The Cooper Backpack is hand's down the most used me-made item I have. It looks better than your typical backpack, yet is sturdy enough to withstand daily use...and oh boy, do I put this bag through the ringer.
I decided to use a waxed canvas for my exterior fabrics so that it could withstand the certain drizzle it would face here in Seattle. I use the backpack on my scooter rides into work, so water resistant was a must. I did a fair amount of research on waxed canvas before finding the best prices and selection from AL Frances Designs on Etsy. You should definitely pick up a set of swatches from the collection! It's so nice to be able to actually see and compare the colors you're thinking about.
When you're picking out your fabrics, be sure to take your sewing machine's strength into consideration. I don't have an industrial strength machine. Mine is strong and can sew through multiple layers of denim, but there were a few times with this pattern that my machine had a hard time. You end up sewing through about six layers of fabric - if your machine can't handle a heavy fabric, chose something lighter. Otherwise, just go slow and make your machine promises of a tune-up when you're done.
The hardest part about this pattern was finding the correct hardware. Most things came in large amounts and when you only need four jiffy rivets, a bag of a hundred seems extreme. But that's where we come in! We're now offering hardware kits for each of the three versions of the Cooper Bag to make the hardware search a little easier. The kits come in both silver and antique brass to match any fabric you choose.
The pattern itself is incredibly easy to follow and once you have all the supplies, it comes together within a few hours and it will quickly become a staple. Nate's already asking when he gets his own...