Ways of creating a backpack sewing pattern
Backpacks remain in trend for a long time. Handmade backpacks, being unique, are valued most highly. A sewing pattern, suitable fabric, and decorations are all you need to create a stylish backpack at home. A creative approach and the enthusiasm of the seamstress also contribute to the success of the matter.
In order to create a backpack by hand, you’ll need:
A piece of dry soap for drawing.
Best fabrics for a backpack:
Denim (without elastane);
Cotton — it breathes, maintains shape and is agreeable to the touch, an important point as you will wear it on your back;
Dense synthetic fabrics — they come in handsome patterns, bright and printed. Bags made of such fabric do not need additional decoration.
Make sure that the fabric doesn’t stretch too much under the strain and doesn’t crumble on bends. One disadvantage of synthetic fabrics is their ability to absorb smells. A synthetic backpack also feels unpleasant on the back in summer. Synthetic fabrics don’t breathe; they also hold water. You may use this to your advantage, making your bag double-layer to protect things in it from rain.
For the lining, the following fabrics are most common:
Satin — dense, reliable, and wear-resistant.
Rayon — even more reliable than the satin.
Cupro — similar to natural silk, soft, and stretchy.
Polyester — durable and undemanding fabric, mud-resistant.
Sateen — made of cotton and silk threads.
Netting — has holes, breathes.
Taffeta — a coarse fabric that maintains shape.
Now, all that’s left is to decide how to sew a backpack without expensive garment accessories. You may create your own or take accessories off an old bag, coat, and other such things.
You may use these for decoration:
Belts, buckles, and other fasteners ripped off the old clothes.
Leather or fabric fringe.
A bunch of twisted colorful yarns (they will serve as strings).
Curious-looking buttons, beads, and rhinestones.
Ropes of various diameters and colors.
Quilt, ribbon embroidery.
Choosing decorations, you must keep in mind that they will be subjected to intense wear and tear and soil, too. So unpleasant when a ruined appliqué or a lost bead makes the whole garment unusable. Detachable garment accessories make washing much easier and allow you to revamp your old item in a simple way — by changing the color of a cord, for instance.
You can create a hand-made backpack in two different ways: using your embroidery machine or your own hands. The first way is quicker and easier.
Tools and materials:
Dense sewing fabric
title="Capro and polyester fabrics"
The lining: cupro and polyester
The lining: satin and rayon
The lining: taffeta, netting, tulle netting
How to use a sewing pattern
If a newbie seamstress doesn't know how to sew a backpack with her own hands, a step-by-step guide and a sewing pattern is a must. They will help to bring her project to life. There are ready-made easy-to-transfer full-scale sewing patterns with measurements.
To draft your own pattern, you’ll require the following:
A sheet of paper (you may use tracing paper or a newspaper instead)
A measuring tape
A triangle ruler
A French curve for rounding corners can be made by hand. Draw a circle on a piece of cardboard with an 18–20 cm radius and cut out one-third of it. With such a contrivance, you will be able to make symmetrically rounded corners.
To draft a simple backpack sewing pattern, you’ll only need two measurements:
center-back length from the natural neckline to the waist.
On paper, draw a rectangle, its width less than your shoulder width. An important point: the backpack should not go below waist level, it would be inconvenient to wear. After that, draw a vertical line through the center of the rectangle — the center axis. Now fold the paper along the axis and draw the preferred outline of your backpack. Cut along the outline to get a symmetrical pattern piece. If you plan to attach things like pockets or cover or a movable bottom, it would be easy to mark them on the basic pattern, adjusting the sizes.
In order to decipher the pattern, you need to learn the key notations:
The line with the arrow — lengthen.
The line with small triangles — the joining line is here.
Identical numbers in the inner area — these pieces match together.
The crosses work as alignment marks.
The arrow between the lines is a place for a ruffle.
A crisscross is the place for a button.
If you've decided to use a ready complex pattern, you’ll need to enlarge it. On the pattern, measurements are given in cm. In this case, it’d better to use a dense fabric instead of paper. The cutouts are placed on top of the fabric and traced with a piece of soap, sharpened on one end. Before cutting out parts of the pattern, make sure that seam allowance is included. More often, it isn't, and therefore, you’ll need to add 1–1.5 cm on all sides. Sometimes the enclosed seam is used — first, the fabric is folded the wrong side out and stitched, then turned right side out and stitched again. Seams executed in this fashion look neat and add support to the backpack. They require a larger seam allowance.
