Completed: The Maywood Backpack

18 Jun

Wow guys, it’s been a minute, huh? I try not to neglect this space, but the fact is I only write when I feel like it… which is honestly, kind of rare. I’d rather be making stuff!

So anyway, here’s something I made recently!

Maywood Backpack

This is the Maywood Toteback! Realtalk – I have PINED for this damn bag since I first saw one in the wild (I think it might have been at one of my jean workshops!). I love how it flips from a tote bag to a backpack with a push of the straps:Maywood Backpack

Maywood backpack

I think y’all know I love sewing backpacks (1 2 3), although I have to limit myself since there are only so many backpacks a person can use! (a backpack update: #1 gets used occasionally, #2 was gifted to my little brother who absolutely loves it, and #3 still is used frequently when I travel. You know, back when we were still allowed to travel haha). I justified this one since it’s a bit more refined than my standard canvas pack – the solid black waxed canvas, gold hardware, and rich leather straps just make it look so classy. And I love that I can flip it to a tote, for times when I don’t feel like carrying my shit around on my back – or, TBH, when I feel like showing off my rad back patch haha.

Maywood Backpack

Maywood Backpack

The pattern itself is a super simple design – it’s a basic bag with boxed corners and a zippered top, fully lined to hide all seams. The pattern includes a large front pocket (for hiding the front tote strap when using this as a backpack) and an inner pocket that is large enough to fit a laptop (my 13″ MacBook Pro fits perfectly, FYI). What really makes it shine is the high-quality materials, especially those leather straps!

I knew I needed more than 2 giant pockets for this bag – and while it’s a slim size (you can fit a surprising amount in there, but it is arguably smaller than your standard backpack), I didn’t want to overload it with so many pockets that I stuff the whole thing too full to zip closed (typical Lauren – if there is space, I will find a way to fill it). But I did want a small pocket to throw my wallet in – and, based on past backpack experience, I wanted it to be zippered so nothing would fall out.

Maywood Backpack

I ended up adding a little patch pocket that closes with a zipper, using the pattern pieces + instructions from the Addictive Free Canvas Tote from Niizo. Niizo is hands-down my favorite pattern + kit maker for bags, I always find their techniques to be so clever! I’ve made the tote before so I was familiar with the steps to insert this pocket. I like that it’s a patch pocket (so I could rip it off with no issues if I ended up deciding that I didn’t want the pocket!), and it has the zippered closure that I require. It’s the perfect size to hold my wallet, which is basically what it is intended for. I also added a little loop to the side seam, which I use to hang my keys or AirPods (using a carabiner clip) so they are easily accessible, but also secure while not taking up precious pocket real estate.

I actually sewed this pocket twice – my first go wasn’t quite perfect, and there were a few mistakes that just looked glaringly bad enough that I feel it was worthy of a re-do. I made this bag while on set for a big photoshoot (it is allowed where I live, please don’t @ me), and we were done with all our sewing… so I figured I had all the time in the world to get it right. I recut my pocket pieces from muslin, and while using the rotary cutter I glanced away for a fucking second and ended up somehow slicing through the tip of my left pointer finger. To make a very long and boring story short, I got 7 stitches the next day and also lost about 1/4 of my nail as the blade cut right through the nail bed. I’ve never had to get stitches before – hell, I’ve never had a sewing accident that warranted going to the walk-in clinic! – and let me tell you… that shit SUCKED. There was about a week and a half that I had very limited use of that finger which resulted in me not being able to type or knit without pain. Thankfully, it’s completely healed up at this point and my nail is slowly starting to grow back.

I guess the moral of this story is – 1. Pay attention when you are using your rotary cutter! and 2. Sometimes re-doing a pocket is the worst decision you can make that day LOL

Maywood Backpack

Anyway, it turned out all right in the end! I’m glad I added the pocket, although I wish I’d just kept the first version (as well as part of my finger haha). I used medium weight muslin and a metal zipper and I think it fits in with the rest of the bag nicely. Also, you can see here how much stuff fits in the bag! My laptop, charger, Kindle, notebook, pen pouch, and wallet are all hanging out in there. I also typically bring my knitting bag (which is full of a sweater at this point). It holds a lot!

Maywood Backpack

So, a little more about the kit I used! I got the whole ass kit from Pintuck & Purl (I think Maggie special ordered it for me, ha!), which includes everything – fabric, hardware, leather, and the pattern. All the pieces are pre-cut and marked, which means you can jump right into making! I’m boring as shit and I wanted a 100% black bag, but there are other color options (including a contrasting front pocket) if you don’t want to embrace your inner Goth. I also got the tool kit, for hammering in all the hardware. The outer fabric is waxed canvas, the lining is a heavy cotton duck. Both materials are structured enough to stand on their own without the use of interfacing. All of the leather is hammered on – no sewing (so no worries about whether or not your machine can handle it!). The handles are backed with leather supports, so the whole thing feels sturdy even when you’ve got it overloaded to max heaviness.

