I have a backpack that I got from a travel catalog many years ago. It has been my 'go to' bag since I found it. And, if I'm honest, it should have been retired a while ago! It is well traveled and it shows! It is still available from the catalog, but I thought rather than just buy a new one, I would try to replicate it, only instead of the boring, nondescript brown nylon of my current edition, I wanted to jazz it up a bit!
I had seen Kantha cloth tote bags by Will Leather Goods in a shop on Key West. They were light and colorful and way more fun than brown nylon! BUT, even if I spring the cash for one of these lovely bags, I know that I will default to the tattered brown backpack because for walking around all day a backpack is just more comfortable for me than a one shoulder bag. (I still may need one of these at some point!😍 )
A few years ago I finally found a piece of Kantha cloth that I liked BOTH sides of. Not an easy task! I wanted to make a Mieko Mintz-esque slouchy, jacket and had been on the hunt for the fabric. What I found was a throw about 60" square, which was plenty of fabric for what I had in mind.
(this is not MY jacket, and thank you Heidi for modeling Mieko's work so beautifully!)
But it was the inspiration for my version.
Just as I had hoped, it is light and colorful, very slouchy and lots of fun to wear!
I know, I was talking about the backpack that I wanted to make....stick with me....
Seeing the totes made from Kantha cloth sent me into my scrap pile to see if I had enough left of my throw to cobble together a backpack!!! See it all makes sense now!
It was touch and go as to whether I could squeak out the pieces I wanted from the chopped up bits of Kantha that I found, but because it's really a patchwork of old gauze saries anyway, I just made it a bit more 'patchy.'
Voila! My version of a Kantha cloth backpack! Complete with adjustable padded straps, a front zipper pocket just right for my phone and wallet, a large compartment for my rain jacket, water bottle and map! (I'm starting to sound like the catalog page!)
I used a brown linen for the back, I was a bit worried about catching the quilting threads as I put it on and took it off, and (the real reason)I didn't have enough of the Kantha anyway! I think the Liberty of London cotton makes a wonderfully soft and light weight lining and is a light color so it's easy to find things inside the bag.
My original backpack has an inside pocket that is nice to keep small bits and bobs from roaming around on the bottom of the bag. I couldn't figure out where to put an inside pocket on my new pack, so instead, I made a separate pocket for smaller things. I have used several of the Lazy Girl designs and find them really well done. This one uses the one sided zipper trick that makes putting the zipper in very simple.
I'm very pleased with my new pack, but a little nervous as well. Giving up the brown nylon may cause a bit of withdrawal! I am planning to take it along on my upcoming trip, we'll see if it can keep up!