Making a sewing pattern according to the model
Sewing your own backpack allows you to choose any model you like. What you need to understand that copying the manufactured models may be futile, due to the lack of the frame and finishing (plastic edges, metallic corners, coarse bottom, etc.). Even if your pattern is accurate, the backpack might turn out quite different.
The advantage of homemade backpacks is the individual approach that makes them stand out. It improves the overall imagery, visible in decor and unusual joining seams.
Backpack for kids
Kids like backpacks shaped like animals. Bunny ears or button eyes are easy to attach, and will make a child happy.
On a basic pattern, the upper part must be narrowed. The backpack should resemble a triangle with its apex facing upward. The bottom is made according to the pattern. You can make it two-part, joining the pieces accordion-style and strengthening the edges with a cord.
The upper part will be gathered with a cord; to prevent the things from falling out, a flap cover may be added. Pom poms look marvelous on kids’ backpacks.
If the kid will wear it to school, you may add the compartments with fasteners for books and exercise-books. Use thin fabric that doesn't soil easily. A detachable lining will be easier to wash.
Sewing a pineapple-shaped backpack
Cut four rectangular pieces, two out of your main fabric, two out of the lining fabric.
Cut and stitch the future rings for the cord.
Stitch the rings to the main part of the backpack.
Cut and edge finish two rectangles.
Join the main part to the rectangular pieces and stitch the base.
Align the openings, pin, and stitch.
Prepare the four rectangular pieces, draw the lines and stitch.
Cut out the pineapple crown.
Join the lining to the main part.
Join the lining to the main part.
Insert the cord (a ready one or made by you).
Draw the cord through the rings and fix them with a clamp.
The most convenient shape for a hand-made backpack is a drawstring bag. It is a godsend for creative people. A simple structure leaves room for creating images, from dreamy and romantic to ascetic ones.
A drawstring bag is a sack with strings on top and shoulder-straps. A well-known, traditional shape. A sewing pattern for such a bag is rectangular. The bottom edges may be rounded or left as is. The size depends on the maker’s wish.
The upper part is not narrowed down, as it is gathered with the strings. The fabric should be soft, that ruffles beautifully — in that case, the upper part, folded like a hand fan, will be a decoration in itself.
Romantic drawstring bags are ideal for slim young girls. You may decorate them with pleated straps, and to attach a fringe with beads to the edges.
For a mature woman, a backpack bag may be made into a carry-all. The color of the bag should harmonize with the dress, and a brightly colored neck handkerchief may be wrapped around her neck and shoulders.
A khaki drawstring bag is fine for men who prefer casual style. A drawstring bag made of thick water-repellent fabric will be indispensable while hunting, fishing, or just hiking.
Thick ropes may be used instead of straps. You don't even need to sew them. Colorful ropes for women and restrained sole-colors for men. You may adjust the strap length simply by tying up the two ends where the knot will not rub sore. Straps like that make the backpack look stylish.
A shoe bag made of an old pair of jeans:
The necessary materials
Shape and sew the bottom.
Shape and sew a pass-through for the string.
Sew the ring for the ribbon.
Stitch the ribbon at the bottom. They will serve as straps.
Backpack made from an old pair of jeans:
Many people ask how to make a backpack without a sewing pattern. If you don’t have a ready sewing pattern, you can draft it yourself or find a tutorial that shows approximately what you want and take the pattern from there.
The easiest way is to make your backpack bottomless. In such cases, a front part of the backpack is enlarged to serve as the bottom as well as the front. The following measurements are approximate, you’ll need to make some changes to them in order to suit the pattern to your tastes and needs.
The back part, slightly narrowed down — 26 cm wide. You may add about 3 cm on each side in the middle.
The front part is cut as a semicircle with a 38 cm radius.
The flap cover is rounded. It should be one part with the back. It should drape freely and elegantly onto the gathered top.
The straps are made of denim. If you don't have a sufficient amount of material, you may substitute denim for a decorative cord.
