My niece happened to mention her favourite bag was falling apart, so we discussed what she wanted - a backpack that could be carried as a shoulder bag - and I sent her links for the various patterns I knew of;
1. The 3-in-1 Convertible Backpack from Lisa Lam’s book A Bag for All Reasons
No doubt there are more, but these were the ones I suggested. She liked the look of the Cosmo Convertible by StudioKat Designs. By happy chance my local sewing shop stocks those patterns, one of only two stockists in the entire U.K.
This bag just uses fusible fleece for interfacing, and as my niece said she wants one that doesn't slouch (so she can see inside easily) I asked Kat if it would work with Soft & Stable instead. She said it would work provided I kept it out of the corners to reduce bulk. That's what I love about indie designers, they talk to you! So I popped round to Sew Creative and got the pattern.
Gingher 6" Applique Scissors
Happily I have been well trained in using and trimming ByAnnies Soft and Stable by Christine (ChrisWDesigns) having made seven Stow-it-All bags with it to date. As a result I had invested in a good pair of applique scissors, especially for trimming it out of the seams!
Next I chose the fabrics and assembled the hardware. I already had this newsprint canvas from e-bay. The combination of newsprint plus red white and blue flags is bright and cheerful. It also decided exactly how I should piece the front pocket flap! I will use the plain red or navy cotton for the lining and contrast.
To be convertible it uses quite a bit of hardware. I bought my invisible magnetic snaps and rectangular sliders from Bobbin Girl here in the U.K. I chose the 1" rounded tri-glide sliders as they best matched the shape of the clips I am using. The pattern calls 1 1/4" D-rings which I found here on e-bay, everyone else only had 1" or 1 1/2". I already had the necessary zippers and O rings.
So did you guess this was how I would do the pocket? It's not a proper Union Jack, but it's close enough! I used Kat's free pdf download to piece the flap in red and blue, then added some white grosgrain ribbon over the seams for more of a flag effect. I decided to use the blue for the pocket itself.
This was the first time I had used invisible magnetic snaps, and I really like them. You can't see them, but you can hear them snap, so I did this little video for you!
I chose the red to use for the lining and a red separating (Open End) zipper for the top closure. Rather than use a fabric cap for the zipper end, I decided to try one of these metal ones from u-handbag.
The opening is quite wide, and in the end I did add a fabric cap to the zipper end in order to pack it out more so the two little grub screws could get a good grip! It is quite heavy, but it looks very smart. The extra length means the bag can open wide too.
I also fitted another magnetic key fob from Bag Clasps Ltd, fixing it to one of the strap holders before fitting it to the bag. I made the little key ring using one of my Emmaline Bags "handmade" zip pulls. I bought mine direct from Janelle a few years ago, but you can now get them in the U.K. from Bobbin Girl (along with those gorgeous heart shaped twist locks!)
So here is the finished bag showing the bright red lining, AND that it can stand open so you can see what is inside easily, just as my niece wanted. There are no pockets inside, to give maximum space, but also so you can fit a Porta-Pockets insert inside if you want!
This is the back of the bag, showing the zipped pocket. I used a navy blue zipper so as not to go overboard with the red. I also decided to use the newsprint for the strap and clip holders rather than the contrast simply as I preferred the look that way round.
This shows the straps re-arranged to fit over the shoulder. It is rather snazzy!
Now a couple of things I noticed when trying this bag on for size; a) I can wear it cross-body without the strap extenders, but it's not for me so my niece may need them. b) the way I made it the straps are exterior side out in the backpack version. When changed to the shoulder bag version the straps are lining side out.
This may not suit, so I may undo the straps and add hooks to attach them to the O rings, as that will allow them to turn and be exterior side out for both versions. It will also give the added option of using just one strap across the top for the shoulder bag, leaving the other one in the backpack position rather than having both across the top as in the picture above.
The Cosmo Convertible, as modelled by me in the Spring sunshine, in all 3 configurations.
However, as my niece has 2 hyper active young boys, I think she will want a quicker change so I unpicked the straps and added another hook on each. It doesn't look much different set as a backpack above.
But now all she has to do to convert it to a shoulder strap is unclip one bottom hook and swing it round to clip on the spare ring at the top on the other side. The other strap can stay put or double up, plus the straps swivel so they are right side out. Done, and ready for collection!