Making a Drawstring Backpack

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Want to make something useful, and cute and uniquely yours? Try a drawstring backpack in the fabric pattern of your choice!

Materials you will need:

  1. Sturdy non stretch fabric of your choice. Consider waterproof or water resistant fabrics.
  2. (optional) Inner lining fabric of your choice, try waterproof fabric like baby diaper fabric to make a lining suitable for carrying ice packs to use as a lunch bag.
  3. Rope for back back straps, I chose glow in the dark rope for extra fun.
  4. Sewing machine or needle and thread.

Sewing Instructions

Think about how large you would like your drawstring backpack, you can make it any size you like!

Part 1:

Cut your fabric to the rectangle size you would like, making sure to double the fabric with the folded edge on the short side of the rectangle. You will have one long rectangle of the outside fabric and the same size rectangle or the inside fabric. Finish the edges of the long side of the lining and the outside fabric. If you have a serger you can finish the edges that way or you can choose either an over locking stitch or zigzag stitch to finish along both long edges of your fabric to avoid fray.

Part 2:

Next we need to make tab loops for the backpack straps. Cut some small strips about 2-3″ wide by 3-5″ long depending on the thickness of the rope you will use. Fold the long sides in to the middle and stitch together using a zigzag stitch. Do this to both pieces.

Part 3:

Fold outside fabric in half right sides facing with short sides together. Fold the short strips we just made in half, wrong sides together. At about an inch up from the bottom fold, stick folded edge of one short strip in between the folded outside fabric rectangle and pin in to place. Repeat on the opposite side. Stitch the long sides from folded edge, stopping 2″ from the top short edge. With right sides together stitch lining material closed on the long sides also stopping 2 ” for the top edge.

Part 4:

Now, turn outside of backpack right side out, and put in side lining. Make sure right sides of the outside material and lining are facing each other. Pin short edges together and stitch across the to of each short edge. With the two inch gap we left at the beginning this will leave us a small opening on either side of the backpack. Pull apart lining and outside fabric. Reach into one side opening and turn the whole backpack right side out. When completely pulled right side out. Stuff lining inside outer fabric.

Part 5:

We will next create the channels in which the rope will run to cinch the backpack shut. With backpack right side out, stitch across the top of each side of the back pack about at the place where the side seam stops. This creates a channel between the lining and outside fabric the feed the rope through.

Part 6:

Measure out two lengths of rope. They each should be, at minimum, slightly longer than double the length of one long side plus one short side, leaving slack for making knots at each end. Feed one rope in one channel, when it reaches the other side, continue into the channel on the next side and pull through until a U is created so both ends of one piece of rope end up on the same side, hanging evenly. Repeat this process starting on the other side of the backpack with the second piece of rope, feeding the second rope into the same channels on top of the first rope.

Now one side of the backpack should have the two ends of the same rope and the other, the two ends of the other rope. Feel both tails of the ropes in the the loops at the bottom of your backpack. Tie knots in the ends of the ropes to secure in place. If the loops are too wide to stop the knots from slipping back through, just stitch the a line down the loop to make the loop opening smaller.

You did it!

Fill you backpack with your favorite things, pull the straps to cinch closed and start your adventure! Keep in touch and let me know how your backpack turned out. Did you add any special extras to yours? Let see them. Got some fun beginner projects you want to see me try out? Tell me here!

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