Sunday, May 13, 2012

Let's Make a Cute Little Backback

Here's a pattern I devised for a cute little backpack. I made it for my niece, who is a Minnie Mouse fan. If you would like to make your own, then the instuctions are here....
Please note that the pattern pieces represent the sewing lines, not the cutting lines, therefore you will need to ADD SEAM ALLOWANCE. I added 1cm to mine.
You will require the following materials

  1. Main fabric
  2. Contrast fabric
  3. 2.5cm wide webbing - 2 pieces 15cm long and 2 pieces 55cm long
  4. Thick interfacing
  5. x2 2.5cm D rings
  6. x2 2.5cm strap adjusters
  7. 1 m cord for the draw string
  8. Fray Stopper liquid
  9. 1 hammer in press stud
  10. Make the pattern on grid or pattern paper. To create the curved edges, use a cup as a template.

 Cut the following pieces:
x2 front and back from main fabric, contrast fabric and interfacing
x1 of base from main fabric, contrast fabric and interfacing - the base has curved edges.
x1 of flap from main fabric, contrast fabric and interfacing - the flap has two curved edges.
x1 of top handle from main fabric. Cut one from interfacing, but omit the seam allowance from the long sides.
x1 of casing from contrast - cut on the fold of the fabric, so your resulting length of the casing is 81cm.
x2 of pocket from main and interfacing
x2 of pocket lining from contrast

I used bonded nylon thread which is much stronger than ordinary cotton thread, and it gives a more professional looking finish. You will need to obtain this from an industrial thread supplier or try ebay. Because the thread is thicker, use a "jeans" or "leather" needle.
front and back

Baste together the interfacing to the front and back pieces.  To save time, I used little blobs of fabric glue along the seam edges. With right sides together, sew the front and back pieces together along the vertical edges.
 Press open the seams, and top stitch 3mm from the centre of the seam, left and right.

 Pockets - with right sides together, sew the contrast and main pieces together. You will notice the contrast is longer than the main, as the top edge of the contrast becomes the top part of the front of the pocket.
 With right sides together, line up  the bottom egdes and pin them. With the top edges, concertina them as shown above, so the folds make a "z" shape. If you added 1cm seam allowance then each fold is 1cm.
 Sew along the two vertical sides of the pocket. Open right side out and you should have a pocket which resembles the above pic.

 With centres matching, sew the pocket to the side of the bag along the vertical sides and the bottom edge.

 Top Handle - baste the interfacing to the centre of the wrong side of the fabric. Press to the inside the long sides of the handle, ie: the seam allowance.
 Fold the handle along the centre fold line. Top stitch along the long sides. It should look like the above pic.
Baste the handle to the top edge of the back of the bag. The distance between each handle should be 8cm, with each handle being placed 4cm from the centre of the bag.
 D Rings - Loop 15cm of webbing through the ring. With all edges matching, top stitch a rectangle to secure in place.
 Baste the D rings to the bottom edge of the back of the bag. Each ring should be positioned 8cm from the centre of the bag back, ie: 16cm apart from each other.

 Strap adjuster - seal one edge of the 55cm strip of webbing with Fray Stopper liquid.
Thread the webbing through the D ring as shown above, with 5cm of webbing hanging out the end (on right hand side of the pic)
 Stitch together this 5cm piece to secure as shown above.
Thread the webbing through the D ring, as shown above.
 Now thread the webbing back over the adjuster and pull to adjust length.
 Baste the webbing to the top back edge of the back of the bag. Each webbing strap should be placed 6cm from the centre line of the bag.
The finished straps on the back of the bag.

Sew the base to the bag with right sides together. When sewing around the corners, clip the edges almost to the seam allowance so the bag body can bend to match up with the curves of the base. Turn inside out and press.
Bag Lining - with right sides together, sew the front and back together and press seams. Sew this to the lining base in the same fashion as the main bag.
 With wrong sides facing, baste together the bag and the lining.

Flap - baste the interfacing to the wrong side of the main fabric. With right sides together, sew the contrast to the main along the side and front curved edges. Turn inside out, press seams and top stitch. With centres matching, baste the flap to the cente back top edge of the bag over the top handle and straps.
 At the centre front top edge of the bag, there will be a small section of raw edge visible once the casing is attached, so this needs to be covered up. Cut a piece of contrast 4cm x 5cm (this includes seam allowance) With centres matching and right sides together, sew the contrast piece to the bag with a 1cm seam allowance, as in the below pic.

 Press in 1cm from the bottom of the contrast piece. Fold the piece back to the inside of the bag, and slip stitch along the pressed line to the bag lining. The centre top of the bag should now be neatly concealed. Fold in seam allowance of the short edges of the casing and stitch.
 Find the centre of the casing and match it up with the centre of the back of the bag. With right sides together, pin the casing to the top edge of the bag. Ensure the flap is facing down so it is out of the way. The front edges of the casing should overlap the little scrap piece that you just added in the previous step. (see above photo) Stitch the casing to the bag. On the other long edge of the casing press in the seam allowance. Fold the casing to the inside of the bag, and hand sew it to the lining.
 Your bag should now look like this. On the outside of the casing, top stitch 2mm along the bottom edge of the casing.
Cut the cord 1m long. Dip each end in Fray Stopper. Thread the cord through the casing with a safety pin.
 Add a hammer in press stud to the flap and hammer in the other side of the stud to the front section of the bag. You are now finished!
 Side view
 Back view
Back pack with flap open.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you do make one of my back packs, post a picture on your blog and leave me a comment so I can have a look at your finished product.

Material purchased from Marunan Shibuya, webbing from Okadaya and cord from Daiso.
Happy sewing!


  1. What a great tutorial!

    And that's one cute backpack! :)

  2. That is seriously cute! It's JUST what I need for my camera! ^^

  3. oh my gosh!!! I'm making this as soon as I get my sewing machine!!
    great post!