If wished, a hanger is attached, so that the backpack is easy to pick up.
The center of the semicircle and the lower edge of the back part are aligned along the vertical centerline of the pattern. The edges of the semicircle are stitched to the back part. The upper part of the backpack is gathered with strings and covered with a flap. The straps are stitched to the upper and the lower edges of the back part.
For this model, you’ll need a very wide piece of fabric. If you don’t have a sufficiently wide piece, you may sew it from pieces, because this type of backpack may be quilted.
A backpack from an old pair of jeans
Draw the parts of the future backpack.
Cut out the pattern.
Sew the bottom, the parts, and the flap.
Attach the denim straps.
Sew the handles, if necessary.
The fabric should not be threadbare.
Being skillful at patchwork allows you to create beautiful garments out of scraps. You can join the fabric pieces haphazardly or create a particular pattern.
It is not rational to cut the existing length of fabric to pieces, better to use the trimmings and leftovers already accumulated. For this reason, don’t try to make a facsimile of a backpack you’ve seen somewhere. Instead, find the backpack you like, alter it to suit your needs.
A patchwork backpack without a bottom may be decorated according to your tastes. For example, a flap can be rendered as a divergent beam of light or a cluster of petals. The straps might be made of horizontal strips or pleated. The front part may be sole-colored or contain vertical insets that look beautiful between the pleats.
Before sewing a new backpack, you should make a sewing pattern. Just draw the shape of the future item on paper, then cut and trace the pattern to the fabric. Don’t be afraid to spoil the materials in case something goes wrong. Failure helps you to master the necessary skill.
Stitching the scraps of fabric into one piece.
Cut the fabric according to the simple pattern.
Out of the patchwork piece, prepare the flap with the clamp.
Make the slash pockets with zippers on the front part.
Slash pockets from inside:
The front and the back parts remain sole-colored.
Sew the hanger, the flap, and the straps.
The back part and the lower part:
Join the front part to the back.
Draft the pattern of the bottom.
Sew the bottom as pictured on the pattern.
Sew the bottom to the front.
Prepare the lining.
Sew parts of the lining.
Sew the base and attach the upper flap.
Stitch the edging.
A ready model should be supplemented with a cord.
Make the openings for the grommets and draw the cord through them.
Clothes repair: How to move a zipper to another side
While sewing a pair of shorts or pants, a beginner tailor might easily, in the heat of work, make a mistake of attaching a zipper on the ‘men’s’ side instead of ‘women’s’ and vice versa. These shorts with a zipper on the ‘women’s’ came to me as the result of a young man’s hasty shopping. An unusual order resulted in a tutorial, which I’m now sharing with you.
How to move a zipper to another side. Materials
A sewing machine
A zipper foot
A spare zipper (if necessary)
Threads and needles, scissors, a seam ripper
How to move a zipper to another side. The work order
This is how the shorts looked before I started working on them. I want to call your attention to the waistband; we’ll be making changes to it as well.
A ready garment is not that different from a semi-finished one when it comes to preparation. You’ll need to get rid of unnecessary stitches and deconstruct the unit. Pick up a seam ripper and carefully deconstruct the whole thing. Don’t touch the cording or edge finishing made with a serger.
Let’s proceed to the zipper. On the fly front guard there already is a line that will serve you as a guide for sewing a zipper. Baste the zipper to the wrong side. Install a zipper foot on your machine and stitch the zipper tape.
Baste or pin the front fly extension to the other side of the tape and stitch. In order to prevent the pieces from getting nipped in the course of sewing, you may fold them in half and pin.
On the right side of the garment, mark where the topstitch will run. Align the edge of the zipper unit with the edge of your garment. Stitch the parts together.
Fold the zipper unit to the wrong side and topstitch along the edge from the lower to the upper edge. Edge stitch foot is your little helper here.
Set the values according to your own taste. You can easily determine the stitch length by simply measuring it with a ruler on a ready item. Different embroidery machine models have different stitch settings; there is a lot written about them in the manual. It often has tables that help to quickly choose the right stitch and the values.
Topstitch the fly guard along the drafted line. After that, join the free edge of the zipper tape and the garment.
