I have sewn a rucksack.

Bag on in my back garden

Pattern notes

This is the Merchant and Mills Right to Roam Rucksack. I made some Jack Tars for Lachie’s brothers last year but decided I wanted something that put the weight evenly across my back for me.

The bag is smaller than I was expecting, I think because the model in the photos on the M&M website is actually tiny whereas I am big.

Bag on in my back garden, including pink shed

It was an easy to follow pattern with some nice bits like the poofy pockets. I’ve used it a bit and it’s lack of structure makes it annoying for using to carry anything remotely bulky, but it is good for my day-to-day carry which is just wallet, keys, phone, water, work pass, headphones.

Front view of me wearing bag, laughing at something funny Lachie just said

The straps are unpadded, so you’re not going to want to carry anything heavy or awkward shaped in this.

Close-up of bag open bag with drawstring

One thing I dislike about this pattern is the drawstring. It just seems really poorly thought out - I have to secure it with just a knot? This pattern could definitely have included sewing the ends of the drawstring in somewhere. The eyelets for the drawstring are also pain to add in but that’s really about how bad I am at using a hammer than a pattern issue.

Fabric and notions

Close-up of bag hanging on door

I used oilskin in navy. Not dry oilskin but proper greasy oilskin. It’s so nice. It is oily and my hands very quickly felt very waterproof, but the patina on the fabric is just gorgeous. It is also very water resistant which is useful for a bag.

Close-up of bag open bag with lining visible

I used the barrier lining that Merchant and Mills also sell. This is to stop the things in your bag getting greasy. I had expected this to be kind of plasticky, but it just feels like a normal heavy tightly woven cotton really.

Close-up of bag open bag with drawstring

I used leather for the leather bits. I would have preferred not to use leather and initially I thought I could replace it with webbing, but some of the straps are quite narrow (1.3cm) so replacing it with webbing would have been a challenge. At least one person has done this on Instagram so it is possible.

I used the nickel set for the notions. Helpfully, Merchant and Mills sell the hardware set for this so you don’t have to track down all the things you need (you need a lot of hardware for this project)

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