Tuesday, March 20, 2018

drawstring backpack (a free tutorial)

Hello friends, welcome!

I'm excited to share a free tutorial for a simple, fully lined, easy to make Drawstring Backpack with you today. This is a perfect day trip or outing backpack that comes together in no time at all. All you need is a few basic sewing supplies, two half yard cuts of your favorite fabric, cotton or parachute cord, and you're set to go :)

Ready? Let's start!

FINISHED SIZE: 13'' wide x 15 1/2'' tall

exterior fabric - 1/2 yard quilting cotton
lining fabric - 1/2 yard quilting cotton
1/4'' or 1/2'' wide ribbon - 4'' long piece
macrame or parachute cord - two (2) 65'' long pieces

sewing clips and/or pins
bodkin or large safety pin

SA stands for seam allowance

1. Cutting
From exterior fabric cut: two (2) - 14'' wide x 15 3/4'' tall panels for main exterior
                                         two (2) - 14'' wide x 2 1/4'' tall strips for cord casing

From lining fabric cut: two (2) - 14'' wide x 15 3/4'' tall panels for lining

Cut ribbon into two (2) - 2'' long pieces

 2. Fold and press cord casing's short end 1/4'' towards wrong side, fold 1/4'' over and press again. Topstitch along the pressed edge using 1/8'' SA. Fold and stitch second short end following the same directions. Fold casing in half lengthwise, press. Prepare second casing the same way.

3. Place one exterior panel on a flat work surface. Fold both ribbons in half, baste them along side edges 1/2'' from bottom edge. Center folded casing along main panel's top edge (casing's raw edges and panel's top edge are lined up). Pin or clip in place, baste using 1/8'' SA. Add second casing to second exterior panel.

4. Place exterior panels right sides together, pin or clip to prevent layers from shifting. Use 3/8'' SA to stitch along the two side edges as well as bottom edge backstitching at the beginning and end. (Make sure your ribbon is tucked safely between the panel and is not going to get caught in the stitches as you sew along the bottom edge). Use scissors to clip the two bottom corners to reduce on bulk, press the seams open. Turn the assembled exterior right side out.

5. Place lining panels right sides together, clip or pin and stitch along the side and bottom edges using 3/8'' SA, this time leaving a 4'' opening in the bottom seam. Use scissors to clip the corners, press the seams open.

6. Insert exterior into lining right sides together. Line up side seams as well as top raw edges making sure casing is neatly tucked inside, pin or clip along the top edge to hold both panels together. Stitch along the top edge using 1/4'' SA. Press the seam open and turn the backpack right side out through the hole in the lining. Stitch the hole in the lining closed and gently push the lining into exterior pushing the corners out to make them neat and pointy.

7. Press exterior and lining away from casing. Pin through both exterior and lining layers and topstitch through both layers about 1/8'' below casing.

8. Attach one end of your cord to either a large safety pin or a bodkin and thread it through both casings starting on the right side and coming out on the same side. Thread one end of the cord through ribbon loop, knot the two ends together.

9. Pull the second cord through both front and back casings this time starting and ending on the left side. Thread cord through ribbon loop and make a strong knot.

All finished. Congratulations! 

Fill up your backpack with some goodies and you're ready for your outing :)

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

I hope you liked the tutorial and will be making these fun drawstring bag for your family and friends. And when you do, please post the photos to Instagram (use hashtag #sotakhandmade) so we all can see your lovely creations.

Happy sewing. Svetlana


  1. this is exactly what I needed! thank you!!

  2. Thanks for a well explained and photo tutorial :)

  3. Thanks, I just added you to my blog list!

  4. Perfect inspiration :) and what attention to detail! I admire and congratulate.


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