It’s August, and don’t shoot me for saying this so early — but it’s back to school season! Yep, Target had those notebooks and pencils out basically as soon as the 4th of July was over. I always loved picking up all those fresh school supplies, making sure everything was color coordinated just the way I liked. And of course, what’s a new school year without a new backpack? I’m simultaneously someone who uses the same bag every day, but often can’t resist a new one in stores. Is that a thing? And after last month’s jeans, a bag was really the only thing I hadn’t made! So this month, I decided to try my hand at the Desmond Roll-top Backpack by TaylorTailor.
*this post was sponsored by JOANN. the experience and my words are my own!*
The Desmond Roll-Top Backpack
Fabric and Supplies
Never having sewn a bag before, I had no idea how easy or difficult all the supplies would be to source. Just like last month, though, it was JOANN saving the day!
The exterior of my Desmond is a charcoal poly-rayon twill. It’s amazing how many great bottomweight fabrics JOANN has started selling in the past few years! I want to get some more of this fabric for a pair of pants. Interestingly, even though it looked charcoal on the bolt and when I first started working with it, it looks very blue to me now.
The lining is an adorable floral shirting. I wanted something fun on the inside, to make me smile every time I opened it! It’s very lightweight, so we’ll see how it holds up. I don’t think I’m a user and abuser of bags, but I guess I’ll find out!
Even my webbing and hardware came from JOANN. The webbing is gray by-the-yard webbing (this one in gray). I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a trim by-the-yard. I was super proud of myself for remembering to get it before I had the rest of my fabric cut. No second trip to the cut counter here!
I’m super in love with the hardware I grabbed, too. It’s all a gorgeous brushed copper-y color. The d-rings aren’t on the website yet, but I used six 1” d-rings (you have the choice of two d-rings and four o-rings, or all d-rings), two swivel hooks, and two slide buckles.
Sewing the Desmond Roll-Top Backpack
Okay, I definitely went into this thinking it’d be such a quick sew. And it wasn’t a long one! But it did take me an hour or two longer than I expected. Still, it’s totally worth the time you put into making it.
One thing I love about the Desmond roll-top backpack? Uhhhhh, THE POCKETS. Y’all. This backpack has three exterior and four exterior pockets! Part of the reason it took a bit for me to get this guy together was because you have to attach all those babies! I think this backpack could be an excellent choice for a parent on the go who has to carries all those wipes and diapers and clothes.
My biggest challenge on the Desmond was putting the front pocket on, and then attaching the backs to the fronts of the exterior and interior. The backpack only has two pieces per layer, the front and the back. The sides and the bottom are all part of the front piece. Putting them together means some corner squeezing and adjusting. That front pocket piece is very similar to my arch-nemesis, the Kelly Anorak pockets. If you’re making the Desmond and struggling, maybe Heather’s tutorial on the pockets will help!
I’d never worked with webbing before, and I have to admit — that might have been my favorite part. I was so nervous to burn the edges because my smoke alarm is apparently very sensitive (ask me how I know). It was very quick and so easy, and I didn’t set myself on fire!
Once you get into the flow, it’s amazing how fast the backpack comes together. The lining is definitely the home stretch! After inserting the lining and top stitching, I had to take a step back to appreciate that all of the sudden, it was done. The slides and hooks are the last part and then boom: you’ve got a backpack.
Overall, I don’t think this is the right project for a beginner sewer. I do, however, think it’s the right project for someone who is comfortable with zipper insertion and gusset pockets. As a bag addict, I can see myself making this in a more heavy weight fabric like an olive canvas. Plus, it’s the perfect thing to make as a nice gift for someone else — not too hard, not too expensive, and doesn’t need to fit them!
I also cannot WAIT to decorate it with some patches and my enamel pin collection! I’m planning to grab some more sew-on patches the next time I’m at JOANN. This chill pill one always makes me laugh, and we all need a little more Wonder Woman in our lives, don’t we?
Have you branched out into bag making yet? You can hop into Project #SewMyStyle in October to make a bag or two with a couple hundred of us! And, I want to see your favorite pins and patches! Drop me a link in the comments — bonus if they’re made by you or someone you know!