Pattern matching using the Trekoda backpack

I bought this really cool canvas fabric from Bombay Stores through Etsy. I’m using this, some faux leather and polka dot cotton from my stash for a Trekoda backpack. The hardware and zips are from Country Cow Designs. I love rainbow stuff! I thought this was a perfect opportunity to show you how to achieve a successful pattern match on something fairly small so that the picture is complete over the whole front piece.

Trace the print onto pattern

First I used greaseproof paper (I didn’t have any tracing paper) to draw out the full pattern piece of the finished front. With the Trekoda pattern, it’s pattern piece K. This is for the back piece, the lining front and lining back. It also includes the foam which is used for the front piece.

Then I laid my pattern over the fabric. I selected this part right next to the selvedge. The pattern repeat is 3 times over the full width of my fabric. For a successful match, you need to make sure you have the same bit of the pattern repeat a few times. I then traced through the design. For this blog lets call it pattern piece Z so you know what I’m on about.

Trace off the easy bits

For all the pieces used for the front, I’ve traced the opened out pieces onto greaseproof paper. The pattern pieces come on the fold but for this process its much easier if we have the full pieces.

I started with piece A, the front top. I laid it on top piece Z and traced the design onto it. I also drew a line on piece Z to indicate the bottom of piece A. The seam allowance included is 1cm so I drew another line on piece Z, 1cm above the where the bottom of piece A finishes. Lets call it line A for now. This will be the stitch line and important later on.

Next lay piece H, the slip pocket back, onto piece Z. This lines up with the bottom of piece Z and overlaps the line A by 1cm (that overlap is the seam allowance). Again the design is traced through.

Trace the flap

The flap was a little more tricky. I had to find the centre line of both piece Z and piece B. I did this by folding them in half. I marked a line 1cm down from the top of piece B. This is the stitch line which goes through line A so I’m calling it line A as well. I then laid piece B with both line A and centre lines matching. I traced the design through. As I said earlier, I did mine in greaseproof paper but for the purpose of the photo so you can see what’s happening I’ve used the regular printer paper.

I didn’t need to draw the flap onto piece Z as it has no bearing on anything else.

Lower half/pockets

Piece G, the front pocket, is straight forward. It’s placed with the base of pieces Z and G lined up. The design is traced through onto G and the top of the piece G is drawn onto Z. I’m going to call this line B.

Now it gets a bit more complicated and hopefully I don’t lose you.

The zip will be sewn in with a quarter inch seam allowance. So I need to draw another line half an inch down from line B (this is a quarter inch seam allowance for piece G and a quarter inch seam allowance for the zip). This is line C.

The zip is laid down against line C and a line drawn along the top of the zip. This is line D.

Gosh this is complicated and I hope you’re still there!

Again the zip will be sewn with a quarter inch seam allowance so I need to mark another line half an inch down from line D. This new line is line E.

Finally piece C can be laid against line E and the design traced through.

Checking my design all lines up

Now all the pieces are traced, I laid it all in place to check that the actual design lines match up on each piece.

Phew! That was a lengthy process!

Once everything is cut out, you can’t change anything. It’s all in the cutting, it’s so important that you take your time when pattern matching to check everything before you cut it out. Once it’s cut, it’s irreversible.

Then I could finally make the bag!

I forgot to take a photo of the whole lay but I did take a photo of my stupid cat, he always tries to lie on fabrics when I have them on the floor. The rest of the pieces for the zipper gussets, straps, etc I cut around the front pieces.

In the end I didn’t have enough fabric to match piece H. I decided as you only see a small amount of it, I would have to let it go. I managed to get a piece with some pink roof so it matches on the right side but not quite on the left. I wonder if you can find it!


I love this bag and I have worn it a couple times and had many compliments. But I did it more as an exercise in pattern matching for my blog rather than to keep for myself. If you want to buy it, it’s available to buy in my shop for £75. I will post to anywhere in the world. The price is my costs to buy fabric, hardware, postage, etc and doesn’t include my time to make it. I just enjoy experimenting and writing.

Thanks for reading.

Rosie xx

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