The First Backpack Made 90% Of Recycled Materials

in NeedleWorkMonday2 months ago (edited)

My plan has not been to make backpacks but my sister in law asked me to make one for her and I haven't said no. I've never made any before, so it's been a huge challenge for me, but finally I've been able to finish it and here I am, showing it to the whole world.



Recycling, Reusing, Repurposing

If you're reading my blog, you know I'm a big fan of the 5R and doing what I can to stop waste. Most of the materials I've used here are recycled. Denim, lining, paper for the stencil, some of the metal parts, the metal zipper, the hardener for the back, these are all repurposed. The only new things are the long zipper, the thread, two metal pieces for the straps, interfacing (that can't be reused or recycled) and that's all.


This is how it started. This is a trapezoid jeans, which I truly hate but when it comes to sewing, this in fact is a blessing as i got more denim to work with.


I was able to cut out the front and the back from the two legs, keeping the original merging in the middle. I wanted this as that line looks good.


The Front And The Pocket

At first I thought I'd make the front simple, without anything but then I thought That's the part people are looking at the most when they see the backpack, so I might as well make it unique. I had this pocket, the original pocket of the jeans, perfect for the job. Then I thought I should make a zipper pocket so my sister in law can keep some things in it. Here started the complications as i had to create a bigger pocket with limited fabric.


As you can see, the jeans was of a kid and not very big, so I needed to add more fabric plus the zipper. That zipper you see on the photo above is also a recycled one, from another pair of jeans. It's brown but I thought the metal would go well with the design.


This is how I wanted the pocket to be.


This is how the pocket is done. The truth is I wanted the upper side the same but could not do it due to the lack of fabric, so I had to make a compromise and go for the plain, zipper style.


Straps And Accessories

This is where I got into trouble. The original video I thought it would guide me from the beginning to the end was not accurate, the work the woman did was perfunctory, so I needed to look for another one that could be trusted. So I choose my favorite user and found what I needed.

These straps are 100cm x 7.5cm and came out perfect. I know it's not nice to praise my own work but I'm content with the result.


The rest I'm not so proud of. This is the part where the straps are merged with the backpack. This must be done properly as it has to resist the weight. That's why I used silk thread, specially made for these type of works.


It's not easy to work with this thread as it's very slippery and doesn't fit my thread holder. There's a special holder for this one, i believe for this size that you place on the table but I don't have it, so i needed to improvise.

The other problem was the thickness of the fabrics I had to work with. My sewing machine is a small one, more for hobby sewing, you know, change the zipper, shorten some pants, that type of work, not at all for what I'm using it for. But it is what it is, I need to find a way to do the work i need to, so you can see the sewing is far from nice on the third piece of the collage but at least it's strong.


The Back

This is the back of the backpack, with the handle and the ears already attached. I'd say looking at it like this doesn't look so bad 😜


I wanted to create the perfect backpack, so I thought I would use something for the back, to protect the user from feeling every piece that has in the backpack. The material you see above is like a thin foam, most likely has a name but i have no clue what it is called. It's recycled material as well, as I got it with the couch and kept it for later. Now it came in handy as that's what I needed.



The back with the lining and two pockets. The lining is made of a shirt, obviously.


The front part of the lining, for which I thought I'd use the original pocket of the shirt, which is perfect for an ID or driving license.


The 50 cm long zipper part.



This was the part where I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and despite all the mistakes I made, I was happy.


Putting together the pieces was not easy. Again, my sewing machine is not made for this kind of work but I did it anyway.


This part had to be done by hand and took me two days to finish it.




I'd say this was the hardest I've ever done. Time consuming, full of challenges and not exactly friendly. I'm glad it's done, I'm glad it's fairly ok but I doubt I'm going to make another one like this. I was thinking to make one for myself but I have another design that it is easier and faster. Maybe I'm going to do it one day.


#NeedleWorkMonday founder: @crosheille
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What a cool shape, @erikah! Wonderful job on this bag! 🤗

Awww, and I get a hug! Aren't you a gentleman 😍
Thank you very much for the nice words and I'm really glad you like it 😌 have a nice day my friend.

Looks really awesome! I love creations that are made of recycled material and the way you used the pocket was a good choice.

Many thanks, I'm doing what I can to stop waste and always looking for a new idea.

Denim is such a good material to use again. Almost anywhere! Here's one of my creations. About 10 years ago so a bit worn out but still in use. The chair itself is inherited from my parents and looks like a 70's piece so it's at least 40 years old.


Lol, how funny is life indeed. I'm planning to redo my office chair as it needs some improvement and you're posting this image.
I love it, it's very retro, my style. Thanks for the photo!

Perhaps you soon have a denim office chair. :)

I hope next week if everything goes well, or the week after that 😊

I am 100% with you about the 5R!!Great bag!

Thank you!

Hello @erikah! Your post was selected by our staff on behalf of the OCD Community Incubation Program and has received an OCD upvote! Congratulations!!! Please keep sharing these quality posts :)

Written by @crosheille for the NeedleWorkMonday Community ~

Happy and grateful, thank you very much @crosheille 🤗

Beautiful! Though hard to make but result is nice bagpack!

Thank you. It gave me headaches for a week but it's done now.