Home » Crafty Stuff » Hylian Shield (from the Legend of Zelda) Backpack

Hylian Shield (from the Legend of Zelda) Backpack

So I’d wanted to make myself a new backpack, in the design of the Hylian shield for ages, bought the stuff to make it, but didn’t get around to it.  But then Oz Comic-con came around, so I thought that was a perfect excuse to get to it.  So it’s finally done, and I’m quite pleased with it.

Hubby modelled it for me 🙂

(Purists will probably note that it’s not completely accurate, but I wanted them to be like that :P)

How I made it…

First I started with some vinyl and a shield pattern I’d composed from modifying the 2 templates I’d downloaded (here and here) – I used a graphics program to cut and paste the elements I liked into one design, and modified the sides. Which I then printed on A4 paper and took that to the copy shop to have it enlarged to A3 size.  So it would be big enough.

Then I used baking paper to trace the main shield part, cut that out and used that as the template to cut 3 from my vinyl – one blue and 2 grey.  I traced the template onto all 3, then I added extra seam allowance to the grey ones when I cut them out


Then I cut out the centre part from my baking paper template, and traced that onto one of the grey pieces, and then cut that middle section out

Then I put some glue (tarzan’s grip) on the grey piece, and carefully dropped the blue piece onto that to glue them together.  Using the traced line to make sure it was properly aligned (the blue piece should fit exactly where the traced line is)

Now, before you think “awesome, I’ll just glue this whole thing together and that’ll be quick and easy” – 3 things….  Firstly the glue didn’t stick completely for me.  Perhaps because I only put it on one side, not both (like the instructions say), but I wouldn’t trust it to hold everything securely, and you don’t want to ruin the bag by having pieces fall off and look bad…. secondly, the sewn look gives a FAR more professional and “finished” look to the bag, you just won’t get that same look by gluing everything.  Lastly, all the edges will curl up if they aren’t stuck/sewn down well, and you don’t want to get glue on the bag where people can see it.  So it is worth the extra effort to sew the details on rather than glue them on.

So, you’re going to want to sew that baby down.  My sewing machine sewed through it like butter, but I do have a fairly beefy machine.  If you have doubts your machine will handle this, I suggest buying a small swatch of vinyl and testing how well it sews.  The most layers I had to sew with this bag was 8, and my machine sewed that with no problems.  The vinyl seems thick and dense, but it seems to sew well.

Next step is to make 2 tracings of the shield details.  One can be a bit rough, the other needs to be precise.  You could do it with only one, but it’ll be easier on you if you take that extra step to make 2 of them.  You use one of them to cut out all the details from the red, grey and yellow vinyl.

Now, my plan was that I could use the other copy of my tracing as a guide to mark the placement of the appliqué pieces on the shield – by poking pin marks along the lines, so they would show up enough to use them for alignment.  However I found that vinyl has “self healing” properties, and all my pinholes just closed up again.  Buggerit!   So then what I did was cut out the design in my placement guide piece, and lay that over the shield, so I could put the appliqué piece into the hole I’d cut out.. to make sure it was in the exact spot it needed to be.  If that makes sense?

Here you can see I’ve cut out the 2 wiggly bits, and I’ve slotted a grey piece into the right spot.  So what I did was stab pins straight down to hold those pieces in their right spot, carefully lift the template up, and then use stickytape pieces to keep those pieces in place.  I’d use stickytape not glue, so you can reposition them if you make a mistake, without worry that you’re getting glue on the surface that’s not hidden.  You can sew over stickytape just fine – the needle holes from sewing make a perforated line to pull it off with, but it can sometimes get stuck under the stitches and need a bit of coaxing to get it all off.

Sew them down.  Now, here’s where you can learn from my mistake… I thought my template slot thing was foolproof, and I cut my triforce pieces so they were 3 separate triangles, and I thought it would be no problem aligning them….I stuck them down (though up until here I’d been using glue to stick them down, which was also a mistake here)

I was wrong, they shifted when I sewed them.  Partly because the glue dots I’d used still allowed the triangles to rotate slightly (especially since I hadn’t allowed it to fully set), but it wasn’t  helped by the fact the yellow vinyl had a slightly different finish and it was sticking to my presser foot… so I had to unpick them and do that again.  So I’d strongly suggest you instead cut it out so that they are all connected (click the pic below to see a closer view).  While that seems to look a bit weird, since that’s not how a triforce is, when it’s sewn, it does look fine…. and stickytape holds it in place better than dots of glue 🙂

Now the most fiddly bit – the bird part.  I’ve taken a photo here of some sewn down, and some taped on ready to be sewn.  Just go slow and do the best you can.

And you’re done!  That part anyway 😀

Now to make it into a bag.

I forgot to take a pic of the next step, but what I did was sew on some D rings to the back (the plain grey piece).  As it’s a backpack I’m making, I put 2 near the top and 2 near the bottom.  Then I made the gussets.  The easiest way to make a bag, by far, would be to just sew the back and front together, but it would be such a narrow bag you’d not fit much inside, so a gusset is unfortunately needed, and being a pointy shape, it’s a pain in the bum to sew, but that’s what you get for wanting something fancy 🙂  I first thought about having the gusset all the way around, with a zip in it… but then I realised that meant making all 4 points line up properly, and I gave up on that idea!

The gusset I made was 3 ruler widths wide (hence the lines :D)… so about 5-6 inches…  Measure how long the section is from the points on the sides, down to the bottom point (remember to measure the curve, not straight), and allow a few cm extra.  Since you’ve added seam allowance onto this, use the line you traced as the line to sew on.  So then sew one gusset piece on, then the next – leaving the very point unsewn.

