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Drawstring Backpack Tutorial

 How To Make A Drawstring Backpack | Drawstring bag tutorials

1/2 yard outer fabric; 1/2 yard lining fabric
A little cotton batting
Grommets & grommet punch/press
4 yards of cord -- thick stuff since it is a backpack this time
Sew-on velcro - optional

1.  Make yourself a pattern.  It will be 15.5 inches wide and 17.5 inches tall.  (Apologies to metric folks.)  Round the bottom edge a little.  This includes a ~3/8" seam allowance all around.  Draw a FOLD DOWN OUTER line at 1 1/4" below the seam allowance.  Draw another LINING CUT LINE 1/2" below the first line.  Draw another SEW TO HERE line 1/2" below the first line.  Mark two Xs 13" apart on the bottom edge.  These Xs indicate where to stop sewing up the sides.  Here are some more photos to help you make sense of these instructions.

2.  Now draw the pattern for the bottom (its the oval laying on top of the piece above.)  It will be an oval 11.5" wide by 5 5/8" tall.  This includes a ~ 3/8 inch seam allowance.

3.  Cut your pieces.  Cut 2 pieces from your outer fabric.  Cut 2 pieces of your lining fabric (the same pattern, but shorter -- cutting on the CUT LINING HERE line).

4.  Cut pieces for the bottom of the bag as a rectangle about 12.5" x 6.5" (oversized -- you'll cut the oval down to size after quilting).  For the bottom, cut 1 outer fabric, 1 lining fabric, and 1 piece of batting.

5.  Stack the bottom pieces as shown (batting in between, right sides out) and quilt as desired.  I stitched lines about 2 inches apart -- relatively straight.  Then, lay the pattern you made down, and cut the bottom out.

6.  You should now have the above photo.  2 outer pieces, 2 lining pieces, an a quilted bottom piece.

7.  If you want to make pockets, now is the time.  Here's how I did mine.

8.  Cut a piece of fabric the width of your pocket panel and twice as tall.  Fold in half, right sides together.  Stitch around, leaving a hole for turning.  Turn right side up and stitch closed. 

9. Sew pocket to lining along sides and bottom.  Sew up center of panel to make 2 smaller pockets.  NOTE:  If you want to add velcro to close the pockets, do it before you sew the panel to the lining.  Much easier.  Sew on as many pockets as you want, then proceed.

10.  Pin lining pieces right sides together.  Now, looking at your pattern and transfering the marks, sew up both sides from the X at the bottom edge to the SEW TO HERE line (basically 1/2" from the top of the lining.)

12.  Now, before we can do the same to the outer fabric, need to make the flaps for the cord and grommets to go through. 

13.  (NOTE:  I ran out of outer fabric so I used the lining fabric for these.  I would have preferred the outer striped fabric and you will probably too.)  Cut 2 pieces 3" x 8"  Fold in half length wise and press.  Fold both ends to meet in the center (see photo above.)  Press.  Fold again in half.  Stitch around the 3 finished sides (You'll put the raw side into the seam.)

14. Follow the instructions on your tool to punch the grommets into the center of these pieces.  Make sure you choose grommets big enough for 2 pieces of your cord to go through but small enough that the knot won't slip through.

15.  Place the grommet panels inside the 2 outer bag pieces about 2 inches from the bottom with raw edges out into seam.  Pin the panels together and sew the same as the lining - from the X at the bottom to the SEW TO HERE line.  NOTE:  This will be further down from the top for this piece - leaving a larger portion at the top for folding down.

16.  Mark center of both sides of both the long and short sides of the bottom piece.  Mark the center of both sides of the bottom edge of the lining pieces and the the outer pieces.  This will help you in getting things pinned.

17.  Breathe again.  Are you still with me?  Pin the lining (still wrong side out) to the lining side of the bottom panel, matching up the center marks and matching the side seam allowance with the center of the short edge.  Adjust and adjust again until it is relatively smooth.  A few puckers here won't kill anyone.  Leave the side seams "up."

I'm not saying this is easy or quick, but if I can do it, you can do it.  Here's a view of the side seams up.

18.  Sew pieces together from side seam to side seam with about 3/8 inch seam allowance.  I sewed over the pins, very slowly, but I'm not saying you should.  Use your judgement.  Use needle down position and adjust the fabric as you need to when you go around the curves.  Stop when you get to the other side seam, backstitch, cut threads and then repeat on the other side.  Now you should have this...

19.  Now, leaving the lining where it is, do the same thing with the outer fabric, pinning it to the outer side of the bottom panel.

20.  Even though you've pinned the fabric on the outer fabric side, you will want to go ahead and stitch on lining side again so you can follow the exact same stitch line you used before.  Just be really careful with the bottom fabric position, adjusting often, so it doesn't get caught.  When you are done stitching both sides, you'll have this.

21.  Ready for the fun?  Now, flip the outer fabric up!  Your bag looks awesome!

22.  Fold and press the sides of the top of the outer fabric to create a finished edge for your casing.  Fold and press the outer fabric down on the FOLD DOWN HERE line, to create the top fold of your casing.  Oh, I hope this is still making sense.

23.  Now, fold under the lining so that it overlaps the outer fabric slightly, but creates a finished edge.  Press. Pin. 

24.  Top stitch right along the top of the lining fold and the top edge of the bag to create the casing for your cord.

25.  Insert the cord through the top of the bag and down into the grommets and knot.  If you need more help with this step, see previous tutorials.  I would recommend that you try the bag on, fully loaded and adjust the length of the cord so it fits you well and doesn't hang too low.  Cut cord and use white glue or fray check on the ends to secure.

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