Maywood Backpack

I’ve been carrying mine around daily for about 3 weeks now and it has been perfectly suited for my needs!

Maywood Backpack

In other news, I hope you enjoyed my artsy photos that were definitely not taken in my back yard haha.

18 Responses to “Completed: The Maywood Backpack”

  1. The creative pixie June 18, 2020 at 11:30 am #

    The bag looks great. Sorry your finger suffered in the process.

    • LLADYBIRD June 19, 2020 at 8:35 am #

      Thank you! I’m not sure if it was worth the suffering but I’m glad I have both I guess lol

  2. V Reed June 18, 2020 at 11:32 am #

    Sometimes, I swear my rotary cutter is out to get me! I’ve had a couple of near misses of grabbing the exposed blade when I swore I left the handle at that angle!

    • LLADYBIRD June 19, 2020 at 8:36 am #

      OUCH that would be a very painful way to get injured!!

  3. Nancy Look June 18, 2020 at 12:56 pm #

    Love this backpack. You put me onto the Niizo kits and I love them. Have you checked out the Klum House kits?

    • LLADYBIRD June 19, 2020 at 8:36 am #

      This project was made with a Klum House kit.

  4. Louise June 18, 2020 at 1:02 pm #

    Love the leather straps! I am also addicted to backpack’s. I keep adding different features to them. Last ones have a zippered pocket on the side that goes against my back. Ha-ha pickpockets! Also add a tab for a lock or carabiner near the zipper pull and keep it locked up. They are really great for stopping along the road. You can keep it on your back while using rest stops. Thx for sharing, hope your finger gets better!

    • LLADYBIRD June 19, 2020 at 8:37 am #

      I’ve done the zippered side (and also against-the-back) pocket as well! I love adding those features 🙂 Great idea for adding a lock to the zipper as well!

  5. Deborah June 18, 2020 at 1:29 pm #

    Good to see you are back at the blog. Was a little concerned. I have a glove that I can use. My nemesis was with a knife while slitting a loaf of French bread just before putting in in the oven. Now I use a scissors!

    • LLADYBIRD June 19, 2020 at 8:38 am #

      I’m generally more active on Instagram 🙂 It takes a lot of time to keep the blog updated but Instagram is a little easier!

  6. Sprouse June 18, 2020 at 1:47 pm #

    This backpack is the shit. Momma likey.

  7. Heather Myers June 18, 2020 at 9:29 pm #

    Ohhh sorry to hear about the finger mishap! nice bag! Do you have hints on sewing waxed canvas? I have Niizo kits to sew up!😊 and don’t want to gum up my machine. Thinking of backing all seams with tissue paper?? Thanks.

    • LLADYBIRD June 19, 2020 at 8:39 am #

      It’s the same as working with any other fabric! Doesn’t gunk up your machine at all, I wouldn’t worry about backing the seams with anything. Just don’t use heat on it – it’ll melt the wax off. Finger press everything instead 🙂

  8. Merry June 20, 2020 at 10:34 pm #

    I’m with ya on stitches suck! I lost an argument between a butternut squash and my newly sharpened chef’s knife. Lost 5hrs waiting for my 8 stitches and a tetanus shot!
    I hope your stitch removal goes better than mine. (I rather have another tetanus shot).
    I’m now extra paranoid around ALL sharp objects. Heh heh.
    You have now had YOUR sharp tools life lesson and you still have all ten digits. Yay!
    Your bag is fabulous! Great inspiration. It’s on my to be ordered list. Thanks and I hope you heal up quickly.

  9. Carol June 21, 2020 at 1:10 pm #

    You heap s%&t on anyone and everyone, usually for NO reason. But no one is allowed to comment on your stupidity to hold a photo shoot, which IS a reason to comment. And it’s because you’re “allowed” to do it. Common sense be damned! Endangering lives for your own vanity. Redneck states are spreading Covid, but hope you got some purty pics!

    • LLADYBIRD June 21, 2020 at 3:48 pm #

      Hi! Thanks for your concern! We have been following the reopening phases of our “redneck state,” as well as CDC guidelines in terms of group size, cleanliness, mask use, etc. This “vanity” photoshoot is actually for work, since I (and the rest of the world) still need to earn income to pay bills and eat. Also, you don’t need to edit your curse words out on my blog. Feel free to use the real thing 😉 Have a nice day!


  1. 2020: A Year in Review | LLADYBIRD - December 31, 2020

    […] The Backpack Tote: So I love sewing backpacks, and this one was no exception! I made the Maywood Totepack (using a kit) early in the year and it’s been SUCH a great (and stylish!) way to carry all my shit around when I’m on set. I love that the straps convert to either a backpack or tote, I love the water-resistant exterior, and I even love the interior pocket that was responsible for me cutting off the tip of my finger. […]

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