Milo Murphy's Backpack




Introduction: Milo Murphy's Backpack

About: I'm a social-worker, working with 12 - 23 year-olds. I used to be a printer. In 2018 I opened a small makerspace ( in my house, where I have lasercutters, 3d-printers, Arduino's, Mindstorms and ot…

The sewing machine is a skill that I am just starting to develop. After my dog-food-bag wallet I need something more difficult. I also need a big bag for summer camp. If you know Milo Murphy, than you know that his bag is the one you need for maximum space.

It was also a cheap project because there is a place near where I live where they sell parts of old army tents for just 2,00 euro / m2.

Perhaps this was just a little bit to big of a sewing project to start with, but I learned a lot and I am happy with the result.

Step 1: You Will Need


  • 2 m2 green cloth
  • 2 cm x 1 m black cloth
  • a little bit of yellow cloth
  • 150 cm velcro
  • 2 x 80 cm belt
  • Plank of wood for the bottom (optional)


  • Sewing machine
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • pins

Step 2: Salvage

Because I used used materials only, I first had to salvage my materials. The window cover coming from the army tent was the exact size that I wanted for the bag and already had velcro on the right places, so that was one panel of my bag already (almost) finished.

I also had some soft leather half-made belts that looked perfect for this.

Step 3: The Warning Sign

Because my tent cloth is in the washing machine, I started with the iconic black and yellow warning sign. I also want to make this sign a pocket, so on the top I will putt velcro.

I used stretch material for the black and the yellow. Don't do that! It is not easy to work with.

In our shops they only had sticky velcro, so I sewed that on. Don't do that, because you will be cleaning your sewing machine for hours!

This was not my most successful part of sewing, but I managed to get it done.

  • Cut the black material the size that you want it, with an extra 1 cm all around for seams.
  • Cut the yellow cloth in a strip and again make sure that you add 1 cm on both sides for seams.
  • Fold the seam under the yellow strip and sew it on a 45º angle on the black cloth.
  • Repeat with even spacing.
  • Sew the seam of the black with yellow sign all around.
  • Sew the velcro on one side of the back of the sign.

Step 4: The Side Pockets

Still waiting for the washing machine, I start with the side pockets.

  • Cut a pocketfront the size that you want + 1 cm on all sides. On top you add an extra 4 cm for the hem.
  • Cut a strip that is the dept of your pocket wide + 1 cm on both sides.
  • Make the strip the length of 2 x the hight of the pocket + the width + 2 x 4 cm for the hem + 2 x 1 cm for the seam.
  • Sew the strip around the front inside out.
  • Turn it outside - out.

Step 5: The Inside of the Back.

You could use a different material for this part, because it will be on the inside.

(I didn't have to do most of this steps, except sowing one seam.)

  • Cut the material the width of the back + 2 x 2,5 cm for the seam.
  • Cut the material the length of 2 x the hight of the bag + the depth of the bag + 2 x 2,5 cm for seams.
  • Sew the side seams by folding over 1 cm and than again 1,5 cm (rolling it). Sew 1,3 cm from the edge.
  • Roll the seam on the top and bottom and put velcro on top of it and now sew the velcro on and automatically also sew the roll-seam that is underneath it.

Step 6: The Outer Material

The outer material needs to be the same width as the inner. It will need to be a lot longer, because the flap of the bag will be added. For now I just kept the whole length of the material that I had.

  • Cut the material the same width as the material for the inside was cut.
  • The length must be the length of the inside + the depth of the bag + 1/2 of the hight of the bag. (If you have more material, don't cut it just yet to length)
  • Make the seams on the sides like before.
  • Make the seam plus the other side of the velcro on the bottom of the material like before.
  • Put the inside material on the outside material to mark where to sow the other strip of velcro.
  • Sew the other strip of velcro on. (I used the velcro salvaged from the tent)

Step 7: The Straps

Besides the straps, I also added a handle. You don't have to. (this is not on the original) If you put it on, put it on first! and not like I did on top.

  • Make a handle if you want.
  • Sew the handle on the outer cloth. The second piece of velcro is the edge of the back of the bag. Sew the handle away from the velcro towards the piece that isn't cut to size yet. (the top of the bag)
  • Put the straps on top of the handle and also sew them on away from the velcro.
  • Turn the straps over and sow them to the back sideways. Mark where to sew them by measuring the middle of the bottom between the two pieces of velcro. Than add half the depth of the back on both sides, where you mark the bottom of the bag, than add 2 cm and there you can sew the bottom of the strap.

