Backpack Crush!



Oh, MIchael, you may not dig the hairy forearm look, but I’m totally crushing on your hairy / fur backpack for Fall 2016.



Talk about “Love at First Sight” !!!




Even though this backpack is plastered all over MK’s website, I can’t find it for sale anywhere. NOT that I would ever be able to afford it. The closest thing I can find is a black shearling version at Saks for $798. Yes, people have that much $$$ to blow on a backpack.


My mission is to create my own version which, admittedly, is whole lot more fun. Plus, this will be my first foray into bag making.




I started collecting the materials for this project at Peter’s MPB Winter Frolic back in March. (I’m hoping for a repeat in 2017!). I purchased a half yard of faux fur at NY Elegant on W 40th St. They have a huge selection of furry delights up in the mezzanine. Their inventory truly runs from the sublime to the downright ridiculous. Don’t, however, expect to find any “bargains” here. Sometimes a splurge is in order. And somehow, having so many furs to choose from can justify the price of admission. I fell hard for this silver tipped number with a rust undercolor that’s revealed when the fabric folds. I wish you could feel how deliciously soft it is. Yummy!


I’ve gradually been collecting the other bits and pieces I’ll need. I’m going to substitute gray ultrasuede for the leather portions of the MK bag. The webbing is actually a better match than it appears in these photos. Trust me, it’s not lavender! I still need to get a grommet kit and 3/8″ grommets. I’m also reconsidering some of my hardware choices. There are lots of options out there! Swivel clips, D rings and slides, Oh MY!


I’ve also hit JoAnn’s for some interfacing and stiffening products I’m not familiar with. Pellon Shapeflex (which is a fusible stiffener for the back and bottom), and Pellon Thermolam (a fleecy fusible that I’ll pad the lining with). If anyone has experience with these please chime in!



I looked around on the Internet and Etsy and settled on this pattern. The Lucy backpack from Swoon Sewing Patterns. It has the overall shape of the MK, a drawstring top with grommets and a good sized flap. It has some features I don’t like, but those are easy to omit. I’ll configure the inside to suit my needs. Basically, a padded pocket to hold my iPad, one small zippered compartment and other open pockets for pens, checkbook, fabric swatches etc.



I picked up a remnant of upholstery tapestry for $2 at Goodwill and banged out a rough “muslin”. The directions were well illustrated and very easy to follow. Kudos to Swoon!



I poked holes in the top band to simulate grommets and threaded some SnugHug through to get the gist of the drawstring. It really helps me to work through all this in advance, especially since I’ve deviated from the pattern in places.



This is just some twill tape to simulate the straps.


Overall, I think I’m off to a good start. The bag may be just a touch on the small side, so I may lengthen it by an inch or two. The next step is to research how to work with faux fur. I hear I’ll need a good vacuum cleaner!


My sewing and blogging has really taken a backseat to the boat this summer. I’m really wanting to have the whole project wrapped up before the snow flies, but there are days when I have my doubts. Recently I’ve been making the spars (mast, boom, gaff and jib club). Basically, planing and sanding square stock into round parts. I’m pleased with the results, but can’t honestly say that any of it has been fun.


Bring on the backpack!






17 thoughts on “Backpack Crush!

  1. I can't wait to see how it goes!!! I haven't used those other products you mentioned but I have used Pellon Peltex (also available at Joann's and on their website). A layer of it would be good for the bottom of your bag.

    I agree with you, if it seems small, make it larger. My very first backpack is just too small but the last two are perfect sizes.


  2. Ikat Bag is the person to check in on. She makes bags bags bags, and has a pile of tutorials and great photos.

    I've used neoprene for the inside back/bottom support, and while it is a pleasure while I have the bag on my back, otherwise it's too floppy. I've got the Shapeflex for the next one, haven't cracked it yet. You might want wider back straps (those might bite your handsome coat shoulders a bit) but they are all so handsome together, you may have to just not overpack the bag.

    Remember to put some reinforcing in that top seam where the straps and the flap all meet. And a short carry handle across the straps will really add some usability.

    Can't wait to see your results


  3. I've been thinking that I may wrap the webbing with a wider section of padded ultrasuede where it goes over my shoulders. I do like the idea of a handle (which the MK bag has). It certainly wouldn't be hard to work it in.


  4. I've thought about making one and so I'm eager to follow your progress, especially the materials you've chosen. So far, looks great! And good luck with the boat, too.

    “I fell hard for this silver tipped number with a rust undercolor that's revealed when the fabric folds. I wish you could feel how deliciously soft it is. Yummy!”

    — heard said in a bar in Maine recently


  5. Consider checking out backpacks and bags at the local Goodwill or other thrift store. Analyze how commercial bag makers construct and design their bags and use those details on your final design. Also think about reusing hardware from those thrift store bags; often they have stuff we can't get. Lastly, the weakest point of any backpack is where the straps are sewn to the pack; make sure you reinforce those areas. Good luck!


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  7. Hi, I know you've finished your backpack, but I only found your blog recently and am working back on your makes. You did say you would probably make another, so here goes. My Mother was a seamstress and worked in a Tailors in the days when fur was real, but cutting faux fur is no different. She used the old fashioned razor blades, the ones with one edge protected. You cut from the back thereby having less fur loss and mess. I also recall seeing her shave the edges, I'm not sure if this was just to reduce bulk when joining sleeves, collars etc or if she did it for all seams. Sometimes she got to keep scraps and she made collars for coats for others, but never for herself as she didn't like fur despite working with some very expensive pelts! I recall sewing the scraps to line my wool mittens, fur side in of course to keep the fingers warm. Just before I go, I also seem to recall her using glue but I am not sure why. I'm watching your kilt with great interest. Firstly because I'm Scottish, secondly McLeod is a family name.


  8. Hi, I forgot to mention that a scalpel or similar craft tool would be much easier than the razor blade I mentioned in my comment on working with faux fur, it would definitely be easier on the fingertips and safer although I don't remember getting any cuts and I was pretty young, I think no more than 8 when I first cut and sewed the scraps to line the mittens, which was my idea as my Mum wasn't keen, but at that age I didn't understand why, although I knew she didn't like fur I was an adult before I knew she didn't approve of it as a fashion accessory but only in areas where it was a necessity!


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