Introduction: Backpack + Hoodie = Brilliant!

About: ...after 30 years of becoming corporately numb, my dreams of not working (for pay) and instead creating with my hands has become a reality. Life is grand!

QUESTION:  What do you get when you blend a Backpack with a Hoodie?

ANSWER:  Function with Fashion!

While it's easy for the weather to change, it's not so easy to remember to stuff a hat into your backpack.  By adding a hoodie directly to your backpack, you willl always have something to keep your head warm.

This Instructable uses basic sewing skills and shows how to create a hoodie and then attach it to an existing backpack.

Let's get started...

Step 1: Gather Materials

For this instructable I wanted to use two different colors to distinguish between the interior (tan) and exterior (black) of the hoodie and so the materials include:
  • 12" (of 44-45" fabric) in the color that you want to appear when hoodie is on the head.
    •  I wanted BLACK to be exposed when the hoodie is on my head, and used a heavy flannel
  • 12" (of 44-45" fabric) in the color that you want to appear when hoodie is not on the head
    • I wanted TAN to blend with the backpack when the hoodie is not on my head, and used a t-shirt knit
  • 72" bootlace, or cord to act as a drawstring
Because this instructable is modifying an existing backpack, you will also need...
  • Backpack
  • Sewing machine, or needle & thread
  • Straight Pins, Scissors, Paper/Pencil

Step 2: Decide on the Type of Hoodie

The easiest way to create a hoodie is to liberate one from an existing jacket and skip Steps 3-6.

Another solution is to trace the outline of an existing hoodie, and add 1/2" to all sides of the traced pattern, along with 3" at the bottom (where it will connect to a backpack), thus skipping Step 3.

For this Instructable, the first two solutions were not practical as I wanted something that had the insulation quality of 2 hoodies combined.    As a result I created a pattern (Step 3) that has the addition of a center panel.  Not only does it reduce the bulkiness associated with wearing two hoodies but it also has a nicer appearance when not in use.

Step 3: Create the Pattern

My pattern consists of 2 pieces which I refer to as:

Because this hoodie was designed for an adult's head, I created the pattern on a 9"'x12" sheet of paper. 

Unfortunately my scanner will only handle 8.5" x 11" so if you use the attached, be sure to enlarge the output to a setting of 110%.  If the hoodie is for a child's backpack, the pattern can be used at 100%.

In case you don't have access to a printer, here's how to create the SIDE PANEL pattern:

  • Cut a 9"x12" sheet from a newspaper/paper bag.
  • Mark 1" squares along the paper's perimeter and number them off.  These will become reference points in creating the SIDE PANEL pattern.
  • Starting at the bottom right corner, draw a dark line between 4.5" (horizontally) and 2.5" (vertically).
  • Moving counter-clockwise to the bottom left corner, draw a dark line between 1" (horizontally) and 6" (vertically).
  • Finally at the upper left corner, identify/mark where 4" (vertically) and 3" (horizontally) appear.  Using a dinner plate with a round edge, place the plate between the two marks and create a dark curve.
  • These dark lines create the cutting line for the SIDE PANEL patter with a 1/2" seam allowence built in to it..
The CENTER PANEL is simply a strip of fabric that measures 5" x 19.5", and a 1/2" seam allowence has been included.

Step 4: Pin and Stitch

You are now going to sew the basic hoodie, and then repeat the process so that you end up with two "raw" hoodies:

  • Starting at the top front, pin the SIDE PANEL and CENTER PANEL together for 6" (or to where the Side Panel upper curve begins).
  • Similarly, pin the bottom back of the SIDE PANEL and CENTER PANEL together for 8" (or to where the Side Panel lower curve begins).
  • Notice the curve section remains unpinned.  Locate the approximate center of the SIDE PANEL curve and place a pin (see black pin) on the approximate of the remaining CENTER PANEL fabric.  
  • Similar to the prior step, find the center distance between the unpinned section(s) and continue pinning (see red pin).  The distance between the unpinned sections is now minimized and the SIDE PANEL curve has been eased around the curve of the CENTER PANEL..
  • Starting at the bottom back, stich a 1/2" seam along the edge, around the curve and then finishing at the top front. 
  • Without cutting through the seam line, clip notches on the curve of the seam. This will allow the curve to have a more natural appearance and reduce some of the bulk. half of one hoodie has been completed.  Repeat process on the other side, connecting the other SIDE PANEL to the existing CENTER PANEL.  

Repeat the above process with the panels cut from the contrasting fabric.

Congratulations again...both halves of the hoodies are now completed!

Step 5: Connect the Two Hoodies

  • Place right sides together, so the sides without seams are exposed and the attractive sides are facing each other.
  • Line up where the seam lines match the outside of the hoodies to each other but keep an opening where the bottom CENTER PANEL meet.
  • Stitch 1/2" along the outside edge starting at the bottom back of the SIDE PANEL, toward the bottom front, up to the top front, around the top center panel and then back down on the otherside, stopping before you get to the back CENTER PANEL.
  • Place your hand inside the back CENTER PANEL opening and pull the fabric the inside out.  The finished sides of the hoodie will now be exposed on the outside and the seam lines will be on the inside. 

Step 6: Press and Stitch

  • Press the outside edges of the hoodie.
  • When you get to the bottom opening of the CENTER PANEL, fold each under 1/2", press and pin.
  • Place your needle 1/4" from the outside edge and topstitch around the entire hoodie.
  • Next, create a channel for the drawstring by placing your needle at the bottom front of the hoodie and topstitching approximately 3/4" from side.  The topstitching will be extended to the top front/center and around  to the bottom front on the other side. 
  • Figure out which side of the hoodie will be exposed when placed on your head (black fabric).  Using the tip of your scissors, slit a small hole through one layer of the hoodie .
  • Secure a safety pin on a bootlace/cord and thread through the most recent section of top stitching.  The drawstring is now in place and can later be tied around the neck.
  • Find the back Center Panel (where there is no drawstring) and pin it to 4" of the centerback of the backpack.  Stitch in place.

Step 7: Finished!

With less than an hour of your time, the Backpack Hoodie can be worn without worrying about cold weather or messing up your hair. 

Since your Backpack Hoodie is BRILLIANT, there no need to crack the books and get back to studying.  Instead go out and model your accomplishment with pride!

Sew Warm Contest

Finalist in the
Sew Warm Contest