Prototyping a Stuff-able Fanny-Pack

The idea for this project emerged from summer backpacking trips. We would get to camp, set everything up, and then go fishing, or for a walkabout. The only problem was, that we didn’t have a convenient way to carry a few essentials, like a jacket, snacks, water, etc. Our backpacking packs were much too cumbersome, and the brains (top portion of backpack) are not very comfortable to wear. So then, I imagined a small, packable fanny pack, which wouldn’t weigh much, keep itself out of the way, but still allow us to carry a few essentials away from camp.


This is the first prototype of this idea. It is still really rough, in my mind, but not as bad as most my initial prototypes.

To start, I sketched up an idea for a basic fanny pack. Volume would be created with a crescent shaped top and bottom panel, with a zipper running along the top. The top and bottom are attached with two rectangles that form the body and the back of the pack.

Here is the initial pattern, sorry for the bad picture.

Stuffable fannypack draft

The above picture shows the top and bottom panels, and the waist band.


This picture shows the waistband, the body panel and the back panel. The waist band is cut separately from the back piece. Again, terrible picture.

To measure the length of the curve, I measured with a regular tailors tape. After that, I cut the pieces out and walked the two pattern pieces together to double check. Doing this revealed that my first measurement was about and inch long. I’m not sure how that happened, but it’s an easy fix.


Here is the bottom sewn to the main body. I used a French seam to keep the nylon fibers from getting everywhere, and then top-stitched. Not my best top-stitching, but good enough for this experiment. The crescent is 3.5 inches deep at its apex, and adds a nice amount of volume.

Next, the zipper is attached to the body, right sides together. The zipper is then turned, and top stitched. The excess zipper length is cut off later, before the sides are joined.


I made a small cover for the zipper, to help shed water away from the zipper, and to give the bag a more professional look.


One side of the zip cover is interfaced to add a little rigidity. I sewed the cover onto the zipper first, and then sewed the top piece onto the zipper. The top piece is sewn to the zipper right sides together, turned, and topstitched.

To make the waist band, I first interfaced one of the two fabric pieces. These are sewn right sides together, with the webbing sandwiched in-between them. The narrow end of the band is sewn, while the wide end remains open to allow for turning. The length of webbing that becomes the buckle point actually runs towards the wide end of the waist band. It seems counterintuitive to run this length towards what looks like the body of the bag, but when everything is turned, the webbing will reverse its direction, and point away from the bag. I should have included a picture here for clarification.

Below is a picture of the finished waist band:

The webbing is not centered, but I’m just prototyping.


The waist band is attached to the edges the back panel, right sides together.

The back panel is then sewn to the back of the top and bottom panels, and to the sides of the body panel. I used a French seam here also.

Here is the finished prototype:


It’s not bad, but needs some improvements.

First, I need to stop the zipper short of the back seams. This will make for a cleaner corner.

Second, the zipper cover needs to be folded down, and sewn into the side seam to tack it into place, and also help to clean up the corners.

Third, I will reduce the height of the bag by about an inch or so.

Fourth, I need to incorporate a pocket into which the entire bag can be stuffed into.

I may also consider adding another, smaller pocket to the outside front.

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