Inspiration file 46
An eye-catching backpack with echino fabric


Etsuko Furuya’s “echino” fabric collection has fascinated you with its evocative patterns and dramatic color combinations including purple, orange, blue and vibrant tints. This is the 10th year since echino came on the textile scene, and the long-selling fabric line is still amongst the most popular fabrics produced by Kokka.
The echino fabrics, which are available at any fabric stores, are surprisingly used for handcraft projects and then posted on Flickr by a lot of sewing lovers.

The backpack in the above picture was made by Kayo Shimizu who is a big fan of echino prints. As she used to be a fashion pattern maker, Shimizu is an expert at sewing. She sewed this backpack at the request of her friend. Shimizu says, “I was fond of this fabric’s remarkable coloration. Red hydrangea-like flower with a beige background was very likable. Blue color was laid on just next to the red flower. The contrast of those colors was just striking for me.”

Animals are seen throughout in the “echino forest”. Such a playful fabric allows you to be creative on how to arrange animal patterns. In fact, Shimizu showed an okapi at the front pocket which is the most imposing part of the backpack.

She continues, “A front pocket was one of my friend’s demands for the bag. I thought that a design with animal looking up would be perfect for the front pocket. That is the reason I used this fabric. I shaped the pocket to make the okapi appear more effectively. I could place the pattern of leopard on the back, too.”

Shimizu, who had never made a backpack before, designed this one by comparing and investigating various kinds of backpack. She looks back at the production process, “Since I didn’t want to make a cheap-looking bag, I sandwiched a heavyweight fabric in between outer fabric and lining fabric for stabilization and perfect finish. The padded back and bottom were sewn on the machine. For the shoulder straps, I looked for a filling material. While many backpacks’ strap pads are made with lightweight fillers, I used a cushion with the thickness of 2.3 centimeters. As you guessed, I had a lot of trouble to sew such a super thick stuff on a machine. Through trial and error, I found that one of my machine’s features, “basting stitch”, would help me. By basting, it could be thinner so it was enough to be sewn by lockstitch. Of course I didn’t forget removing the basting thread after then.”

What gives the backpack snap is the pink zipper. But she expresses discontent, “I can hardly find brightly-colored zippers in regular fabric stores. I wish I could buy colorful zippers at directly-managed shops of Kokka.” Quite so. It must not be easy at all to find suitable supplies for echino fabric with bright and saturated contemporary colors. Wouldn’t it be nice if more handicraft supplies including zippers and buttons could be available at Kokka?

Anyway, the backpack with the eye-catching print is perfect for the coming season.