input can help someone else.

    I did not use any hardware suggested on the tutorial. I intended on using KAM snaps on the front pocket flat, but I forgot to and so I may get to it at some point. I used the same method used to make the handle for the loops that help adjust the straps. That worked out just fine and I didn’t have to add hardware. I simply tie the straps at the desired length and voila, we have a good fit.

    Fabric & Notions

    ALL of the fabric and notions I used for this backpack were purchased from Joann. I used duck canvas for the solid colors and a woven cotton fabric for the inside pocket, lining, straps, and pocket flap (shark fabric).

    Keep in mind that there are two zippers to be sewn, but I did not use a zipper foot for either. Again, do not be intimidated by these steps.

    If you follow me on my blog, you may remember a self drafted backpack I made last year using a YouTube tutorial. You can find that post here. That video tutorial really heled me understand how to sew the main fabric and layers and so I zoomed right through the tutorial.

    Unlike the video tutorial, this pattern instructs you to use bias tape to enclose the raw edges of the lining. I absolutely love this way of enclosing the raw edges. I really enjoyed that part, but as I approached the end, I carelessly sewed the binding on so it isn’t the best.

    The tough part about making a lined backpack is all the layers you have to sew. I’m happy to inform that no needles were broken on this project. I did however, manage to bend a needle 🙁 Since I used duck canvas, I switched to a denim needle. Another issue you may encounter is that the different layers don’t match up or have been moved with all the pinning in place. The bottom piece of the backpack wound up being too wide and so I had excess fabric that did not match up to the main piece of the front backpack panel. I cut the area I’m holding (first pic) in half and adjusted the fabric to match up the main panels then I sewed that area to enclose it. I added bias binding to hide the raw edges and proceeded to the sewing all the pieces together.

    Okay (sigh)! thanks for hanging with me to the very end of this post. I know it is a lot, but I had so many thoughts on this backpack that I just had to share. I hope you also get to share moments and make memories with the “gents” in your life!

    Back to School Boys Blog Tour hosted by Made for Little Gents

    We’re making back to school fashion fun for boys with all these makes! Check out what each contributor has made:

    Thurs. Aug. 23 | Made for Little Gents (Intro to Back to School Boys Blog Tour)
    Fri. Aug. 24 | Tenille’s Thread
    Mon. Aug. 27 | Sewing with D
    Tues. Aug. 28 | Made for Little Gents
    Wed. Aug. 29 | Custom Made by Laura
    Thurs. Aug. 30 | Sew Cute Couture by Kathy | Paisley Roots
    Fri. Aug. 31 | My Sewing Roots | Ronda B. Handmade

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