By: DS


  • Cotton Fabric

    I used white cotton muslin. For the coloring, I used RIT dye in a 1-part Dark Green to 0.7 parts Dark Brown. Use about 1 ounce of dye to 2 quarts of water. Add some salt to help distribute the dye. Wet the cotton fabric and immerse in the dye bath. Stir continuously, and check about every five minutes. I cut a small piece off the corner, rinse out the dye, and dry with an old iron on low heat. This way you can see the color that the fabric will be when it dries. If it's too light, give it another 5 minutes. Typically, it takes about 15 minutes for the right shade.

  • Satin Ribbon

    The straps were made from 1/8" satin ribbon. I've never found the right color, so I dye it. This is not a natural material, but it can be colored. I start with a "moss green" color and simmer it in a strong concentration of 1 to 1 Dark Green to Dark Brown RIT dye. The secret to dyeing man-made fabrics is that the shade is not affected by the time in the dye bath, as much as the concentration of dye. If it won't get darker, add more dye.

  • Plastic Canvas Buckles

    The large buckles are made from black, 10 count, plastic canvas. This is found in craft stores and on-line. It is available on-line from the "Yarn Yard" at If you won't or can't order it on-line, but can find the clear version, you can color it using a very strong solution of black dye.

    Each buckle is created by cutting out 4 connecting squares of canvas. Remove the vertical divider between the top two squares. Slice the top of the vertical divider between the bottom two squares.

    To use the buckle, attach it to the item through the top loop, and then feed the adjustable strap over the middle horizontal rail and then behind the "tang".

    The small buckles are 14 count black plastic canvas. Same source as above. For these style buckles I use 6 adjoining segments. Remove the dividers between the top two pair of holes, then cut through the top of the bottom divider. This creates a locking tang.

    Attach the dead end of the buckle by threading the strap through the top loop. I use a loop of 0.02" brass wire to draw the strap through the buckle loop like one of those needle-threading tools. Secure the end of the strap with thread or a drop of glue.

    Feed the live end of the strap through the middle loop and back under the tang in the lower loop.

  • Grosgrain Ribbon

    This can be found at fabric stores. The 3/8" width in Olive Drab is needed. If you can't find this locally, try the Ribbon Place at . They sell it by the yard.

  • Radio Supports

    The radio supports are fashioned from styrene stock. This is produced by Evergreen Scale Models and available at hobby shops. The vertical pieces are 1/4" x 0.03" strip stock, and the "shelf" is 3/16" angle. The pieces were glued with cyano-acrylate adhesive and painted with acrylic paint.


Fold a 2 1/2" x 5 1/4" rectangle of fabric, wrong-side out, in the middle of the 5 1/4" length. Stitch approximately 3/8" from each side to create a 1 3/4" wide center section. Turn this "bag" inside out and square up the corners. This should create a rectangle, approximately 1 1/2" x 2 5/8".

Cut the 3/8" Grosgrain ribbon the width of this new rectangle. Attach this to the bottom of the rectangle with a single stitch-line approximately 1/16" from the edge.

Position another piece of ribbon 2 1/4" from the bottom edge. Run the stitch line along the top edge of the ribbon.

(I found that I had to construct it this way, because my sewing machine couldn't handle 4 layers of fabric and the ribbon near the corners of the piece.)

The shoulder straps are fashioned from a piece 5/8" x 6" fabric. For straps this thin, I found it easier to draw a line down the middle of the 6" length and then fold each side over until it touched in the middle. The extra length allows for starting and ending the stitching along the edges. The two halves are cut to 2 1/2" length. This process also helps to keep the straps close to the same width. The one end of each strap is folded back 1/4" and stitched in place.

The large buckles are attached to the straps with a loop of 1/8" x 3/4" satin ribbon. This is secured approximately a 1/2" from the finished end.

The completed straps are attached to the flap of fabric above the top 3/8" ribbon. I aligned the inside corner approximately 1/8" above the top of the ribbon, and the outside edge lines up with the top corner of the ribbon. This gives them about a 12 Degree angle.

When finished, the top flap is fold forward. I secured this flap by lifting the top Grosgrain ribbon and stitching underneath. This operation is optional. There are 6 lines of stitching that will eventually hold the flap in place.

The 1/8" x 3 3/4" satin ribbon pieces were tacked in place with glue under the top edge of the lower 3/8" Grosgrain ribbon. Next, seam the two outside edges, locking the satin ribbon in place.

The two 1/8" x 5" satin ribbons were pinned in place. Align the top one below the upper Grosgrain ribbon, and the second one 3/8" lower. Allow the ends of the ribbons on the left hand side, (facing forward) to project 2 1/2" from the side of the harness. Secure these with the vertical stitching.

Run the first line, 3/16" from the edge, and the second line, 5/16" from that one. These form the channel that the radio supports fit into.

The radio supports were trimmed for length, (since my sewing is far from an exact science, I left plenty of extra material). The important dimension is to maintain a 1/2" distance from the bottom edge of the middle 1/8" satin ribbon and the top surface of the 3/16" angle "shelf". This will ensure that the straps line up with the groves on the radio.

Cut the supports about 3/16" shorter then the distance from the top and bottom horizontal stitching in the Grosgrain ribbon, maintaining the spacing specified above. Round the corner of the 1/4" stock to make it easier to slide the strips under the Grosgrain ribbon. Insert the top end under the two upper ribbons and into the pocket in the top of the pack. Next, carefully bend the lower end until you can slip it under the lower Grosgrain strip. The trick is not to bend any one point too much, try to distribute the curvature along all of the exposed length.

Finally, add the small buckles to the ends of the top two 1/8" ribbons and strap down the radio.

Outstanding work David! Special thanks for sharing your skills with all of us. Sharp Salute! -- GL


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