Monday, December 3, 2012

DIY Backpack Pattern

I work full-time, so my 2 boys go to Mimi's house every day. They usually want to take a favorite toy (more accurately 5 or 6) with them. We are usually in a hurry to get out the door and it's chaotic. I thought if they had their own bags to put their stuff in, maybe we could make it out the door a little smoother.
For Earth Day, I made them messenger style bags out of a pair of cargo pants. They might have worked, except I called them "treasure bags" and lined them with polyurethane laminate (one of my better ideas-- easier clean up for muddy treasures). So now they can only be used when we need treasure bags, not for every day! This time I decided I wanted to make backpacks. I couldn't find a free pattern that I liked, so I made my own.

Treasure Bag, made from Cargo Pants!

I am an amateur seamstress, so I'm not going to share a full tutorial. I will share the pattern I made and some of how I put it together. I sew by trial and error, so there is probably an easier way to sew it than I did! I will try to answer questions, as best I can. :)

Supply List:
2-4 pieces cut out of the pattern
interfacing
a strip of fabric 4" wide (at least) x 39" long
16-18" zipper
D rings
straps, a handle and 2 strips of fabric for the D rings
embellishments

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For this project, I used denim and scrap material I had in my sewing stash, but you could easily make this using fat quarters or other material. Depending on the thickness of your fabric, you may want to use a thicker interfacing to provide stability. I put the interfacing on the interior lining fabric.

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After you cut out your pieces and before you add the interior lining, you will want to sew on most of your embellishments. I saved 2 to cover my zipper ends because I could never get the ends lined up inside the seams.


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I attached everything with an overlock stitch to prevent the jeans and cotton fabrics from fraying, especially since they made need to be washed a time or two.

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I chose not to center the zipper, but it could easily be altered. I'm still learning the best way to install zippers. 

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My straps came from reusable bags that had broken. I had planned on using tarp straps I found at a garage sale, but I couldn't resist thrifting the broken bag. On the second bag, I used nylon straps I found with the ribbons in the fabric department at Wal-Mart. I attached them different to see if it was easier before or after the bag was assembled. I found it easier to attach them at the end. The downside is the stitches show up on the interior fabric.

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For the handle, I used a strip of the jeans' waistband. I slid the strap in and attached both to the bag at the same time. To secure the other end of the straps, I used D rings. I attached them using some belt loops from the jeans.

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The back of the bag:

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I don't have any action shots because the bag on the left is a Christmas present and the bag on the right is a December birthday present.

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The bag on the left is slightly larger. I cut the pattern 1/2" wider and the center strip is 2" wider. It also has a longer zipper. It's for my tall 4 year old. The bag on the right is for my small 2 year old.

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Download the FREE Backpack pattern 

Written by guest blogger: Sarah Johnson

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My husband and I have been married for 10 years and have 2 boys, ages 4 and 2. I am the 4th generation to work in my family's small business as the office manager. I started sewing when I was 8 yrs old. I love creating something new from recycled or re-purposed materials. I try to post my projects on my blog, A smaller footprint.


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2 comments:

A.Wilson said...

What a neat idea! I love those backpacks you made.

Anonymous said...

this really cool. I would not have thought to make backpacks from blue jeans. Very creative idea!

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