Text and photos by Wendy Becktold
Before starting this project, I hadn't used a sewing machine since a seventh-grade home ec class, where I'd stitched together a stolid, beige shopping bag (an odd choice for a 13-year-old), which I still use. This early success wasn't enough to get me over my phobia of that sharp-toothed, fast-moving machine. But hey, people swim in the ocean even though it has sharks, right? I got my own machine for Christmas two years ago, but only recently decided to bust it out.
What You'll Need:
- Sewing machine
- Measuring tape and/or ruler
- Cutting mat
- Men's dress jacket (large or extra large)
- Snaps and/or buttons
- Iron and ironing board
If you're an experienced sewer, this project will be a cinch. If you're a novice like me, find an alpha sewer to guide you. Don't be shy—these people love to initiate others. The alpha sewer in my life was a bit like a therapist, coaxing me and my machine past our initial missteps. The evenings we spent together transforming a blazer into a compact backpack—cutting the fabric, chalking and pinning hemlines, stitching the seams—got me thinking about how I most often spend time with friends in some consumer-oriented way, like eating out or going to a movie. There's a unique pleasure in making something with someone, in finding camaraderie while building fresh neural pathways. Now I have a cool backpack and a good friend. Who knows what we'll make next?
Difficulty Level: 3/10 if you sew, 9/10 if you don't sew
Based on a project by Rob Czar at threadbanger.com.