Thursday, July 29, 2010

cute backpack alert!!

Update:  See a more complete tutorial here.

Our annual pool party is coming up, the one where the girls ask for school supplies for needy kids rather than gifts for themselves. This year, I've seen several blogs with tutorials for school bags, and I was inspired to make some myself, to go with our donation! This is the first, and I'm so pleased with how it turned out.

I modeled it after a couple of backpacks we have around here, where the drawstring from the top is attached to the bottom corners, forming the straps. They are very comfortable to wear and easy to deal with.

I had some old jeans lying around, and thought they would make a good, sturdy backpack. This one is made from one jeans leg cut open and laid flat, and one back pocket. Therefore, you could get two backpacks from one pair of jeans. I added wide casings at the top, made from a cotton dot print. The floral across the front is actually a big pocket, with a zipper at the top. The pocket is as wide as the whole front, so it can be sewn into the side seams for the edges. Then the pocket from the back of the jeans on top of that.
Below you can see the strap/drawstring; I took 3 lengths of nylon cord and braided the middle section for the drawstring. Then I tied a knot and braided the now 6 strands together for the remainder of the strap. Then I stitched it tightly into the side seam. You'll need one of these for each side, of course.
This one only has the front pockets, but you could easily add more on the inside. It could also be lined if you wish.

Here's what you'll need, if you'd like to make one:

A rectangle of denim, cut from a jeans leg, large enough for the front and back of your backpack. (It will be folded in half, and the fold line is the bottom of the backpack.)

One rectangle of fabric for the front pocket, as wide as the front portion of your backpack, and almost as long as the front portion only.

A back pocket from the jeans.

Two rectangles of fabric for the casings, about 6" x the width of the backpack.

Zipper, at least as long as the width of the backpack.

Nylon cord or other material for the drawstring/straps.

Order of assembly: (Be warned - this assumes some knowledge of sewing! Sorry these are so sketchy!!)

Turn under ends of casing pieces and hem.

Turn under top edge of large front pocket. Stitch to one side of zipper.

Stitch back pocket from jeans in the center of the large front pocket.

Turn under bottom edge of front pocket. Place the pocket on the end of your large denim rectangle that will be the front of the backpack, lining up the unstitched side of the zipper with the top edge of the denim. Stitch the lower edge of the pocket in place. Baste the unstitched side of the zipper to the denim.

Fold casing pieces in half and stitch to tops of backpack front and back. (Remember, since you hemmed the ends, it won't go all the way to the edge) Finish seam, flip up the casing and topstitch.

Braid the middle sections of the cords and run through the casings; tie a knot and continue braiding to the ends.

Stitch the side seams, securely catching the ends of the cords at the lower corners. Finish seams and turn.