My two year old loves backpacks, but most of them are too big for him. He also loves diggers, so I decided to make him his very own digger backpack.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
To make this backpack you will need:
- A pencil
- A sewing machine
- 1square yellow felt (15cm)
- 1square brown felt (15cm)
- (Or the appropriate colours of felt for your own desighn.)
- Backpack material approx 30cm (1foot) by 60cm (2feet)
- 2 zips 10cm (4inches) long each.
- Sewing pins
Step 2: Design
I decided on a triangular backpack as I wanted a small one that would suit the shape of an excavator.
I sketched this shape on some paper then flipped to the other side of the paper and used the outline of the shape as a basis for the outline of my excavator.
I made sure to keep the deaign simple so that it could become a sewable pattern.
To make the basic pattern I traced each colour outline onto seperate paper and cut them out.
This basic methods can be used to make any custom design. Animals, diggers, animal faces, rockets... almost anything.
You can even choose a differently shaped and sized backpack and follow the same steps to make it.
Step 3: Pin and Cut Out Pattern
I used an old jacket that no longer fits for the base of the backpack, folding it in half before pinning and cutting the triangle to get two triangles, one for the front and one for the back of the backpack.
It is important to allow for a hem. You can do this by drawing one around your pattern or you can do what I did. And cut about 1cm (1/2 inch) from the edge of your pattern to allow for a hem.
I chose to use felt for my digger design so that I would not have to hem it as felt does not fray. This made sewing it much easier and it looks good.
Step 4: Sew Desighn in Place
I would normality try to match the thread colour to the material colour however I decided that black thread would be similar to the outline of a children's picture and used the thread as a feature of the design, including sewing the excavator boom, arm and bucket as different pieces even though they are one piece of material.
I sewed the tracks over the cab and boom base and the bucket over the tracks by sewing the cabana boom first, then sewing the tracks while lifting the bucket aside, then sewing the bucket and arm.
Step 5: Attatch Zips
Since I was already pulling apart an old jacket to make this I chose to use the old zips from the pockets for this bag, meaning my bag has two zips that meet at the top. If you want to make a bag with one zip, you can attatch it where you would like it, down one side or cantered to open the top.
Pin the zips in place as close to the design as possible, with the outside of the zip facing the design. And sew as close to the zip as possible.
Step 6: Measure and Make Width
I used a piece of string to measure around the design to find out how long I needed to make the depth piece of material.
Cut a rectangle the length of the string plus 2cm (1 inch) for hem by the width you want your back pack plus hem. (mine is 4cm plus 2cm for hem.)
Pin and sew this onto the other side of the zip, then sew it the rest of the way around the design triangle.
Sew the short ends to each other so that you have complete sides, top and bottom of the backpack.
It should look as though it is only missing the back and straps.
Step 7: Sew Straps
Cut out 2 rectangles 30cm (1 foot) by 4cm (2inches) each. And one more rectangle 10cm (4inches) by 4cm (2inches).
Fold them in half and sew along the long edge. They should now be 30cm by 2cm and 10cm by 2cm.
Turn them inside out so that the stitching is inside a tube.
Place the seam in the middle of the tube and sew along it flattening the tube. This will keep the backpack straps from getting twisted keeping them flat for use, and look good.
If you are making a bigger child's or adult backpack you will need to make longer straps. You can use another backpack as a guide to how long you would like them or you can buy and use adjustable straps sewing each end into the seam and then threading them together.
Step 8: Pin and Sew Straps and Back
Pin the straps in place making sure that the end is entering into the hem (so the end will be going inside the bag) and the straps are not twisted.
Open the zips and turn the bag inside out.
Pin the back triangle onto the back of the bag.
Sew around the hem at the back of the backpack.
Step 9: Trim Hems
Ttrim the hems and cut of any excess thread still on the backpack.
Turn it in the right way and test it out.
Enjoy your backpack.