Summit Pack

I bought the Summit Pack pattern as part of the Sew My Style February challenge. It’s a really great rucksack design from Cloudsplitter Bags, and I was really excited to make it but with everying that’s happening it’s taken me a while. But finally, this weekend, I made my mind up about which of my scraps to use up on this and dove in.

1. The fabrics

I wanted my rucksack to have a reasonably robust outer fabric, and a nice pretty lining. For the exterior I used a beautiful paisley needlecord which I had bought half a metre of just after Christmas (I couldn’t resist), and an extremely heavyweight black canvas which I bought years ago thinking I would redo some deck chairs but realised when it arrived that it was far too thick! I was worried it would be too thick for the rucksack actually, but decided to give it a go.

For the lining, I dceide to use a fabric which clashed quite badly with the outside, but I figured that didn’t matter too much. I used an old cotton curtain fabric which was white and brown with a pretty floral pattern.

In terms of hardware I had to buy some things to make this – I bought a D-ring and a ‘triglide slider’ (this was surprisingly hard to get hold of, but maybe I was searching for the wrong thing. The design also uses a swivel clasp so you can clip the strap on and off, but I decided to sew it all together permanently so didn’t need it. For the zips I have got a big assortment pack of zips that my lovely brother bought me for Christmas, but I bought a specific bag zip for the main zip just to make sure it was strong enough (in retrospect I don’t think I needed to). I also needed to buy some foam, the pattern says to buy one you can stick onto the fabric or use spray adhesive but I decided not to bother and just relied on the stitching to keep it in place.

2. The pattern

As mentioned the pattern is from Cloudsplitter Bags. I think it’s a really great design, it has a lot of different pockets and useful areas for storing things like credit cards and gadgets. Interestingly the designers say they let you use their pattern to make bags that you sell, provided that you acknowledge them – isn’t that great! No use for me though as I certainly don’t plan to go into the bag making business. I didn’t dare make any changes to the pattern – I obediently followed all instructions!

3. The challenges

Overall, this pattern is really clearly described and well thought out, but I did have a few issues.

  • There are so many pieces to cut out it gets quite confusing. The pattern has a helpful table with all the pieces and fabrics that I referred to many times. But the trickiest thing is making sure that you have the fabric and the pattern the right way up – there is a helpful code written on each pattern piece to tell you what to do, but it’s easy to get in a muddle. I got one of the pieces wrong, but otherwise was okay. The photographs in the pattern are clear, and I used them to check each piece was the right way out etc. So all the information is there, but I recommend you go slow and carefully check everything.
  • The instructions for the zips were great, but I misunderstood that I needed to sew the zip tabs to both ends of each zip. I realised after I’d inserted the first zip which was frustrating! I had to unpick it at the one end and then add in the zip tab.
  • The canvas I used was so thick it did cause some issues. My old singer treadle machine is brilliant and can sew through pretty much anything, but even it was struggling at some points where I ended up having four layers of the canvas. I got it to sew everything apart from the D-ring anchor which I was trying to sew right at the end, I did change the needle but it still didn’t work so I ended up doing that bit by hand.

4. The final result

Ultimately, this was a WIN – I’m really pleased with it! It didn’t take me too long so I think I could whip up another one of these as a present for someone quite quickly. I also found it to be a relaxing sew, there are lots of little bits to do so you can do a bit here and there when you have a spare moment.  Not having the swivel clasp for the bag worked out fine = it means it’s a tiny bit harder to put on and take off, but I’m okay with that.

In terms of the design, I was particularly happy with the card slots – it fit my cards perfectly and really looks great. The gadget pocket is too small for my laptop but is perfect for a tablet. I can see myself using this all the time, it’s comfortable to wear and I’m pleased with the fabric choices; plus the bright zips make me smile. The needlecord is soft on my back when wearing it so it’s nice and comfy but I think it’ll get a bit warm in hot weather. I will probably make it again, and I think I’ll go for fairly heavy cotton instead of the needlecord as it will be harder wearing and easier to water proof.

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