Autumn is here and I have the perfect new leather bag kit for you for slinging on your back and kicking up the fallen leaves!
I've been toying with the idea of releasing a make your own backpack kit for ages. I wanted to create a stitchless version to follow in the footsteps of my bestselling bucket bag and mini bag stitchless kits. Having no need for needles or sewing machines, these craft kits allow anyone (from beginners to confident crafters) to make their own beautiful and functional leather bags at home with beautiful, carefully-sourced materials and minimal tools.
What will the new backpack making kit look like?
Lovers of my stitchless bucket bag kit will be pleased to know that the backpack kit is based on the bucket bag - the round base and rectangle body woven together with thick bridal vegetable tanned leather. It has a simple aesthetic where the process of how it is made is laid bare and becomes a detail. I've added a flap and a buckle closing as well as two adjustable backpack straps. Oh, and a nifty little grab handle for when you just want to pick up your bag and carry in your hands. All in beautifully thick yet supple grainy Italian vegetable tanned leather.
What colours can I make a backpack in?
There are 5 sumptuous autumnal colours to choose from - Rust, Black, and Pine Green (formerly deep green!) are part of the core collection whilst Burnt Sienna and Smog are new this season. Each colour blends really well with the others and you'll be able to contrast the straps with the main body of the bag to give your backpack a unique colour palette. Or, if you prefer mono colour, that is also perfectly possible!
- RUST - a robust, striking tan
- BLACK - an all round classic
- BURNT SIENNA - a gorgeous mellow red brown
- SMOG - a grey full of warm tones
- PINE GREEN - a deep green with hints of blue
These tones mix and match beautifully - which would you choose?
What's the leather like and is it sustainble?
The leather supplied in the backpack craft kit is supple yet thick. There are two textures of leather - the main body of the backpack is made from thick, supple grainy leather whilst the straps are made from stiffer leather (like a horses bridal).
I've sourced this leather from a tannery in Tuscany, Italy. This region is well known for it's vegetable tanned leather. Vegetable tanning means that the leather undergoes a preserving process (tanning) that uses plant and vegetable based matter rather than mineral or chrome tanning. Tanning agents are derived from oak and spruce bark, quebracho, tara pods, olive leaves, rhubarb roots and mimosa. It's a much slower process than chrome tanning taking up to 2 months (whilst some chrome tanned leather can be processed in a day). This slower process is kinder to the leather and preserves more of the natural fibres making it stronger and more durable. It is also kinder to the environment creating no toxic wastewater as is the case with chrome tanning. All the cowhides used to create the leather in the Tuscan tannery are a by product of the European beef industry.
Vegetable tanned leather will have a waxy surface that reacts to sunlight and the oils in your hands to develop a rich, unique patina over time. It also smells delicious!
How do you craft a leather backpack?
The kit arrives with all the leather pieces professionally die cut to the right size and shape. You'll also find that all the holes on the leather have been pre punched. All this tricky precision cutting has been done for you, leaving you to get on with the best bits - weaving the leather pieces together and bashing in a few strategically-placed rivets to build your backpack! I find this process incredibly absorbing and mindful. Mindful crafting! It is wonderfully satisfying to see the flat pieces of leather take on a 3D shape and finally a backpack.
As with my other kits, you will be supported every step of the way by a booklet of written instructions that are accompanied by clear diagrams of each step. There is also a unique link to a make-along video tutorial showing you up close how to put the backpack together. And if you still have questions, I'm on the end of an email! firstname.lastname@example.org
How big is it?
30 x 28 x 23cm / 12 x 11 x 9" (Width, Height, Depth)
Not too small, not too big. Perfect for phone, wallet, book, extra sweater, hat, gloves and snack. Boom! Ready for anything this winter is going to throw at you!
When will the new DIY backpack kit be available?
Most of the prep work has been done. I've made up samples and tested the backpack out for usability and durability. I've designed and had the the metal die cutting knives made. The instructions are due back from the printers any day now (I love seeing them in print!) and I'm in the process of filming the make along tutorial. The only thing to do now is wait for the leather to come from Italy.
So, short answer is middle of November - I am really trying hard to make this kit available before Christmas as I am hoping that it will feature on peoples' Christmas gift lists! I am hoping it will be worth the wait!
When I release it, I will make it available as pre order for a one week period. The kits will then be sent out the following week. This worked really really well with my clog kit back at the start of the summer as it helped me manage stock much more effectively and handle large order volumes (I'm still just a one woman band!)