Drawstring Backpack




This is a great little backpack/sack that draws closed at the top.

The original pattern for this backpack is here: http://www.creativeneedlemag.com/feature/feature1ja00.html but the instructions were so unclear I made an instructable. It's a great project but doesn't make sense the way it's written.

Step 1: Materials

(directly from the original pattern)
5/8 yd. fabric (bag)
1/2 yd. lining fabric

Cut one piece of fabric 14" x 36" for bag. Cut two straps 2 1/2" x 33". Cut two pieces for bag lining 14" x 15 1/2".

Step 2: Make Straps

Sew strap pieces by folding in half and stitching and turning right side out (use a safety pin to help turn)

Step 3: Sew Lining to Outer Fabric

With right sides together, sew lining (white in my photos) to outside fabric (orange). The 14" edges will match up.

Step 4: Sew Edges of Bag

Fold in half and pin. Pin straps on opposite sides of the bag on the outer fabric right at the point where it meets the lining (see photo. Pin one on the front and one on the back.

Stitch from folded edge of outer fabric up, through strap and then backstitch and stop. Skip over 1.5 inches and start sewing again along lining and around corner. Stop a few inches along the short edge of the lining (so there is a gap in the stitching at the bottom)

Step 5: Turn Right Side Out

Through the hole in the bottom of the lining, turn right side out. Pull straps through holes left in edges. The outer fabric will turn into the inside about 1.5 inches. Stitch all the way around the bag along the line between the outer and the lining to make the casing.

Step 6: Finish Straps

Thread the straps through the casing in opposite directions. The straps will end up on the opposite sides of the bag from where they started.

Then turn in ends of straps (to cover up rough edges) and pin to bottom corners of bag and stitch.

Step 7: All Done

Be sure to look at the original pattern to fill in the holes in these instructions. Hope they make sense. I didn't do the basting suggested in the original, not sure if that was important.

Happy backpack making,



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    10 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This makes such a cute bag! I had such a hard time wrapping my head around step 4, but once I got it, things came together perfectly! After sewing the lining to the outer fabric (along top edges only) in step 3, open the whole piece and lay it out flat. You will see: short lining/seam/ long outer/seam/short lining. THEN when you fold it in half (beginning of step 4), the linings will meet (right sides in) and the outer fabric will meet (right side in). Somehow I just did not get that from the photos. But awesome instructable, I know I'll end up making these for all my nieces!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This looks awesome! Just wondering though, i get a bit lost starting at the 2nd half of step 4. Could you please elaborate on the remaining steps for me? Sorry, its just i tried to access the original pattern, but the site isn't accessible. Anyway, THANK YOU! sorry for the confusion :)

    Annette M

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much for this great bag! I found the directions and pictures very clear. I had found something similar elsewhere on the web, but I just couldn't "get it." This was perfect. Now that I have the idea, I can't wait to make more. My sons want overnight bags for sleepovers and I have some cute sari material that I will make into a small purse. Thank you so much for this! Very nice job!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I made the bag today, for my little girl. she loves it and as its only my second sewing project I'm really proud. I did cheat slightly though, I didn't use a lining. Its only a P.E kit bag and will be smelly and muddy in no time! Great Instructable, the practical ones are the best for me.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    I think I got it! As a newbie sewer, I didn't understand that you fold it all the way in half, instead of just folding it at the seams. Once I did that, it all worked together very nicely.


    10 years ago on Step 5

    I'm guessing you sew up the whole after you turn it through. I didn't understand about the outer fabric turning in, and then realized that it was naturally where the seam already was. I think it's all coming together now! I'm getting excited!


    10 years ago on Step 3

    What about the part in the middle? If the original fabric is 36 inches, and the 2 lining blocks are 15 1/2 inches each, you'll have four left over. Is that right? Should I match them in the middle and leave 2 inches on each end? Or sew them to the ends and leave the middle bare? Am I just sewing the ends, or the sides, too? I apologize for the simple questions - I'm a new seamstress. Thanks!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    cool bag! I will probably make several for my freinds. Thanks.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I just wanted to thank you for clearing up the original pattern for me. I found it a couple of days ago and could not figure it out at all. I was searching for another pattern and found yours. Your instructions helped.