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Slightly sloppy 11 oz MYOG pack
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Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: The Palouse
Slightly sloppy 11 oz MYOG pack on 07/13/2011 21:47:24 MDT Print View

Just finished my first attempt at a real, functional backpack (as opposed to a useless, fake one). Its roughly 11x6.5x20 + 6" or roll top which comes to about 1500 cubic inches of usable in-pack volume. There is, of course, some extra volume in the pockets. It's ~ 11 oz.

I made it out of 2.2 oz black oxford, 1.1 (?) oz grey silnylon and lycra mesh from Quest. It's taken me a few days to get this all together. I'm too cheap/broke for a pattern or a membership to access articles so I was working off my limited sewing skills, my mom's help, and the excellent collection of free posts buried in the MYOG forums here at BPL.

I also spent quit a bit of time snooping around GG, ULA and other cottage websites, as well as the free G4 and LAB instructions.

Besides measuring and cutting straight (need to invest in a rotary) I'd say the most challenging parts were:

1) not 'catching' parts of the panel beyond the seam allowance and having to rip and start again - suggestions on avoiding this with particularly slippery and difficult to manage fabrics?

2) attaching shoulder straps. I'm pretty sure mine will rip off or create enormous holes when I take this pack on a trip so any tips in this dept. are greatly appreciated.

3) Also had a hard time getting the roll top to work out. Do folks typically sew in a stiff piece of plastic? Looking for ideas here.

Enough rambling, here are the appropriately sloppy pics:





pack on back

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Pack on 07/13/2011 23:49:45 MDT Print View

Tyler that pack isn't sloppy! I think it looks good, and as long as its functional, who cares what it looks like!

Seriously, for not having instructions or a pattern, it looks really nice.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Pack on 07/14/2011 00:53:38 MDT Print View

Most people place a seam where they attach the shoulder straps. This provides a much stronger connection.

As for roll tops, yes a thin plastic strip is often used for at least one side. Usually people just improvise. A wide packing strap from large crates should be flexible but rigid enough for the job.

I agree with John as well. Working off no real pattern it looks pretty decent. And it's a first could have ended up useless which yours doesn't seem to be.

Chris Muthig
(cmuthig) - M

Locale: Georgia
Pack on 07/14/2011 08:48:09 MDT Print View

My first pack I made was pretty useless and has since been cannibalized for other projects. Your pack looks like it will give you some great trips out of it.

1) The trick my girlfriend taught me that works wonders, especially on silnylon but not so much on canvas, is a glue stick. I just apply a decent bit of glue on each piece then stick them together. The glue will keep the pieces from slipping around much, you won't have to put any extra holes in already pretty delicate fabric, and once you are done, the glue just rubs off. For oxford though, pinning works fine. Also, you may want to give yourself a larger seam allowance. What did you use?

2) My first patterned pack was the G4, and for this pack, the pattern has you put an extra piece of canvas across the width of the backpanel, covering the straps. It works pretty well and I have used it on packs other than that one, but I plan to try just having a seam there on my next pack and seeing if that gives it a more clean look.

3) I've used the tops of ziploc bags before for a rolltop closure on a small running pack. On some packs though, I just don't use anything at all, and I think it works fine.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Nice pack on 07/14/2011 11:16:04 MDT Print View

Nice looking backpack design for your first backpack and your sewing looks pretty good also.
Also most of us work on this mantra "Patterns! WE don't need no stinkin patterns!"
Most of us make our own patterns and do our research just like what you did from websites and other forums like backpacking light and sport goods stores looking at commercial made backpacks. It called reverse engineering as we use to call in the radio control glider forums I use to participate in and bulid my own designs and cut my own wings and fuselages.
How i make a pack:
I draw out how I want my pack to look like using my imagination of what features I want in a pack and the measurements in my art book . Then I buy poster board to make a full size side profile of the pack pattern, then the shoulder straps and hip belt profile pattern. Then I put pattern I made on the fabric I use a light blue Koh-I-Noor woodless colored art pencil to trace the pattern on the inside of the fabric for the pack. I use scissors to cut out my fabric leaving a 1/2" margin. Then when I am sewing the front ,Side and back of the pack together, I have a line to sew on. So you don't need a fancy rotary cutter just sharp scissor and your imagination .

Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: The Palouse
re: advices on 07/14/2011 12:42:33 MDT Print View

Thanks for the positive encouragement and shared experience!

Liking these tips, gluestick sounds like great technique that I'll try out next time. Sil is just too dern slippery for my fingers.

I also like the idea of creating a nice sturdy template and drawing lines right on the fabric. I was worried about putting the sharpie to the fabric but I realize now that a creating a nice clean line, to help for a good straight stitch to cover it is worth the risk of some sharpie peeking out.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: re: advices on 07/14/2011 12:47:31 MDT Print View

You can sew sil-nylon OK. Just use lots of pins.