Lucy Backpack by Swoon Sew A Long Day 1

I’m so excited it was requested for me to do a sew along for this pattern, because PJ really needed a new backpack for some traveling we have coming up.  This bag is the perfect answer to that dilemma. Lucy is such a fun and fairly easy sew, that this bag is sure to capture your heart.

We have to start somewhere…. 

A little bit about how I organize my projects.  Before I begin a new project, I start by writing out a notecard for our projects and placing them on my project board.  I like to have them front and center, so I am reminded each time I walk by what I have going on.  

We have 3 project boards in total.  The one on the left tells me the sewing projects I WANT to make and are on my "To Do" list.  The board on the right tells me what sewing projects are in process, I've started something on them, but they need finished.  The center board is where we keep all our Preorder and group projects listed.  

Each new project receives it's own note card.  The note card contains what I need to do to complete that project, as I complete a step I cross it off on the card.

This backpack is fairly small, more of a purse size, but It will hold a laptop, tablet, headphones and a few small things, so it's not tiny.  It’s just not full book-bag size.


Lucy offers so many of different options to alter her to your personal preference.  I just love how easy she is to adjust to my exact liking!  I will be using the following options and making the following adjustments to the pattern to make her mine this time around.  


  • I use the 2 strap method from the pattern, instead of using a zippered straps.
  • I'll be doing the sewn in (not grommet) version of the bag


  • I skip the closure strap down the center of the flap so I can embroider this piece. If you plan to do this along with us- you will need 1- 1" parachute buckle, instead of the strap and D rings.
  • I add a hanging strap, I like to be able to grab the backpack by the little loop.
  • 4- I'll be doing the sewn in drawstring (not grommet) version of the bag
  • I will be using vinyl for several pieces, including the flap front, exterior bottom, and the drawstring holder. 

Day 1- Choose fabrics, cut them out, fuse interfacing and embroider flap, if desired

I am using the Starlight Collection by Henry Glass for the body and lining of the bag and our Orange Marine Vinyl for the accent pieces (flap, exterior bottom, cincher panel, and parachute buckle closure straps)

2: Cut your fabrics and interfacing out

I use little yellow sticky notes to keep track of what I have already cut out.  Once I have cut a piece out I check it off.

- I usually cut my flap first and get that onto the embroidery machine so it can embroider while I work on cutting the rest of the pieces.  This just saves some time

- I used vinyl for the exterior bottom panel, the cincher panel, and the front flap, instead of the recommended fabrics.

- I skip cutting the closure straps, since I won't be using these.

- I cut 1- 2"x10” strip for the parachute buckles instead (this will be cut down to a 2”x 7” and 2”x3” strip for the parachute buckle straps.)

3: Fuse your interfacings to your pattern pieces

I don't own a steam press so this is a LONG and tedious process, but worth it in the end.   Make sure to follow the instructions carefully, there are some tricky pieces in there.

4:  Embroidering the flap

I always like to embroider the flap, I like the character it adds to the backpack.

I'll be using this super cute embroidery I found on Urban Threads

Isn’t he adorable?

I use a 5x7 hoop for my embroideries on this bag. 

I hoop a piece of tear away stabilizer, I bought mine on Amazon in precut pieces.

The steps I use to embroider the flap:

  • I hoop a piece of tear away stabilizer as shown
  • I usually do not use a spray tack, but on this particular project I decided to go ahead and use some, to see how it went. I used the Sulky 2000K spray I believe it is.  It’s low tack and my machine tends to not get angry with it.
  • I mark the center and bottom of the vinyl so I can center and position the design on the vinyl
  • For this one I used a heat disappearing pen, once the design was finished I placed a piece of muslin over the top of the flap, put my iron on 3 setting and ran the iron over the top of the flap- removing the pen mark 
  • I place my embroidery approx. 2.5” from the bottom
  • I “float” or lay my vinyl on top of the hooped stabilizer. Since I had some spray tack on there, I went ahead and pressed it down flat as well with my fingers. 
  • If you choose to float your vinyl, it does have the potential to shifts on you, so make sure to stay with it a few minutes until the stitching has begun and it’s attached to the stabilizer.

*Note about hooping vinyl* You CAN hoop your vinyl if you wish- I personally just find it harder to center just right.  If you do this you will end up with some hoop markings on your vinyl.  That’s ok.  You can press them out with an iron on low (I use setting 3 on mine) FROM THE BACK/ fabric side NOT the front vinyl side.  You want to your iron moving, but get the vinyl warm enough to become pliable and soft.  You can also iron from the front with a pressing cloth or piece of fabric (I used muslin) over the top of it.  Use the same technique.  Keep your iron moving so you don’t scorch the vinyl, but go over the areas several times until it becomes soft and pliable.  If you don’t get all the hoop markings out have no fear- they will ease out, usually by the time I’m done with my project J

IF YOU CHOOSE TO HOOP YOUR VINYL- MAKE SURE YOU CAN FINISH THE EMBROIDERY QUICKLY.  Do NOT leave your vinyl sitting hooped for days on end. 

I personally do not use stabilizer on top of the vinyl.  If you choose to use a stabilizer on top, you want a water soluble. 

I do loosen the tension slightly, usually only a point or 2, especially with marine vinyl so the stitches don’t sink into the vinyl.  This is particularly important if you are using a design with find stitches in it. 


That’s day 1!  Make sure to come back each day to see how we're progressing! 

Tuesday we will cover steps 2 and 3.  Sewing the back panel picket together and adding the straps to the back panel. 

Wednesday we will cover steps 4 and 5.  The flap and top trim

Thursday we will cover steps 6 (we will skip step 7) and 8.  The exterior body and the bottom panel

Friday we will cover steps 9, 10, and 11.  The lining pocket, lining assembly, and the final assembly.