Drawstring backpacks are a simple design, easy to make, and super versatile for size and design. You can make them from various materials, including cotton, knits, leathers, canvas and more. It is easy to customize with size, add-on pockets, zippers, buttons, grommets, or any other feature with basic designs. Basic designs that can be easily customized are my favourite, I can make them pretty quickly for an instant gratification feel, and I can decorate them to my heart's content.
I thought with school starting up soon that a small child's backpack would be super cute! I had some scrap pieces of hemp organic cotton canvas from a previous project. You can find this amazing material in my shop! I will put a link to it below here. I wanted to use canvas as it is durable and perfect for a backpack or any bag.
So let's get started! You will want to start with 2 large rectangle pieces or 1 super long rectangle piece that you can fold in half to create the front and back. The folded part will be the bottom of the bag. If you have 2 cut pieces, choose which direction your material will go, where the top will be. Decorate the backpack front.
I decorated mine with a multitude of doodle embroideries using bright colours on the black canvas.
Next is to assemble the bag. I did not add a lining to mine. However, you can easily add a lining and pockets. The assembly of the bag is the same as the fabric basket made in a previous blog post. Before sewing the side and bottom seam, add your bottom tabs that the backpack straps will pull through. Make sure to place them just above where you plan to square off the bottom corner. Next, sew the side and bottom seams. If you folded a very long rectangle in half, you only need to sew the side seams. Square off the bottom to your liking, and you have a bag. You can see my step-by-step photos in the gallery below. When I am squaring off the bottom, I make a marked line to follow. On a serger, you can use the little notches on the pressure foot to follow the line. Each notch is an indicator of where the needle will puncture.
I did not line my bag, so I folded the top edge down about an inch, press, and stitch it in place once I assembled it. Now all you need to do is add in the backpack strings!
There are other ways to create a drawstring casing; I thought this was a quick and easy shortcut.
I actually seam ripped little holes in the side seams of my hem to feed my backpack strings through.
You will need 2 very long strings for your backpack straps. You can make them smaller later, measuring to the size you like depending on the size of the backpack you make and the size of the person you are making it for. Assign a left string and a right string.
The left string is going to go through the left bottom loop you put in our bag. Then using a bodkin, or safety pin, feed one side of the left string through the left side seam in the top casing and pull it all the way around the top of the bag pulling it out the same hole you put it in. Finally, tie the 2 ends of the string together. Repeat the process but with the right side, and you're done!
Super easy project, great for using up scraps, or if you want to be creative and create something custom. I'm feeling good knowing my backpack is also made out of hemp, and organic cotton is pretty cool!
Try one out! Make a bunch of cute backpacks for everyone in the family to take to school, sleepovers, little adventures, picnics, and more! Make sure to check out the Hemp Organic cotton canvas material used to make this fun project! I know you will love it as much as I do.