Function-Reversible Drawstring Backpack/Pouch




Introduction: Function-Reversible Drawstring Backpack/Pouch

About: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a microcontroller (; now thinking about climate...

Here's a way to turn your t-shirts into a cute two-tone drawstring backpack- or, since it's function-reversible, a drawstring pouch!

All you need is two t-shirts (and cutting/sewing supplies).

Step 1: Cut Out Rectangles

Cut rectangles out of your two shirts- two identical rectangles per shirt.

The dimensions between the two shirts' rectangles should be the same on three sides, but the rectangles from one of the shirts should be a little taller (my gray one was about an inch taller).

The taller fabric, which I will henceforth refer to as the gray fabric, will be the outside for the drawstring pouch.
The shorter fabric, which I will henceforth refer to as the red fabric, will be the outside for the backpack.

Step 2: Cut Strings

Cut eight 1" wide loops from the bottom of the gray shirt and four 1" stripes from the bottom of the red shirt.
You will be turning these into your strings/backpack straps.

Divide each color type in half- the six cut stripes below all belong to one strap.
Cut the loops on one side to make them long strips.
Sew the ends together such that you'll end up with one red and two gray equally really long strips per strap.
Braid straps.
Sew across the ends of the braids; cut loose ends.

Step 3: Sew Rectangles

Right sides together, sew three sides of the rectangles.

BUT WAIT! Leave a gap on each one:
Red fabric: leave a little (1"?) gap at the bottom corners of the bag.
Gray fabric: Remember how this was taller than the red one? Leave the bit that's taller unsewn at the top of the bag.

Step 4: Put It Together

Turn the red bag right side out. Insert the (still inside-out) gray bag in.
Roll the unsewn part of the gray bag over the top.
Sew along both sides, but leave both of the ends open (see pictures).

Step 5: Add Drawstring

Insert one of your strings into one of the tubes. A safety pin on the end makes this a cinch!
Pull it through one tube, then turn it right around and pull it back through the other tube, so it ends up on the same side it started on.

Repeat with the other string, but from the other side.

Step 6: Tuck in Ends

Tuck the ends of your braided straps into the gap you left for them in the bottom of the red bag.

Now, this bit is fiddly, but it's also clever, so follow along:
Push the corner of the red bag, with the strap ends tucked into it, up through the lining to come out through the tiny hole you left in the top (see the last picture).
Pull that corner out of the bag. It should be inside out, with the strap ends poking through. (see the second picture).
Sew in the gap that you didn't sew before (back in step 3), completing the seam and sealing the ends of the straps into it.
Push the corner back through the hole and tuck everything back into place again.
Was that confusing? Leave a comment and I'll see what I can do to help.

Repeat with the other side.
When you're done, it should look like the third picture.

Step 7: Done!

Yay! You have a drawstring backpack! It's lined!
But what's that? You want a drawstring pouch? Turn it inside out! Look at that gorgeous, lined, drawstring pouch!
You can even tuck the ends into the gray pouch for a very discreet bundle.
Isn't that lovely?

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    9 Discussions


    7 years ago

    Nice! A great idea to reuse old t shirts!


    7 years ago

    Do I have to leave two holes at the top for the cords to come out?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not sure which two holes you mean, but I think the clearest picture of what you're asking is shown in the second picture of Step 4.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    love this! but gosh what a lot of t-shirts are getting cut up! i only have baby t's that can get cut up...if i cut up what i see(my hubby's...i'll have war at home!)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You can get t-shirts sooo cheap from thrift stores! And if you're willing to ask your friends for their clothing discards, you can get a lot of old shirts that way too.

    (Also, don't tell anyone, but you can do the same 'ible with regular fabric.)