How to Upsize the London Backpack
When I first laid eyes on the London Backpack, I was smitten with its simple design. The contrasting flap and drawstring closure remind me of wool backpacks I’ve been seeing all over Pinterest. And since Vanessa, designer at LBG Studio, was the brains behind this design I knew the construction would be top notch.
So it didn’t take long for me to choose this pattern as the accessory for the 2015 Fall Collection. But while the pattern is intended for both kids and women, for me it’s a bit small for every day use. I carry around a lot of stuff and I knew I’d need a bag up to the task.
It took a bit of thinking on how I could scale this backpack up without losing the simple design that Vanessa created. My printer can’t print on paper larger than US Letter or Legal, so I knew printing the pattern pieces at home wouldn’t be an option. But one quick trip to my local print shop and few dollars resulted in a scaled-up version of this lovely accessory.
Today, I’m bringing you a step-by-step tutorial on how to upsize your own London Backpack. There are a few extra steps you might not consider when scaling up your own London Backpack, so don’t skip any part of this post!
DECIDE ON SCALE
Unscaled, the original finished dimensions of the London Backpack are:
- Height - 12 1/2”
- Width - 13”
- Depth - 5”
After closely studying the pattern photos of the London Backpack, I decided I wanted my bag to be 125% of its original size. I’m 5’6” and roughly a size 4. I figured scaling it to 125% wouldn’t overpower my frame but would still be functional to carry all my belongings. Luckily, it turned out to be perfect.
My upsized London Backpack dimensions turned out to be:
- Height: 15 5/8"
- Width: 16 1/4"
- Depth: 6 1/4"
In the photo above our model, Sara, is 5’3” tall. The backpack also fit her petite frame well. Decide how big you’d like the backpack to be by measuring the dimensions of bags you currently own.
GET THE PATTERN PRINTED
To upsize your London Backpack, you’ll need to print the enlarged pattern pieces on tabloid-sized paper. If your home printer accommodates this 11” x 17” paper, this is relatively simple!
In your print screen, under Page Setup, simply choose Tabloid as your paper size.
Change your scaling in this screen to 125%.
And then print only pages 22 through 34 on this special sized paper. These are the pattern pieces.
My printer doesn’t accommodate tabloid-sized paper, so that meant a quick trip to my local print shop. With the pattern file on a thumb drive, I asked them to print the file at 125%, on tabloid-sized paper, using black and white ink, and only pages 22 through 34. The total cost ended up being just over $3.
Some print shops may ask you to bring proof of purchase for the pattern, so that they don’t violate copyright laws, so be sure to have that on-hand. Once you get your pattern home, you can tile and cut (or trace) it like you normally would.
If you’ve never used a digital pattern, check out this post to get started.
MODIFY THE NECESSARY PATTERN PIECES
Once your pattern is printed and assembled, there are a few extra steps before you can start sewing. At its original size the London Backpack features 1” wide straps and calls for handbag hardware of the same width. Handbag hardware, like strap slides and rings, are available in standard widths of 1”, 1.25” and 1.5”.
When you upsize your pattern your new strap pattern pieces will likely be too wide an odd size for any hardware that you can find at your local fabric store. For my upsized London Backpack I simply decreased increased the width of the strap pattern pieces to 6” wide, so that I could use 1.5” wide hardware. I also decreased increased the width of the strap loops to 6” as well.
EDITED: Sew Caroline caught my error with the above instructions when she sewed her own lovely upsized London Backpack. Your upsized straps will indeed be too narrow for 1.5" hardware. You'll need to increase your strap widths to 6".
The final adjustment I made to my upsized London Backpack was to shorten the hanging loop. I found that my enlarged hanging loop was just too long for this accessory, so I decreased the length by 2”. You could complete this modification when you attach the loop (instructions on page 15 of pattern).
BUY EXTRA FABRIC AND LARGER HARDWARE
Now that your pattern is printed, it’s time to buy supplies! Keep in mind that your upsized accessory is going to require more supplies than what is stated in the pattern.
Fabric and Interfacing
Increase the amount of fabric and interfacing you purchase by the amount you upsize the pattern. So in my case, I bought 1.25 yards of my main fabric, 2.5 yards of interfacing, etc. You may not use it all, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Depending on how much you’re scaling up your London Backpack, you may need to buy larger zippers than what the pattern calls for. I already had a 22” zipper on hand, so I was able to shorten that for the back outer zipper pocket. I used a 9” zipper for the inner pocket.
Strap Slides and Rings
As mentioned above, don’t forget to buy larger hardware for your London Backpack, too. When scaling to 125% of the original pattern, 1.5” strap slides and rings were ideal. If you can’t find the right sized hardware at your local fabric stores, check out Strapworks. I’ve even found great industrial d-rings and clasps at my local hardware store.
For my London Backpack, I used 3/8” Dritz grommets, as opposed to 8mm eyelets for a more industrial look. My upsized drawstring runs nicely through these grommets. And now I want to put grommets on everything.
There’s no need to buy a larger magnetic snap than what the pattern calls for.
Now you’re ready to start sewing! Take some creative license to play with contrasting materials. If you’re sewing with quilting cottons or any lightweight fabric, don’t skip the canvas interlining. It will create a sturdy accessory that can hold up to a lot of wear and tear.
Check out Kimberly’s London Backpack, also scaled to 125% of the original pattern. She used brass zippers for a lovely contrast.
There’s more Fall Collection inspiration coming your way next week, including another tutorial and five more awesome bloggers on the blog tour!
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