With the advent of spring (who ordered the white stuff!), I wanted to try my hand at a little day pack for when I hike our local hills and parks with my dog. I also wanted to step outside the garment making mode for a bit and found this pattern in the latest Burda pattern book.


I was particularly intrigued with the convertible backpack style since I had been noticing lots of shoppers in town with a similar style bag. And I thought it would be fun to try working with a fabric that was outside of my wheelhouse – water resistant nylon.
Here is the description from Burda Style Sewing patterns.
Make a cool backpack/rucksack, quick and easy to transform into a stylish bag by concealing the straps inside a special back compartment. Decorative trim gives the simple shopper with a zip fastener an interesting accent and also serves as a carrying strap.
While not my usual style of print choice, I got a chuckle at the thought of using this camouflage print as I venture out into the wilds of Vancouver Island parks with my dog.
My first minor hiccup was having to read the instructions. Since I am familiar with garment construction, I rarely read the instructions provided. (Sometimes to my detriment!) Whether it be a top or pant/skirt, there is a certain order to sewing things together that is the same. But this pattern had me reading everything word for word … multiple times. And double checking the illustrations to make sure I was understanding correctly. Once I got into the groove of it, everything came together smoothly. I particularly enjoyed the success with the construction of the shoulder straps and special back compartment.
Here are some suggestions that I found worked for me.
  • While a microtex needle is recommended for laminated fabrics like this nylon, I used a universal needle with no problems. Because of the weight of the nylon, I used a size 90/14.
  • Because this fabric perforates with pins, I used fabric clips. Any basting was done in the seam allowance.
  • Nylon fabric is heat sensitive so you have to lower the heat of dial your iron. Also use a press cloth so the iron doesn’t directly contact the fabric. I did increase the heat to apply thefusible fleece to the straps but I also used a press cloth on top of the fleece so no melting occurred.
  • Instead of using petersham ribbon for the handles, I used 1″ (2.5cm) nylon webbing. It is a sturdier product for the heavy usage I foresee this bag getting. In choosing 1″ nylon webbing, the plastic buckles also had to be adjusted to 1″ (2.5cm) size. Because of the weight of the webbing, I skipped the step of folding the handles lengthwise and sewing the area where your hands would be holding.
  • The petersham ribbon was also used to cover the raw ends of the padded straps where they attached to the bag. Instead, I cut a 2″ (5cm) wide strip of the nylon fashion fabric by the width of the bag, folded under the raw edges lengthwise and applied it using the same stitching instructions as the ribbon. I also skipped using the ribbon as a trim along the top of the bag near the zipper opening.

Instead of petersham ribbon to cover the raw ends of the padded straps, I used a strip of the nylon fabric.

  • Needle nose pliers were helpful in turning out the padded straps.
  • I found using a longer zipper easier to put in.  Suggested size is 16″ about 40cm.  I used a 20″ or 50cm length. This was I didn’t have to struggle with the bulk of the zipper pull when stitching onto the bag.  I just tucked the extra length into the bag when I sewed the lining in.
  • While the supply list includes interfacing, the pattern pieces do not indicate which are to be interfaced. Nor do the instructions. (Unless I missed that!) So with the application of the snap, I made sure to add a small reinforcing piece of nylon fabric to the back of the snap areas so the snap wouldn’t pull out of the fabric. I also reinforced the back of the lining pockets.

Reinforce the snap area with a piece of fabric.


I even reinforced the back of the pocket stitching with some extra fabric.

  • While I am not likely to carry a 4L jug of milk (yes, it does fit in the bag), I still reinforce stitched the handles. This is not mentioned in the pattern but it is something I like to do on any of my bags.


  • The instructions suggest sewing the lining to the bag by hand around the top of the bag. With the bulk of the zipper tape and the nylon webbing, my poor fingers were not happy with that idea. Instead, when sewing the lining together, I left a big opening (about 12″ or 30cm) in one of the lining side seams. I machine stitched the lining around the top of the outer bag as best as I could.  (You have to hand stitch a small section by the tail end of the zipper). Then I pulled everything right side out through the lining opening which I then machine stitched closed.

Leave a side seam in the lining open. After you have sewn the lining to the outer fabric around the top of the bag, you can pull everything through the openinghen close it up with some machine stitching.

Once you have turned the bag right side out, you can machine stitch the opening closed.

I think I will get a lot of use from this bag. Pippa definitely agrees. I’m even thinking of making another in a different fabric!  Now the dilemma is what fabric?