Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Adorable, Simple Drawstring Backpacks

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Recently I shared this tutorial over at The Ribbon Retreat and thought I'd share it with you here today! These cute, simple drawstring backpacks for kids have really been a go-to for gifts for me.

I once sewed one literally right before we walked out of the door for our niece's birthday party. Also whipped them up by the midnight oil one night when my friend had a baby and I was watching her boy's while they were at the hospital. I LOVE this awesome fabric and ribbon I got to make these ones with too! :)

For the ones I made for this tutorial, I chose:

Rainbow Hexi Print by Riley Blake (I LOVED this fabric when I first saw it- cutest thing ever!)

Let's create! Start by cutting your pieces:
1 piece of your main bag fabric, 12" x 18"... you may want to pay attention to the direction of the print of your fabric, since this bag is oriented vertically.
2 pieces of coordinating fabric, each 12" x 6"
2 lengths of coordinating 7/8" ribbon, both 45" long

First sew the two smaller pieces to the larger piece, right sides together, matching 12" lengths.

Note: Because this cute hexi print is really directional, I did shore up my cuts that I was matching to the smaller coordinating pieces. See above how the black line indicates the cut I needed to make? It was just slightly angled, but would've made a big difference in the skewed look of the bag overall. This might not be necessary with your fabric, but just a thought in case! :)

Next we'll create a hem along the top of each coordinating fabric section. Fold down about an inch, iron and then fold over and iron again.

To improve the finish of this portion (we're creating a casing for the straps of our backpack), now snip in just a bit, right at the base of the hem you just ironed, like above left. Then unfold the fabric, fold this small piece in and iron down. Now re-fold and re-iron the hem.

This surely seems like the hard way... I just like to fold and iron my hem first before clipping so that I keep my fold precise, inside of clipping wrong and having to deal with a more narrow casing than I wanted.

Next, you'll sew at the base of the top, casing, portion on both ends. Then fold your entire piece in half, right sides together and sew up both sides, starting at the notch just below your casing.

NOTE: I like to do plenty of extra back stitching at the start and finish of all these. Your kiddos will be pulling and tugging on this section a lot and reinforcing the strength is a good idea!

Already the body piece is done and we're ready to create straps! Grab one of your ribbon lengths at a time and secure a safety pin at one end. Thread it through one of your top casings. The safety pin gives you something to grip and pull little by little to get it through the fabric- it goes quite fast really!

Next, take your second ribbon and thread it the same way through the opposite casing. With both ribbons through, you'll start with one again and thread it back through the opposite side, like below:

Does this make sense? It's truly not complicated, but can seem so, I know... we want to make it so that both of the ribbon straps on each side of the backpack are actually the same piece of ribbon; create a solid bit of ribbon against each side that pulls the fabric together really well, like this:

For this second time threading the ribbon back through, you'll have two layers of ribbon in each casing- a bit tougher but not bad at all. By threading back into the opposite casing, it'll make it so your kiddo can operate their backpack by pulling both ribbons from each side apart, like this:

I know my little guy loved being able to cinch it himself and make his Toy Story Woody doll head poke through! This is the best part of the bag for sure :)

With the casings all threaded, now we'll move to the loose ends of the ribbon. Fold them both back toward the inside of the bag and match the ends like above. With your bag still wrong side out, tuck the met ends down in to the corner on that same side.

Keep a hold of the ribbon ends with your finger and stick your arm into the bag and kinda pop out the corner. Place the ribbon as tight into the corner as you can and pinch that corner to make it flat in the wrong direction, like above. We're giving our backpack a bit of a flat bottom and creating the whole backpack effect by doing all this. :) Really, if any of this seems confusing, I really think it'll be obvious as you're sewing!

Put that corner piece you just popped out and flattened under your sewing machine needle and stitch across a couple of inches in. This is another really good place to do some extra backstitching to make the whole thing stronger. After stitching, clip next to your stitch to get rid of the corner excess.

Ta da! We just created a really polished looking bottom for our cutie backpack :)

Turn it inside out and you're done!

Or, ya know, you could be... and since I have boys I was for the boy version of this bag. But I'm sewing something girly here for a change and I just really wanted to add some kind of something extra. If I have an excuse to sew a ruffle or create a flower, i'll take it, ok? :)

So I stitched a simple crunched ruffle along the seam where the two fabrics meet on one side of the bag. Just fold the ribbon over and under as you stitch- no precision involved. Just gave it some fun girly pizzazz :)

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All done! And, if I can say so, super duper ooper schmooper CUTE! The Ribbon Retreat fabrics are perfect for this kind of project- really showcases all those cute designer prints!

Even this boy version is about the funnest thing ever- love those adorable cars! These little bags are great  for packing a few toys in the car, playing around the house, stuffing as full as possible with blocks and transforming dinosaur cars... you get it, really anything! They will absolutely allow the child who owns it to imagine and create- the drawstring function itself actually entertained my little guy for a fair while!

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Thanks for being here,



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