This is how my shorts looked like after I relocated the zipper. Stitch the lower part of the front seam under the topstitching line to the center point where the seams meet, one or two times. Join the parts with their wrong sides together, and topstitch on the right side (optional).
All that’s left is to sew a waistband. In order to do it evenly, join the waistband and the garment, beginning at the center back. Evenly distribute the waistband, paying attention to where the side seams meet. If there are the belt loops, use them as guides. Stitch the waistband to the garment, then fold the waistband lining to the wrong side and topstitch along the lower edge or do the shadow seam. This will help to lower the burden on the first seam, and also to join the inner side of the waistband to the outer one.
Sew the buttons back on.
Compare the two photos. On the left are the shorts how they came to me, on the right — the shorts after I repaired them. This tutorial uses an unusual way of sewing a zipper.
In the clothing repair shop where I saw it first, it was called ‘the quick one’ and was intended for speedy clothes repair.
Wardrobe revamping: a dress with ‘bat’ sleeves
A serger machine should not remain idle. Let’s use it to freshen up your old clothes and sew a knitted dress with ‘bat’ sleeves. In this tutorial, I’ll be employing simple dress sewing techniques: doing a blind hem on the serger and also attaching neckline facing. You’ll enjoy the work and the new dress will uplift your mood.
To do this job, you’ll need:
Serger and invisible stitch foot
Adhesive sewing interfacing material for knits
T-shirt or blouse pattern with 'bat' sleeves
In order to buy the right amount of fabric, you need to know the length of your dress. Place the measuring tape at your shoulder and go all the way down (make sure that it is straight). Measure the desired length. The length of the piece of fabric will equal two lengths of the dress plus 20 cm.
Wash or soak the fabric in hot water for approximately an hour. You need to do this in order for the fabric to shrink before you cut it. Skipping this step, you risk getting a smaller dress after the first washing.
A dress with ‘bat’ sleeves. Cutting
Fold the fabric in half, with its right side inside. Fold the T-shirt in half and align its fold line with the fold line of the fabric. Trace the outline with a piece of chalk.
If you don’t have a blouse with ‘bat’ sleeves in your wardrobe, use a close-fitting T-shirt to find the key points, or a sewing pattern, changing the values to suit you.
Having traced the outline and taking all basic measurements — chest, waist, and hips circumference — cut the back part with a 0.7 cm seam allowance. Place the cutout on top of the second piece of fabric, folded in half, and cut out the front part, making the front neckline approximately 3 cm deeper.
Out of the remaining fabric, cut out a strip for the loops that will keep the belt in place. Sew, turn it right side out and press.
Place the front and the back parts together, their right sides together. Position the belt loops at a waistline, over the side seams. Pin the side and shoulder edges, stitch the parts together on your serger with a 4-thread stitch. Attach the belt loops to the side seams.
A dress with ‘bat’ sleeves. Facing
Transfer the back and front neckline to the tracing paper, move down 3–4 cm down and cut out your future facing pattern. Glue the sewing interfacing material for knits to the piece of fabric. Cut out your front and back facing, together with seam allowance.
Stitch the short sides together. Baste and finish the edge with a 3-thread stitch on your serger. Place the facing and the neckhole to each other, right sides together, and pin.
Stitch with your serger, pin, and press lightly. Sew the facing to the neckline with invisible stitches.
A dress with ‘bat’ sleeves. Hemming
Mark the hemline on the right side of the fabric. Do the blind hem on your overlocker. You’ll know how to do that from our Blind hem with your serger tutorial (Link will be here in the future).
Cut out the belt 11 cm wide (length should be equal to your waist circumference plus 3 cm). Attach the hooks, folding seam allowance inside.
Your dress is now ready! Get your hair done, add some bijou and show off your new garment!
Original text by Irina Lisitsa
P.S. Sewing pattern
Decorating a kitchen: an embroidered pot holder
Not only will an embroidered pot holder protect your hands from scalding but also make your kitchen look lovely. In the course of our collaborative projects, the participants are required to embroider any of the kitchen or table textiles of their choice. No need to do something complex, as one can always make a pot holder.
