Tuesday, June 5, 2012

50 – A kanga backpack

Kanga or khanga. We all know kanga cloth. It is a piece of cloth with lots of uses. It is colorful and always goes well with any other color. These kanga cloths are beautiful.

Today we are going to use kanga cloth to make a simple backpack that can be used by children, young people, adults and even our older people. Why not?

These backpacks can be made by almost anyone with some basic sewing skills. These backpacks can be sold in the market or in shops. They are very easy to make and do not use a lot of material.
First, we cut a rectangle of kanga cloth with about 80cm by 30cm. When cutting this rectangle we can follow the design on the cloth or not. This piece of cloth will be for the body of the backpack.

Now we cut two small pieces of cloth. These can be of the same cloth or of a different cloth, like some remnants from some other sewing job. These pieces are about 12cm by 8cm and will be used to make the small loops on each side of the backpack where the shoulder straps will be tied.

Finally we cut two pieces of chord, or thin soft rope, with a length of about 150cm each. These pieces of chord will be used to make the shoulder straps of our backpack.
That is it. This is all we need. We can now start sewing all the pieces together.

We will start with the small loops. These are a bit narrower in the middle and a bit wider at the two ends. This way the shoulder straps will move easier and the loops will have more support from the stitches that fix them to the backpack bag.

After sewing as shown by the temporary white stitches we turn these loops right side out leaving the hems on the inside.

We fold the large piece of cloth in a half and we fix these loops to the bottom edges of the bag, one on each side of the bottom of the bag.
Now we can sew both edges of the backpack bag all the way but not quite to the top. We need to leave some space to form the hems at the top of the backpack. These hems will receive the shoulder strap chords.

Once finished, these hems should look like this:

And the bag of the backpack is finished!

We turn the bag inside out and thread the chords for the shoulder straps.

Like in the picture, these chords for the shoulder straps should be threaded one on each side.

The end result is like this:
The shoulder straps should be tied to the loops with a simple knot. That way we can remove them to be washed or replaced, and when we want to wash the backpack. It is much easier to wash, dry and press, if you are so inclined, the backpack without the shoulder straps.

In the end we have our kanga backpack. It is ready!

Came out pretty nice, didn’t it?

Now go and make your own.

You can make them for yourself, to give away to friends as presents, or to sell them!
I wish I had some kanga cloth. The model would have come out much nicer!

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