This project took me about 30 minutes. If you want to embroider, appliqué, or stencil words, a name, or a design on the backpack, this is the time to do it just because it will be easier to do it now than after the backpack is sewn together.
You will need the following:
Fabric; one rectangle 36"x14" (or two smaller rectangles both 18"x14")
4 yards of cord, cut into two equal pieces (2 pieces of 2-yards each)
One large safety pin (a large paper clip can work in a pinch too)
Sewing machine, although this would be simple to hand sew
One other note. I have put 21 photos in this tutorial because I do not apparently have the vocabulary I need to easily describe sewing techniques. Don't let the number of photos scare you off. This really is a very simple project.
I am using one large rectangle for this tutorial which I cut from a half-yard piece.
If you have an abundance of fat quarters (which I also have) use two fat quarters and cut two of the small 18"x14"rectangles. If you make two smaller rectangles, they do not need to match, just coordinate. Actually that would look really cool. I might need to try that next.
If you are starting with two smaller rectangles, put them right sides together and sew them together along one of the short (14") sides using a 5/8" seam allowance. This seams is the bottom of the backpack so you may want to sew a second seam right next to the first seam you sewed to reinforce the bottom seam. Now you have one large rectangle of fabric. Press the seam.
Fold the long sides of the fabric in at 1/4 inch and iron the fold in place.
Stitch down the 1/4 inch fold on each long side.
Now we are going to make the tube through which the cording runs through. At each short side of your fabric rectangle fold over about 1/2 inch of fabric and iron in place.
Fold that same side over another inch and iron in place. Do this for both short sides.
Stich the bottom of the tubes in place. The bottom of the tube is about an inch down from the edge of the fabric. For both tubes, stich close to this fold so that the tube you have ironed in place stays put. If that sentence made no since at all, look at this picture.
Now fold the fabric in half, right sides together. Match up the tubes at the top.
We are now going to stitch along each of the long sides of the folded fabric to make the side seams of the backpack. Start stitching about one inch from the bottom of the backpack. Yes this leaves a little hole in the side seam. Trust me, this will be important in a few minutes.
|Leave about a one inch gap at the bottom of the side seam. It will be sewn closed in a later step.|
Run the seam from one inch from the bottom to just the edge of the tubes. Do not stitch the tubes shut.
|End the side seam at the bottom of the tube. Don't sew the tubes closed.|
Make sure you reinforce the place you started and stopped stitching along the sides of the bag.
Now we are going to run the cord through the tubes. Take one of the 2 yard cords and attach the large safety pin to one end.
You are using the safety pin to push through the tubes (because it is so much easier to push the ridged pin through rather than try to feed the cord through the tubes).
Thread the safety pin/cord through one tube, then run it back through the other tub so that it has essentially made a U-turn through both tubes.
Remove the safety pin. Even up the ends of the cord and knot them together.
Take the second 2-yard piece of cord and do the same thing you did above but starting from the opposite side.
Now you have cord threaded through both tubes, one entering/exiting from the right and one entering/exiting from the left.
Remember that little gap in the side seams we left, well this is where it becomes helpful. Leaving the backpack inside out, take the cord on the left and put it inside the backpack. Reach inside the backpack and push the knot you tied in the cord through the whole in the left side seam. Now do the same thing with the cord on the right and the gap in the right side seam.
When you look at your inside out backpack, the cord knots are pushed through the side seams at the bottom corners.
The last step is to sew shut the gap at the bottom of each side seam, sewing the cord in place at the same time. Reinforce this seem because it is going to take a lot of stress.
Turn the backpack inside out and pull the cords to close it. See how simple that was.
There you have it. Your basic drawstring backpack.
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