An embroidered pot holder. Materials
Sole-colored cotton, 2 pieces
Printed cotton, 1 piece
Tearaway adhesive stabilizer
An embroidered pot holder. The making process
I used two sole-colored pieces of different fabrics for the embroidered part and for the back part of my pot holder, with a binding. I could have cut the front and the back parts out of the same fabric, as it would look more natural if the whole thing was white. But I didn't have the necessary amount of white fabric, and therefore, I supplemented it with beige one.
Let’s embroider a design first. Stabilize your fabric and hoop it. Select your threads (I do it beforehand, and sort them in the order of sewing), and start the embroidery. While the machine is going, you can make yourself a cup of coffee, pausing occasionally to change the thread.
Once the embroidery is ready, unhoop the fabric and do the cutting. Natural fabrics, being heat-resistant, are preferable. My pot holder was a simple square one, with no bells and whistles. As for the batting, felt, wadding or drape cloth are most common, but if you don't have any of those, and you only plan to use the pot holder for the decoration, you may use polyester batting instead.
Attention! Polyester batting is highly thermal conductive and has a low melting threshold.
You’ll need to cut two square pieces, one sole-colored and one printed. Don’t use vividly colored prints; the fabric should not distract attention from the embroidery. It would be better if one of the colors of the fabric will match one of the main colors in your design.
Out of the embroidered piece, cut out a pocket with seam allowance, so that the design is right at the center. Lay a piece of lace on top of it, facing into the right corner. Cut with allowance, in case it shifts during sewing, and you don’t want to rip it off.
Prepare the binding. It is usually cut on a bias, but if you don’t have enough material, you may use a simple rectangle instead.
First, I stitched the batting and the beige fabric for the back part of my pot holder. These are simple square pieces, no difficulties here. You may mark them for better alignment, but I did it by eye, and it came out fine.
Then I stitched the pocket and the lace to the front part. I ironed out the edging so that it would sew easier, pinned the corners and carefully stitched along the edge. Now be very careful and make sure that the stitch goes along the top edge of the binding in one go and doesn’t slide down the lower one. If you set your machine at a low speed and keep steadying it along the way, it will come out fine. Be extra careful at the corners (alas, I didn’t manage to achieve perfection here).
I don’t like basting and step-by-step stuff, all this dilly-dallying just doesn’t agree with me. But if you prefer to work that way, you can baste the thing first.
Cut your binding a little longer than the perimeter of the pot holder; we’ll make the surplus into an eyelet. Your pot holder is ready! You may insert your favorite recipe into the pocket.
Clothes repair: Changing a zipper in a jacket
If a zipper in your favorite jacket stopped working, don’t despair! Don’t be haste to chuck it. With a sewing machine at home, you’ll be able to repair it for a very small price. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to change a zipper with a cord in a kids' jacket. The method used here is identical to the one in this article (link coming soon!).
Changing a zipper in a jacket. Preparations
To prepare for the job, you need to rip the seams open to remove the broken zipper, to buy a new one, preferably of the same length. Clear away the thread remnants.
Close to the teeth of the new zipper, baste the cord.
Changing a zipper in a jacket. Sewing
To sew a zipper, you’ll need two pressure feet: a standard zipper foot and a cording foot. Prepare your machine for cording. Choose a straight stitch, with the needle in the center position, and set the stitch length at 3 mm.
Place the zipper with the cording under the foot and stitch carefully.
After that, baste the zipper to the jacket, and fold the cording to the wrong side.
Likewise, fold the upper edge of the jacket to the wrong side and baste. Make sure that the two halves of the cording are equal in length. Now install the zipper foot, and position the needle at the right or at the left.
The side depends on which side of the zipper you’re going to attach first.
Sew the zipper to the jacket.
The work is done, and the jacket gets the second life.
Circular embroidery attachment
Being an owner of a wonderful Brother Innov-is 950 sewing and embroidery machine, I constantly seek to add functionality to it. I’m able to do it with various accessories and attachments. Today, I want to tell you about a circular embroidery attachment which is not listed among the Brother machines accessories. I bought it on a trial basis, without being sure whether it is compatible or not. Now I am able to state with confidence that it is indeed compatible not only with my machine but also the whole number of other models.
