HOW TO MAKE A CANVAS BACKPACK
50cm (19¾") each of waxed canvas in wine (Fabric 1) and caramel (Fabric 2) 50cm (19¾") medium weight cotton canvas (Fabric 3) 3m (1181/ 8") dark brown webbing, 2.5cm (1") wide Matching sewing thread Four sets of magnetic poppers, 1.5cm ( 5 /8") wide Two D rings, 3cm (1¼") wide Two strap adjusters, 3cm (1¼") wide Tailor’s chalk Intrepid to you could mean wild camping, surviving the commute, or just rinsing the free wifi at that café all day on only one latte. This is the kind of rucksack you’ll want at hand for those fearless weekends or everyday adventures – it’s practical but definitely a looker, and is roomy enough to house a laptop, notebook, snacks and your latest project.
What we love about waxed canvas is that it’s water repellent, and it’ll develop a lovely ‘vintage leather’ look as it’s handled – to speed this up, scrunch up your pieces a bit then flatten out again before you sew them. You’ll need to use a sewing machine needle suitable for heavier weight fabrics.
From Fabric 1, cut a 38 x 35cm (15 x 13¾") piece for the front pockets, a 20 x 25cm (77/ x 97/ piece for the back base, a 16 x 16cm (63/ x 63/ piece for the pocket flap and two 7 x 7cm (2¾ x 2¾") squares for the strap loops. From Fabrics 2 and Fabric 3, cut two 55 x 35cm (215/ x 13¾") pieces.
Take the front pockets piece and fold in half so the two 35cm (13¾") edges meet. Unfold and mark two points 2cm (¾") down from the fold and 14.5cm (5¾") in from each side. At each of these two points, add a negative side of one of the magnetic poppers. To do this, cut a 4mm slit about 3mm to the left of one of the marks and another 3mm to the right. Insert the little ‘arms’ at the back of the popper through the slits and fold them down securely. Repeat at the other mark with the second popper. Fold the pockets piece in half again, making sure the poppers end up on the outside. Sew along the folded edge about 3mm in.
Lay out one of the Fabric 2 panels with the short edges at the top and bottom, and lay the pocket panel on top, aligning the bottom raw edges. Pin in place, then mark and sew two vertical lines down the pocket panel, each 10.5cm (4¼") in from the sides. Finally, mark and sew across the panel 5cm (2") up from the bottom edge.
To make the flap for the middle pocket, fold the flap piece in half, unfold, then mark two points 2cm (¾") down from the fold and 5cm (2") in from each side. At each of these two points, add a positive side of one of the magnetic poppers as per Step 2. Fold the flap piece in half again along the fold, this time with the poppers on the inside. Pin and sew along the two short edges. Turn the flap right side (RS) out. Fold the open long edges to the wrong side ( WS) by 1cm ( and pin. Sew along the open edge about 0.5cm (¼") in, then continue sewing around the other three edges, about 2-3mm in.
Place the flap on top of the pocket so the edge that was open is at the top and the poppers match up. Pin the flap in place along the top edge and sew to the front panel along the pinned edge, 0.5cm (¼") down from the top.
To finish the front panel, add the negative sides of the remaining set of magnetic poppers – these will match up with the webbing tabs. Mark two points 28cm (11") down from the top edge of the front panel and 10.5cm (4¼") in from the sides. Fit the poppers at these points as per Step 2.
Next, assemble the back panel. Start by taking the Fabric 1 base piece and folding one of the longer edges over by 1cm ( Lay out the other Fabric 2 panel and place the base piece on top, aligning the raw edges at the bottom, and positioning the folded edge at the top with the edge folded under. Sew along the folded edge approximately 3mm in.
Take the two small 7 x 7cm (2¾ x 2¾") squares of Fabric 1 and fold each edge to the WS by 1cm ( Sew in place roughly 0.5cm (¼") in. Next, cut two pieces of webbing, each 8cm (31/ long. Fold each piece in half and thread through one of the D rings. Pin one of the squares on the back panel, 7cm (2¾") in from the right-hand side and 7cm (2¾") up from the bottom edge. Pin the other square 7cm (2¾") in from the left-hand edge and 7cm (2¾") up from the bottom edge. Tuck the ends of one of the webbing D ring loops under the top of each square by 1.5cm ( and pin in place. Sew around the edge of each square, 4mm in, then sew from corner to corner diagonally across to secure it.
Lay out the back panel with the D ring loops at the bottom. Cut two 15cm (6") lengths of webbing and place one of them 15cm (6") down from the top edge of the panel, keeping it horizontal and central. Pin in place, then fold the ends to the WS by 1cm ( and pin. Take the other length of webbing and fold it round to form a flattened loop, as shown. Tuck both cut ends of the loop under the pinned strip, keeping them central, and pin in place. Cut two 75cm (29½") lengths of webbing and tuck one end of each under the horizontal strip, either side of the loop – make sure to tuck at least 1.5cm ( of the ends under. Sew all the way around the edges of the horizontal strip, about 3mm in, sewing twice to make sure the straps and loop are secure.
Take one of the long webbing straps and thread the loose end through a strap adjuster, through the D ring front to back, then back up and under the central bar of the adjuster again, from top to bottom. Leave 5cm (2") of webbing sticking out of the strap adjuster, fold the end under by 1cm ( and pin and sew to the strap. Repeat this step to make the second strap.
Next, add the tabs that close the bag. Cut two lengths of webbing, each 30cm (117/ Fold over one end of one of the pieces by 1cm ( and pin that end to the back panel, 9.25cm (3¾") in from the right hand edge and about 2.5cm (1") below the strip of webbing holding the straps in