Then sew the front to the gussets.  I trimmed some of the blue front part back a bit to make sure I was sewing on the line and that the blue vinyl wasn’t in the way (because that’s underneath the grey part of the front shield, so you can’t see – hope that makes sense)….   Then trim and pin those gusset ends together as close to the point as you can make it.

Sew where you pinned to seal the bottom of the bag.  I double stitched everything for extra strength.  Then turn the bag out the right way. Here’s where you’ll probably see that your gusset seam and points don’t align…. but meh

So turned out the right way, you’ll no doubt find that like I did, it makes a poofy effect that looks bad… so what you need to do is squeeze the seams and sew them. Again I don’t know how to explain that well, but hopefully if you see the below pic you’ll understand what I’m talking about.  It gives the edge a nice finished look, and makes the edges stay flat.  You won’t be able to get the sewn line right up to the point, because it’s a bulky unwieldy to thing to sew in those points, and the gusset is there making life difficult… so you can see I stopped where my machine started to have trouble.

Now… here’s where you probably want to deviate from what I did, because while mine is “good enough” – it’s not really sewn very neatly (looks awesome from a distance but up close you can see it’s not as good as it first appears – at least to me anyway lol), as I had no idea how to finish it once I got to this point, so I winged it.  but here’s what I did…

I cut sections for stabilising the top point (like a “facing” really) and sewed them (until just before I got to where the gusset joins)

Turned out the right way, you can see this gives extra thickness to the top point to stop it flopping about, and makes the top of the bag nice on the inside.  You could make that piece long enough to cover more of the bag I guess (I had planned on lining it in fabric, and I probably still will – just gluing the fabric up inside where that facing is at the top).   Now, to deal with the top of the gusset.  Fold it in half and sew a line down (like a dart) then cut off the part above that sewn line.  Don’t forget to topstitch that extra “facing” piece on the top point too to make that nice and neat.

To finish off the bag, what I did was hold the gussets closed at the top corners and did a few lines of stitching in the top stitching line that was already there, to sew the gussets together.  Again I hope I’ve explained that properly 🙂  It’s shown in purple below.  That was the best solution I could think of to close the top of the bag off like that, and it works.

Because I have a snap press, I put a snap on the inside near the top point, on those “facing” pieces, to keep the top of the bag closed.  Because I put the snaps on that “facing” piece they don’t show from the front/back of the bag, only the inside.  If want to use velcro or something, you’d want to likewise sew that onto the facing.   So as you can see, the bag is a bit rough in those corners, but I had no idea how to finish the bag off properly.

Here is the back, so you can see the placement of the D rings.  I ran out of grey vinyl, so I had to make the straps with joins, also I’d not really thought much about it, and cut them too narrow, so by the time I folded over the edges to hem (even though I folded over a tiny amount) the straps are a bit narrow, and folding over such a narrow amount meant I stretched it as I sewed and it went a bit wavy.  So I will have to buy more vinyl to replace them, and this time I’ll make the straps differently.  I’ll make them twice as thick as I want, so I can fold the edges into the middle for a wider hem (which should mean you don’t see the back of the vinyl too)… anyway, I was doing this at 1am and I wanted to finish it and get to bed, so it was a rushed job, but worked fine.

Ideally I would have liked to make it convertible, by using dog clips like I did when I made my velvet backpack bag… making a set of 2 shorter backpack straps, with clips on the ends so they clip onto the D rings instead of being sewn on, with one long strap so I can make it into a shoulder bag…. but I forgot to buy that sort of stuff, so I used the D rings I had.  I can always modify it later.


4 thoughts on “Hylian Shield (from the Legend of Zelda) Backpack

  1. How much vinyl did you need? I’m trying to make this for halloween and don’t want to end up half way through without enough material. My plan is to make it closer to the full size shield, so do you have any recommendations?

    • Umm, I don’t know. And it might depend on how wide the vinyl is. I actually bought the vinyl before I’d even planned how I’d make it or printed out the pattern/template, so I was just guessing how much I’d need.

      I think I bought about 30 or 40cm worth of the grey. I laid out the 2 shield pieces running down the width of the vinyl (though I can’t remember if I laid them lengthways or widthways down the fabric) and I cut the straps from whatever was left over…. which is why I didn’t have long enough strips left to do the straps in single pieces (but only by about 3 inches or so)…..

      If you’re making it to plan, then I’d suggest working out what size the shield will be (length and width), and what length straps you need (remembering the extra to fold over, and if you’re going to make them adjustable you need a lot more to allow for the doubled over part) and that should help you work out how much vinyl you need.

      eg if you can find out how wide the vinyl fabric is, and how wide your shields will be, you can then work out if you can fit 2 lots of that width down the length of the vinyl and still fit your straps in. Like this:

      (if you’re doing adjustable straps, or straps where you sew 2 pieces together so you don’t see the ugly vinyl backing, you’d need 2 pieces for each strap, if you’re not having adjustable, you need only one)

      If the fabric isn’t wide enough to fit your straps and 2 lots of the shield template in, then you can work out how wide the straps will be in total, and add that amount to however much you need to buy (eg if your straps were 2 inches wide total, and you need 4… and the shields 12 inches wide, you’d buy 20 inches of vinyl (though I’d round it up to about 24), and lay it out like this: https://obsigarden.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/image1b.png

      If cost isn’t as much of a concern, then it’s always better to buy more than you think you’ll need, and save the rest for some other project, then to find out you don’t have enough.

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