Circular embroidery attachment. Materials
Circular embroidery attachment
Embroidery or sewing and embroidery machine
Circular embroidery attachment. How to install and sew
I covered all the key aspects in my video. I want to additionally stress several, in my opinion, important points:
During the attachment installation, the long lever should hover over the screw that holds the needle in place. Only in that position the attachment will move in the proper way, forming a circular pattern.
The upper thread should be above the attachment prior to the beginning of the embroidery. Make sure that is doesn’t get underneath. The lower side of the attachment is covered with a thick non-slippery material that allows moving the fabric in the right direction. If the thread gets under the attachment, the fabric will shift, and the embroidery will come out warped.
If you’re going to use thin fabric, make sure to strengthen it with a machine embroidery stabilizer prior to the embroidery. A tearaway adhesive works fine, as it is easy to remove after the work is done.
You may choose from a multitude of decorative stitches (including zigzag) in your circular embroidery. Before starting on the real thing, do not forget to do a test sew first.
Turn off the feed dog before starting the embroidery. The attachment itself will feed the fabric.
With its help, you will be able to embroider circular designs of three different sizes: large, medium-sized and small. To change the size, you’ll need to loosen the screw, move the attachment to the “plus” or “minus” side and tighten the screw again.
Double needles, too, may be used for circular embroidery.
The attachment is also compatible with such Brother machines as: Boutique 27, Comfort 10, Comfort 15, Comfort 25, Comfort 25A, Comfort 35A, LS2125, LS3125, Prestige 100, Prestige 200, Prestige 300, Prestige 50, Universal 17, Universal 25, Universal 27S, Universal 37S, XL-2130, XL-2140, XL-2240, XL-2250, XL-2600, XL-3500, XL-2120, XL-2220, XL-2230, XL-5050, XL-5060, XL-5070, XL-5500, XL-5600, XL-5700.
Original text by Mary Stratan
Machine embroidery with subsequent coloring
Today, I want to share a very interesting project that involves machine embroidery and coloring. A ready-made child raincoat was used. In the course of making, a lining had to be ripped off, and sewn back again after the project was completed. I needed to do that to keep the inner side of the garment neat and clean. The idea was to embroider an outline and then to paint the inner areas with different colors, using color textile markers made specifically for such purposes.
For this project, I needed:
A child’s raincoat
Black embroidery threads and lower (bobbin) thread
Color textile markers (permanent)
Brother embroidery or sewing and embroidery machine
Design creation and editing software
Creation of the design
First, I created an embroidery design. Suitable vector images were found on the Internet. You can use bitmap images, too, if you like, but they usually take much more time and effort. Several fragments of the embroidery were thus converted and later aligned with each other during the embroidery.
In this particular case, it was convenient to use the largest hoop available. As the embroidery was conducted on Brother Innov-is V7 machine, it was practicable to use a 300 x180 cm frame that comes with the machine – it helped to reduce the number of rehoopings.
A rightly chosen stabilizer is a must if you want to get a high-quality embroidery. I used Filmoplast.
In order for the outline to look sharp and distinguished, it was digitized as a double stitch.
After the embroidery was completed, I removed all stabilizer leftovers from the wrong side.
The embroidery ran along the lower hem of the garment, and also around the sleeves (which were, too, unseamed in advance). The embroidery took quite a lengthy amount of time, but the result was worth it! The raincoat looks very original and exquisite!
Let’s proceed to the coloring.
For the last step, we required permanent textile markers. A happy owner of the future raincoat was invited to join the process; she readily employed all her skills to her heart’s content.
A few hours of pleasant collaboration – and an exclusive raincoat is ready! It’s certainly one and only!
Original text and sewing project by Olga Milovanova
Sewing tutorial: an eco-friendly bag with a Rooster
This is another one of the tutorials presented at the Mlyn exhibition in Minsk. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to sew an eco-friendly bag with a reverse appliqué (Rooster). And not just a simple appliqué, but a quilted one, too.
Sewing a Rooster eco bag. Materials:
Unbleached linen fabric
For the bag: 2 pieces, 30 x 35 cm each
For the handles: 2 pieces, 7 x 60 cm each (or 1 piece, 7 x120 cm)
For the lining: 2 pieces of calico, 32 x 30 cm plus 1 piece, 18 x 18 cm – for the pocket
Colored strips of fabric 24 cm long for the appliqué (the width may vary: 2.5 or 3 or 3.5 cm)
Sewing threads, erasable pen, zigzag scissors.
