How to Make A Drawstring Backpack
Summer is the perfect excuse to get sewing! There are so many pretty dresses to make and cute projects to make outdoors. As it’s also the perfect time for a picnic, I decided I would make a drawstring backpack – to help the little ones carry all their sandwiches and teddies, or to have something to put a book and sunglasses in! Here’s how I made it :
- Fat Quarters (six different patterns)
- Three metres of drawstring (3 mm thick.)
- Eyelets (5.5 mm) with tools (included.)
- Hammer (for gently securing in eyelets.)
- Tape measure
- Rotary marker
- Tailors chalk
- Sewing machine
- Needle and thread
- Hairgrip (for feeding drawstring through into the bag)
- Teddies or sunglasses – and your picnic!
Select 4 colours of fat quarters for the outside of your bag and two contrasting designs for the inside of your bag. Iron your fat quarters.
Measure and mark the first of your outside fat quarters to a 25 cm long by 35 cm wide rectangle. Cut out the rectangle.
Lie the rectangle on top of your other three fat quarters (which you are using for the outside of the bag) and pin and cut around the rectangle. You now have four identical sized rectangles (25 cm x 35 cm).
Line up your rectangles in the order you would like them to lie on either side of your bag remembering that two will make up one side and two will make up the other and the middle point will be the bottom of the bag. Pick up the top rectangle and the adjacent rectangle and place them face down against one another. Sew along the joining 35cm edge with a straight stitch approximately 1 cm from the edge on your sewing machine.
Now with your two rectangles joined together select the next rectangle and place it face down against the rectangle it will lie next to (these will be the two rectangles at the bottom of either side of the bag). Sew along the joining edge as in step three.
With your three rectangles joined together repeat step four by sewing on your final rectangle.
Iron your new piece of material (made up from your four rectangles) so the seams are flat.
Pick up your two fat quarters which you have selected for the inside of the bag. Place them face down against each other and sew along the shortest edge 2 cm in from the edge of the material.
Iron your two fat quarters so the seam is flat.
Place your piece of material made from the four rectangles on top of your piece of material made from the two fat quarters. Make sure your centre points (which will be the bottom of the bag) are lined up. Pin around the edge of the material on the top securing it to the bottom material. Cut around the shape so your material for the inside of the bag is the same shape as the outside.
Sew with a zig zag stitch close to the edge along all four sides of both pieces of material separately, this is to prevent the hems from fraying.
Lay both pieces of material face down against each other (make sure that the two centre points of the material are again lined up and attach a couple of pins to secure them down the sides only (or tack with a needle and thread if you prefer).
To join the outside of your bag to the inside of the bag use a straight stitch with the sewing machine along the edge of the previous zig zag stitches to secure both long ends of the materials together. Do not sew the two top ends as this will be the top of your bag where your drawstring will go shortly.
You now have a tube of material which you will need to turn the right way round.
Iron the seams so it is flat and the material is crease free again!
Fold one end (top of your bag) slightly over at the top and then fold it over to a 3 cm fold (your drawstring will need to fit into this area). Pin to secure (and tack if you prefer). Repeat with the other end.
Using a zig zag stich sew the base of the fold at the long edge only, keep the sides of the fold unstitched. Repeat with the other end of the bag.
Now fold your bag in half so the outside sides of your bag are facing in against each other. Pin to secure (or tack if you prefer). Sew with the sewing machine down one side of your bag underneath from the end of the fold from step 15 (pictured above) and 1 cm from the edge of the material to the bottom of the bag. Repeat with the other side.
When sewing on the machine you will need to hold the material at a tight tension as you help to pull it through.
Turn the bag the right way round.
Cut your drawstring in half.
Use one piece of the drawstring to feed through the gap at the top corner of one side of your bag (with a hair grip by pushing it along) and along the inside of the folded material until it comes out the other end. Now feed it into the hole of the loop opposite it and feed the drawstring through the inside of the other top edge of material going in the reverse direction to that which you did on the other side.
Now feed the other drawstring into the top of your bag by starting at the opposite end to where you started your first piece. Feed it through the one side and then down in the opposite direction through the other side.
You will now be able to use your drawstrings to pull your bag tightly shut at the top.
Select one side of your bag to be the front and one side to be the back. Mark where you want your two eyelets to go on the back of the bag (each 0ne approximately 1 inch up from the bottom of the bag and 1 inch in from each side). Make a small snip with some scissors or use the tools provided to attach each eyelet to the bag and a hammer to secure the eyelets in place on both sides.
Cellotape the bottom of each of your individual drawstrings (to prevent fraying and to make them tight) and feed from the outside into the eyelets. From the inside of the bag judge how long you want your strings to be and cut the ends accordingly and knot the loose ends to secure the drawstring and stop it from coming back through the eyelet.
Your bag is now complete and you are ready to head out with your teddies or sunglasses for your picnic! Why not photograph your bag at your picnic and share with us on our Facebook page or why not enter Make of the Month.