Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Review: The London Backpack by LBG Studio

As you may have read in my post that briefly mentioned Quilt Market, I had the opportunity to make a bunch of LBG Studio's The London Backpack for the Dear Stella booth at Fall Quilt Market 2015.  Each bag featured fabric from a different collection.

Top (L to R):  Asuka, Luck of the Irish, Pixie Dust
Middle (L to R):  Hello Sailor, Cat's Meow, Lilypad
Bottom (L to R):  Desert Bloom, Enchanted
After making 8 of them, I feel like I know the pattern pretty well, so let's get on with my review. 

Overall
My first impression of the pattern was quite positive. I liked the shape of the bag on the pattern cover, and the picture on the following page that shows the size on kids and an adult.  With an approximate finished size of 12" tall x 13" wide x 5" deep, I would certainly call this a purse-sized bag rather than the jumbo size version that springs into my head when I hear "backpack."  

This pattern has a magnetic snap flap that covers a drawstring. There is a zipped pocket on the interior of the bag, as well as one on the back side of the exterior. 

Getting into it
Like the Senna Tote (also by LBG Studio) that I previously reviewed, the materials list recommends duck cloth/cotton canvas for interlining (I used a 10oz 100% cotton duck). Fusible fleece is listed as an alternative, but I don't think I would be as happy with the finished project. 

The majority of the pieces for the pattern are rectangular, so I LOVE that the dimensions were provided so that the pieces may be rotary cut instead of using pattern pieces. This saved me from having to print a bunch of extra pages that I wouldn't use.

This pattern marks the first time that I've used grommets (the pattern says eyelets, but you really want grommets).  To be honest, it was a little nerve-racking to put them in, but it really gives the bag a professional looking finish.  I found a good tool for punching the holes plus a grommet setting kit at Tandy Leather.  As a side note, the pattern calls for eyelets.  Eyelets look different from the back than they do on the front.  in addition, eyelets are usually smaller (at least that's what I noticed when I was trying to find the hardware).  Grommets look the same on the front and the back.  With the hardware being clearly visible, grommets are going to give you a uniform look.

Yup, it's a grommet.  It really gives the bag a professional look.
As far as construction goes, you will be working with heavy materials that are also thick, so I will definitely also recommend using a jeans needle. You might also find it beneficial to slightly increase your stitch length and take it slowly. 

The single most frustrating part of the bag for me was sewing the exterior bottom piece to the sides. There is a fair amount of easing that needs to happen, and the rigidity of the duck cloth can make it a pain. I used a ton of Clover Wonder Clips, and I'm pleased with how they turned out. 

These clips have a lot of different uses.  One of them is take the place of a straight pin.  Putting a needle through layers of interfaced fabric and duck cloth isn't going to turn out well for your pins, so I use the clips instead.
Modifications
I can't say that I really made any modifications to the pattern other than using a 3rd fabric as an accent on the flap and bottom at the request of the lovely folks at Dear Stella.  To do this, you will need to add an extra fat quarter or a 1/3 yard (1/3yd x WOF) of fabric from the bolt of the fabric that you wish to use as your accent.  When cutting out your fabrics, just don't forget that you are using the accent fabric!
Wrapping Up
Now for the real question - would I make it again?  Yes, I would absolutely make this pattern again.  It's well-written, and it makes an awfully cute bag.

Want to see more pics from the Dear Stella booth?  You can check out their recap post here.

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