Sewing a Rooster eco-friendly bag. The working process:
For the decoration, we’ll be using a raw edge reverse appliqué. You can use any outline drawing of a rooster size 20 x 20 cm. Print it and cut out the pattern.
Stitch the strips of fabric together to make a quilt: one after the other, alternating between different colors, until you get a piece 24 x 24 cm in size.
Place the front part of your bag on top of the quilt and secure it with pins.
Trace the design onto the fabric with an erasable pen. Make sure that the design isn’t bigger than the quilted area. Sew along the outline with a decorative stitch.
Using your zigzag scissors, make a hole in the outlined area and cut it close to the outline.
A guide to sewing a freestyle backpack purse.
Step 1. Let’s sew the straps. We have 4 of those.
If you use fabric, fold the pattern No13 right side inside, stitch the sides together, turn right side out and finish the edges with a topstitch.
If you use leather or artificial leather, trim allowance on the sides of the pattern No13. Glue the edges on the wrong side and fold them toward the center. Finish the edges with a topstitch.
Put the resulting leather/fabric/webbing piece through the metallic frame, thus getting a part of the future strap.
Step 2. Sew the straps to the pattern No5, in accordance with the plotted lines painted on it.
Step 3. Place the pattern No6 (the lower edge) on top of the pattern No5 (the edge with the straps), and stitch with seam allowance, right sides facing each other. Turn the piece right side out and add do a topstitch along the seam (the seam allowance should be facing the bottom, the straps should be facing the back).
Step 4. Now take resulting piece of Step 3, and match up the narrow part of the pattern No5 with the lower edge of the pattern No4, right sides facing each other.
Stitch with seam allowance, fold back to the right side and finish with a topstitch along the seam on the side of the pattern No5 (the seam allowance should be facing toward the bottom).
Step 5. To the resulting piece of Step 4, attach the edging, in accordance with the plotted lines on the pattern No6.
Step 6. Preparing a zipper. Put the parts of the pattern No11 together, their right sides facing each other, so that the short end of the assembly covers a 40 cm long zipper. Stitch with 1 cm seam allowance and then topstitch along the seam.
Step 7. Stitch the resulting pieces of Step 5 and Step 6 together, in accordance with the plotted lines. One flange of the zipper is now secured.
Step 8. Place two parts of the pattern No7 (canvas) on top of each other, right sides facing each other, and sew along the lower edge with seam allowance.
Flip both parts back.
Place the resulting piece of Step 7 on the canvas, right sides facing each other, in accordance with the plotted lines. Sew with seam allowance to the edge of the pattern No4 (the assembly with the zipper).
***The beginning and the end of the line of stitching should not overlap the second canvas piece.
Step 9. Turn the Pattern No8 right side out.
Transfer the center point over onto the zipper tape.
Cover it with the second piece of canvas, right sides facing each other, align the centers and the triangular bracings.
Baste and stitch with 0.5 seam allowance.
Step 10. Patch plate on the front.
If you decided to make your patch plate rectangular, fold the edges to the center and do a topstitch along the folding lines.
Sew the last pair of straps to the pattern No12. You may shorten these straps as much as possible.
Step 11. Sew the resulting piece of Step 10 to the pattern No3.
Step 12. Sew the resulting piece of Step 11 to the pattern No9, matching up the centers.
Step 13. Now we’re going to sew the short handles.
If you're using fabric, fold the parts of the pattern No10, right sides facing each other, and stitch with seam allowance.
Turn the whole thing right side out, press it with an iron and do a topstitch along the folding lines.
If you're using leather or artificial leather,
glue the long sides to a depth of 2 cm. Hem in the seam allowance, then gently tap the folds with a small hammer.
Fold the result in half and sew the folded hems together.
Add another line of stitching at the same distance, parallel to the first.
Round handle: an alternative.
To make a round handle, you’ll need a cord, preferably the one that has a core. The circumference of the handle will depend on the diameter of the cord. The point here is to match the diameter of the cord to the inner part of the future handle. The cord should be equal to the pattern No10 in length, minus 2 cm of seam allowance.
