Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
1st Sewing Project Ever: MYOG Mariposa' ish Backpack - Photos and lessons learned
Display Avatars Sort By:
Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

1st Sewing Project Ever: MYOG Mariposa' ish Backpack - Photos and lessons learned on 01/24/2012 15:30:03 MST Print View

Start with something easy. That was the advice given to me by pretty much both my common sense and everyone here on BPL.

I, however, have been known to be reckless sometimes, and thus I have arrived at this current place and time. A time of reckless fun having. The Place: My room, complete with brand new Brother LS-590 Sewing machine and various needed sewing tools. The Time: 16 hrs spread out over Saturday night till Tuesday afternoon. The Reason: See opening paragraph.

The Cost: $37 total cost: for fabric (Equinox Silnylon Ground Sheet around 46" x58"), Hardwear (plastics from Liberty Mountain for straps, buckles, ladder locks, sternum strap, and cordlock, drawcord is 1.5mm cord from Sterling Rope), cushioning is Walmart Blue CCF pad remnants leftover from another extra pad. Thread is 100% nylon general purpose heavy duty.

Sewing Machine

This project wouldn't have even gotten started if Konrad Chen (and many thanks to all the other BPL'ers who helped out with suggestions!) hadn't figured out how to get my thread not to tangle.

mess of thread

I decided that my goal was a pack loosely based off the Mariposa, but without all the quality and fancy features. I wanted the pack to weigh less than 8 oz. and be able to handle a 3 season UL to SUL load (around an 8 lb base weight) with a max weight of about 15 lbs. I decided to just start from scratch and get out a tape measure and get some rough ideas of what was needed.

Keep in mind that my only actual "practice" of sewing was turning a scrap piece of nylon into a stuff sack. With one whole cheap stuff sack of practice under my belt, I was off to the races without really knowing anything about racing. But it was reckless and fun, so major win.


By no means did everything turn out exactly like it was supposed to, but then again, I didnt really know how it was supposed to turn out from the start. My sewing was, as expected of a newbie somewhat "raw" and very flawed. But overall it slowly started to take shape. I cut out the designs for the hipbelt and shoulder strap, sewed those up and added some "custom" blue foam that got sewn in at the end. Next up was the shoulder strap supports for the base of the pack, and then just sewing them all onto the back panel after pinning the rough stitch lines.

Work in progress

Coming along

and working...

Still working...

1st attempt at X box stitch

slowly coming together

Backpanel showing compression straps and shoulder straps

Tieouts and sewing

The product

8.82 oz. Finished Pack

The Pack and its Glorious Creator

The Pack from the Back

Final view of the pack

What a learning experience. I should have sewn in the lower shoulder strap supports differently, and sewn the waist belt from the back of the pack instead of from the inside. My lower seams would have been much more professional looking and less complicated. It seems like it should do what I want for at least a couple trips.

If it falls apart so be it. It feels comfy and amazingly enough actually fits fairly well. A fun and reckless way to spend some free time. Now to build an actually decent looking quilt....Thanks for all the support and MYOG articles on sewing techniques, pinning and double checking your work, examples of other peoples (may cooler looking) packs, and general helpfulness. Hope you like looking at the pretty pictures! Thats all folks! Seth

Edited by Whistler on 01/25/2012 13:04:56 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
You have a problem ... on 01/24/2012 15:36:08 MST Print View

Yep, you have a problem now. MYOG is kinda addictive ... There is no cure. :-)

Single design comment: The pack looks a bit long in the torso for your back. Attaching the shoulder straps a bit lower might be a good idea next time.

Now go testing.


Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: 1st Sewing Project Ever: MYOG Mariposa' ish Backpack - Photos and lessons learned on 01/24/2012 16:53:15 MST Print View

Really good first effort Seth. Silnylon is no slouch to sew and looks like you did well with it.


Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Shoulder straps on 01/24/2012 20:00:30 MST Print View

Since its a frameless pack it will probably sag a bit under a load so I wouldn't change the position of the shoulder straps just yet.
Looks very nice. If thats your first MOGY pack I'd say you have a very promising future ahead of you. My first MYOG pack is long gone but I would be ashamed to show it here, it was trully aweful. But I learned and the next one was better.
Oh by the way I like the hipbelt. I rebuilt a SUL pack for my little brother a while back and added a similar hipbelt after both of us had been using simple webbing belsts. He said it was significantly more comfortable. I think its a feature worth keeping.

Edited by Cameron on 01/24/2012 20:06:22 MST.

Nicholas Martin

Locale: SoCal-High Desert
Re: Shoulder straps on 01/24/2012 20:31:47 MST Print View

Nice job bro!
Ive heard a lot of people dont attempt shoulder straps on their first pack, so consider yourself ahead of the game! Its simple and side pockets or outer pocket?

Seth Brewer
(Whistler) - MLife

Thanks for the Comments ! on 01/24/2012 21:08:09 MST Print View

Thanks for the Atta Boy's and the feedback you guys. The whole pack turned out to be 8.82 oz. and appears to have a main volume about the size of the Pinnacle from GoLite. Turned out to be larger than expected, but fits me well and event though the shoulder straps are a tad high, I only had about 7 lbs in the pack for the photo, so likely it will sag a bit more as was commented.

No it doesn't have any pockets on the front or back. I decided that simply keeping track of pinning in the shoulder straps, hipbelt, and tie down points without messing up the sewing would be enough of an adventure for my first go. I also find that for a regular lightweight hike around here in Connecticut, that I don't really need pockets (may a removable shoulder one for my camera) and that I often hike without carrying water, as water is plentiful around here. I often just stop and treat right at the water source with my Steripen, drink as much as I want, and then continue. Works for me in all but the hottest temperatures.

Thanks again for the comments and I'll compile all this wonderful feedback into my little old head for my next project!

Christopher Wilke

Locale: Colorado
Re: 1st Sewing Project Ever: MYOG Mariposa' ish Backpack - Photos and lessons learned on 01/26/2012 17:59:54 MST Print View

Roger's right Seth. You just jumped head first down the rabbit hole!

I think you did a nice job for your first project. You set a design goal and hit it. Personally, I think being ambitious teaches you more in a quicker time frame than starting simple and working your way up. It's certainly more frustrating at times though ;)