Saturday, February 1, 2020

Raspberry Rucksack Review- A fun backpack!

Last summer, I decided to that I wanted to make a backpack for my granddaughter for Kindergarten. I came across the pattern for the Raspberry Rucksack by Sarah Kristen. I think I saw it on Instagram or on a blog and immediately checked it out. Adorable and perfect for this way out of the realm of my normal projects.
Princess and her new backpack in action!

I purchased the PDF pattern and I also purchased a set of zippers for both sizes of the rucksack. I wasn't sure yet which one I was going to make so I got both. They came pretty quickly and Sarah included a lovely note and she included matching strap hardware. Which I unfortunately did not use n this version because the webbing I used was too thick.
Backpack with the straps fully lengthened and on my dressform

 I took the Princess to Oak Fabrics (while there was still a Brick and Mortar to go to) and she picked out the fabrics. I gave her a choice of fabrics for the canvas outer fabric and she picked this lovely Japanese Nya Nya cat print by Cotton and Steel and for the lining a lovely Art Gallery I scream You Scream cotton print that was sublime to work with! One note, I did make the larger sized bag and the 44" width of fabric was not wide enough for only one of the pieces, the center panel, so for this I just pieced on a length to make it the appropriate size. I had to do this for both the outer canvas and the lining. SO if you have a fabric you love but it is not wide enough, no worries, easily overcome and the pieced seam is on the bottom of the bag!  I ordered the webbing from a shop on Etsy. (of course any webbing that I had in my collection was the wrong size or color or not long enough!)

For this project I used: 1 yard of the canvas, 1 yard of lining, 1 1/2 yards of Pellon 809 interfacing, 2 orange plastic molded zippers. a 5 yard bundle of cotton covered nylon webbing, 2 rectangle rings and 2 slide adjusters in silver metal, 6 inches of 1/2inch elastic ,1 Kylie and the Machine 'You are Loved' label and 1 spool of orange gutterman thread. (I have just enough fabric left over to make a little matching wristlet or coin purse)

And then the project sat in a project box for months and months...

The holidays came and went and I was knee deep in another big project (the velvet jacket for my sister) and I wanted something else to work on. I had no sew-jo for myself, you know I had a serious case of decision paralysis! So I grabbed the project box and without too much thought started on the Raspberry Rucksack.
Cutting out of the pieces was different as you are given dimensions and number of pieces to cut for lining, interfacing and canvas and NOT pattern pieces. Despite my initial thoughts this turned out to be just fine! I used little sticky notes to write the name of each piece and pinned these to the individual pieces which helped to keep things in order. For the interfacing I used Pellon 809 d├ęcor bond. It was not exactly what I was looking for but my choices were limited at the JoAnn's by my home, It turned out to be perfect for the look I wanted for this bag. It is fairly crisp and you can see in the photo above how it holds the shape. It seemed to take forever to fuse the interfacing! I am not used to using something so thick and it took much longer than I am used to.
This is the pop-up pocket on the front on the bag. This was the hardest part for me!

With all the pieces cut, pieced  and fused I started the construction. I used my new heavy duty home machine (not nearly heavy duty when compared to an industrial machine!) Janome HD3000BE.
I had a bit of a rocky start with the construction! Totally my error, the directions are clear plus there is a sewalong for this part, I just put the zipper right side up instead of zipper pull down... DOH!!!
As I noted in a past blog post my bestie Wendy helped me out and unpicked it for me. Once I stared again things went together pretty smoothly. Not being a bag maker there were a couple times that I was like how the heck is this all going to work???? I trusted in the process and followed the instructions and it all worked. Now with that said... some of my top stitching lines are not quite the best quality and that is Okay! I felt like I was wrestling a greased piggy under the foot sometimes! I'm just in awe of what the finished product is!! It is very roomy on the inside and with the zipper with double facing pulls it opens up nice and big.
Bag opens up nice and big!

I only made two changes to the design, The first was to add an outer water bottle/umbrella/doll pocket to the outside. I saw several other versions where people added interior pockets but I did not do this on this version for the Princess, She doesn't really have a need for that at this time in her life. For the water bottle pocket I made a pattern piece for an inverted pleat at the bottom to give it depth and at the top I put in elastic and the finished size it the same as the outer center panel. If I make another one I would lower the placement just a bit so the bottom of the pocket would rest at the bottom of the bag.
The addition of the side water bottle pocket
View of the water bottle side pocket.
The second change or more like addition was to make a strap holder. The snap was supposed to be placed so that it wrapped around like a circle enclosing the 2 hand straps together. However, I put the top part of the snap on the wrong way AND of course it was my last anorak snap. so instead it is straight. Maybe when I get some new snaps I will fix it.
Snap tab to hold the handles together. I 'borrowed' this design from a backpack that I own.

The straps are sewn on very carefully and it would take quite a bit for them to separate from the main part of the bag. Everything is very secure and the for this novice bagmaker the directions made it quite easy. The last thing that I did after checking the strap size on her was to spray the entire bag with a fabric protectant. Hopefully this will help prolong the life and keep it looking nicer longer.
The straps are nice and log and easily adjustable. The handles feel good in your hands and I added a little 'you are loved' Kylie and the machine label to the front.

All in all I call this project a resounding success! The Princess agrees and gave me a great big hug and Thank You for her new backpack. :)
She loves it!! And I love her so totally worth all the work!
It really makes me happy that I could make this for her. Maybe I need to make one for myself!

Happy Sewing!!


  1. I love that last photo! So cute. I taught K for 9 years. I know how excited they are with their first official school backpacks. It's such a meaningful project. Happy sewing!

  2. What were the dimensions for the pattern piece for the water bottle holder? I am getting ready to make my siblings a couple of these backpacks as birthday presents. I have made a mini backpack for myself, but it was a cheapo free pattern with terrible instructions and it did not have a water bottle pocket. How do I make an inverted pleat?

    1. The water bottle pocket was done with a final width of the side piece. Best way That I find to get it correct is to try it in paper first! The inverted pleat is a piece of fabric with a certain amount of fabric folded in from each side to meet it the middle. You should be able to find a good description or tutorial on google. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!


comments, thoughts, idea? Please share!