How to calculate the width of the pattern No10 (the round handle):
Measure the diameter of the cord, if unknown. Add 3–5 mm so that is moves freely, and 2 cm allowance on top of that. That will give you get the necessary width.
Fold the seam allowance to the wrong side. Glue (if you're using leather) or baste (if you’re using fabric). Match up the folded hems and sew.
Using whatever you have at hand, pass the cord through the pattern.
This is how I do it. First, I pick up a thick thread and a needle. Having cut 30 cm of the thread, I secure it at the end of the cord, winding it around several times with a needle. I also have a sturdy strand of wire. Folding it in half; I attach the free end of the thread to the bend.
Then I pass the wire through my future short handle and draw the end of the cord on the other side.
It will take some effort, because there is not too much room inside. It will be an easy journey from here.
We now have the straps.
Step 14. Sew the result of Step 13 (the short handles) to the short edges of the result of Step 12, right sides facing each other, at a distance of 1.5 cm from the corner.
Step 15. Now let’s add our zipper.
Fold the pattern No2 in half and put it on top of your main zipper, close to the teeth, but not too close.
Sew along the folding line at a distance of 3–5 mm from the edge. If the zipper tape is wide, you may add another line of stitching, parallel to the first. Repeat with the second flange.
Be sure to do the reversing to secure the end of the zipper so that it doesn’t pop open.
Step 16. Sew the resulting piece of Step 15 to the even edge of the pattern No1 (made of outer fabric), right sides together. Repeat with the second part of pattern No1.
Step 17. If you’re making a bag out of fabric, baste the resulting piece of the Step 14 to the resulting piece of the pattern 16, right sides together, at a distance of 1.5 cm from the upper edge of the pattern No1. Later this assembly will be stitched to the upper edge of the body of the bag.
In order to make a beautiful even seam, use the markings on the pattern No1 that correspond to the markings on the bottom part of the resulting piece of Step 14.
Do not sew the upper edges of the lining to the upper end of the body!
Stitch the basted edges with seam allowance.
Thus we get the future upper part of the backpack.
Step 18. Put the two parts of the pattern No8 together, right sides facing each other, and stitch along the upper and lower edges. Turn right side out through the open sides. If you decided to make two pockets, repeat this last step with the second part of the pattern No8.
Iron out the pocket edges.
Step 19. Sew the resulting piece of Step 18 to the pattern No6, in accordance with the plotted lines. Sew or baste the sides, fixing them in place. Stitch along bottom folding line, thus attaching the lower part of the pocket. Or, you may stitch the pocket in one go: first the right side, then the bottom, and then the left.
Step 20. Now, the lining for the body of your bag.
Align the resulting piece of Step 19 and the pattern No9, and sew with seam allowance along the shorter edge, right sides facing each other.
Press the seam allowance open.
Step 21. Sew the result of the Step 20 with the pattern N1 (the lining), at a distance of 1.5 cm from the upper corner of that pattern. Leave an opening for turning your backpack right side out.
Step 22. Unzip.
Align the upper edges of the result of Step 21 (right side) to the upper edges of the resulting piece of Step 17 (wrong side). Sew with seam allowance.
Step 23. Tuck the outer part of the bag into the lining. Do not turn the whole thing right side out yet.
Align the open side edges of the lining and the zipper. Make sure that the edges of the inside and outside parts of the bag align.
Sew with seam allowance.
Step 24. Turn the backpack right side out through the opening in the lining.
Tuck the lining into the backpack and check all of the seams for defects.
All good? Then stitch the opening in the lining with a blind stitch.
Step 25. Now let’s prepare the lower parts of the straps.
Use the technique from step 13. We sewed the short handles there.
Step 26. Slide on the strap adjusters.
Stitch the strap ends.
Pass the strap ends through the openings in the front part of the backpack and sew.
Pass the other ends through the openings on the back (the ones on the straps) and then once more through the strap length adjusters, so as to form a second lover loop.
Sewing the edge of the shoulder straps.
P.S. If you find any part of the tutorial difficult, feel free to write a comment, and we’ll try to help.
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