DIY Tutorial: Yama Girl Tribal Backpack

ssspu7041-m1Give your dorky technical backpacks (or any boring bag, really) a tribal yama girl makeover with this easy tutorial 🙂Photo

What you’ll need:

• A backpack or bag

• Scissors (preferably sharp ones that will cut smoothly through fabric)

• Paper & Pencil

Leather Stitching Needle

Clear Nylon Thread

Fray Check or any other seam sealant

• Mexican blanket, or tribal fabric (*references below)

* Optional: Liquid Stich or other fabric adhesive (suggestions below)

* I used a Gregory Miwok 18 pack  and some fabric I found in the Los Angeles fashion district for the bag shown in these pics, but more recently I found this awesome serape-style woven fabric on etsy.  There are a few sellers on etsy that sell the Peruvian Shipibo Conibo patches that I used on the hip pockets.

* I didn’t use Liquid Stitch or any adhesive on the Gregory pack alteration in this tutorial.  I did use it, however, on a friend’s ‘Bjorn’baby carrier.  If the material on the backpack has a lot of stretch, or is a small enough section, you wont need to glue the fabric down, but if it is a large area, or a thick fabric, you may want to glue a little bit in the center after pinning, so the fabric doesn’t move or crinkle in the middle.

STEP 1: Photo copyUsing the paper, pencil, and scissors, make a pattern for the section you have chosen to patch

STEP 2: Photo copy 2Place the pattern over the fabric and cut, leaving about 3/4″ longer on each side for the hem.  You should treat the edges of any woven fabric with Fray Check or another seam sealant so it doesn’t continue to unravel.  This will require you to wait for the sealant to dry completely before continuing.

STEP 3: Photo copy 3Once dry, place the cut fabric on top of the section and pin, folding the extra fabric under along the edges to make a hem.  Sew as close to edge as possible with the transparent nylon thread, which I double, grabbing the very edges of each fabric and using an overcast or whipstitch to bring the two edges together.stitchdiagram_overcast If you make the stitches small and close enough to the edge while still sewing through both layers of the hemmed fabric, the clear thread will practically disappear into the seam and be sturdy enough to last through many adventures IMG_4738IMG_3967

There’s nothing worse than being in a far away land or a beautiful landscape, bursting with natural and cultural color, only to be littered with a a sea of tourists toting the same bland brand names across their chests and packs. Personalize your gear and have fun gettin crafty by giving your existing pack a funky makeover 🙂


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