I made this cute little backpack out of a boys long-sleeved shirt that was being thrown out by another mother nearby. I was offered a lot of her clothes when her son had grown out of them. Somehow, I didn't imagine my son wearing this as a shirt, but I envisioned it being a much cuter little backpack.
I should have taken a before picture, but didn't think about taking pictures of the process until I had already started cutting. In any case, it should be relatively clear.
What you will need:
-Sewing Machine. (Although, I guess you could hand sew it, but it would be a bit tedious.)
-Safety pin or paper clip
-pencil or bamboo skewer
Step 1: Cut Off the Sleeves and Neck of the Shirt
Like I said, I didn't think to get a picture until I had already made these cuts, but I made a drawing to show exactly where I cut.
The red lines on the drawing are my cut lines, and the yellow pieces are the ones that I saved for making the backpack.
You can see that I cut the sleeves into strips. They will be used for making the straps.
Step 2: Hem Down the Top Edge of the Shirt
On both the front and the back, I hemmed down the top edges of the shirt. I made the seam a little over a centimeter down from the fold. That creates a small tube that will hold our straps and make our drawstring later on.
I closed up the backpack, and gave it better shape, by flipping it inside out and sewing up the holes left from where I had cut the sleeves off. I sewed a straight line just up to the hem at the top, but not across the hem!!
Step 3: Make Your Straps
I only had the sleeves' fabric to use for the straps, so I had to piece together several strips that I cut from the sleeves in order to make them long enough.
I sewed the strips of fabric together, however I could, to make strips of fabric that were about 2 inches wide and as long as I could get them to be from just one sleeve. I cut the strips around 2 inches wide, whenever I could. In some cases, though, because of the seams in the sleeves, it didn't work out, and I had to cut them a bit smaller, and sewed them together to get them to be about the same width. I then repeated the process with the other sleeve.
To form the straps, I folded each strip of cloth down the center, right sides facing each other, and sewed the free edges and the bottom shut. I made one long tube from each sleeve, and used a skewer to help me turn the tubes back right side out.
Step 4: Thread Your Straps Through the Top Hems
I then stuck a safety pin through the sewed up ends on the straps, and threaded one of my straps through the front, top hem, and the other strap through the hem in back. I knotted one on the left side, and the other on the right, to prevent the straps from coming out of the hem later on when closing the backpack.
Step 5: Sew Across the Bottom of the Shirt
By then, the worst part was over. The only thing left was to pull the long ends of the straps through the inside of the shirt, making sure it was still inside-out, and pull them through the bottom before sewing across the bottom hem (look for my red thread to see where I sewed). Hopefully, you can see exactly what I mean from the pictures.
Step 6: Turn It Right-Side-Out and You're Finished!! Wear Your Backpack!!
Once you turn it right-side-out, you are finished. The straps serve the dual function of being straps, and for being the drawstring that you use to open and close the backpack.
Right now my backpack has come in handy for carrying around an extra change of clothes for a potty-training toddler!!
Fun times. :)
For more projects, check out my blog, http://www.thethingswellmake.com