Step 8: More Velcro

  • Mark where you want the black and yellow sign. (the side of the outer material with the velcro is the top of your bag and you just marked the bottom of the bag when you marked for the straps.
  • Sew the other side of the velcro for the sign where you marked the top of the sign.
  • Sew an other piece of velcro in the middle of the back, where you want your flap to close.

Step 9: Add the Sign

  • Put the velcro on the sign on the velcro on the bag.
  • Pin the sign down.
  • Sew the sides and bottom of the sign on the bag.

Step 10: The Inner Pockets

First make the side panels:

  • Cut a strip of cloth the depth of the bag + 2 x 2,5 cm for the seams.
  • Cut the length, the hight of the bag + a few cm for an extra flap (6 cm) + 2 x 2,5 cm for the seams.
  • Sew the seams like before, all the way around.

I added some pockets on the inside. You don't have to do this.

The extra inner pockets:

  • Cut some material the width of the side pockets + 2 x 1 cm for seams.
  • Cut the pocket length the hight of the side pockets + 1 cm + 5 cm
  • Fold the top 1 cm and than again 4 cm (roll)
  • Sew 3,8 cm from the top.
  • Mark where you want the side pockets on the side panels.
  • Transfer measurements to the inside of the side panel by pushing a pin in the corners.
  • Fold the seams of the sides and bottom of the inside pocket in.
  • Pin the inside pocket on the marking.

Do this all 2 x.

Step 11: The Side Pockets

  • Sew a piece of velcro on the top of the pocket.
  • Fold the edge of the side of the pocket 1 cm in to make the seam.
  • Pin the pocket on the outside of the side panel where you marked.
  • You will also pin through the inside pocket, so you can remove the pins that you put in in the previous step.
  • Sew the sides and bottom of the pocket to the panel. (you also will sow the inside pocket in place with the same stitch.)
  • Sew the top of the side of the pocket to the side panel with a few stitches, so it doesn't stand high there.

Make the flap

  • Cut a piece of black material the width of the side pocket + 2 x 1 cm for seams.
  • Make the hight the hight you want the flap + 1 cm for attaching + 2 x 1 cm for seams.
  • I cut off two corners just for looks.
  • Make a small roll seam all the way around.
  • Sew the other part of the velcro in the middle of the edge of the flap.
  • Hold the flap on the open position above the pocket and sew it on. (make sure that you don't sew the inside pocket shut)

Do this 2 x

Step 12: Sewing the Inner and Outer Cloth Together

All your panels are (almost) finished. Now you can sew the inside pannel to the outside panel. My plan was to sew the side panels in in the same run, but my sewing machine isn't strong enough to go trough all these layers of heavy material. (If your machine is, you can put in the side panels as well in this run. But read the next step before you do!)

  • Mark the bottom of your bag all the way across. (you already marked it when you put on the straps)
  • Put the inside on the outside by putting the velcro on each other.
  • Add some extra pins to keep it all in place.
  • Sew from the velcro on the top of the bag until the marking for the bottom of the back, than across following the marking to the other side of the bag and back up again to the velcro.
  • Sew the same on the backside of the bag.

Step 13: Sew in the Side Panels

I used extra strong thread for this part.

  • Fold the big panel inside out. So the two velcro strips are on top of each other, but the straps and sign are on the inside.
  • Pin the side panels in with the (black) side pocket to the inside.
  • The side panel is a couple of cm longer than the hight of the back (that is by design to keep the rain out and your stuff in.)
  • Sew the sides and the bottom of the side panel to only the outer cloth of the main panel. (so you have to fold the inner cloth and the straps out of the way.)

Step 14: Add a Plank

To make the bottom more solid, you can add a plank or some cardboard or plastic or you don't.

  • Cut a thin plank 2 cm smaller and 2 cm shorter than the bottom of the bag.
  • Put the plank in-between the inner and outer cloth at the bottom.
  • Turn the bag outside out.

Step 15: The Flap

Make a nice trap of black material.

I made mine by rolling both sides in and double stitching them with a contrasting colour. The original is just black so you could just use some belt material that is left over from the straps.

  • Decide the length of the flap so that the edge will cover the piece of velcro that we sowed on the front of the bag.
  • Fold the flap to the lengt that you want.
  • I left all the extra material on so I created a kind of pocket in the flap to put in some extra stuff (I might even add more velcro :) )
  • Pin the strap to the edge of the flap.
  • Pin the last piece of velcro on top of the strap.
  • Sew the sides and top of the fold over part of the flap to the flap. (this will also attach the strap and the velcro)
  • Put an extra stitch on the other side of the velcro.

Your bag is finished!

Step 16: Fill Your Bag

Now fill your bag with hedge trimmers, rope, ear warmers, ladders, soap and everything else that Milo would put in his bag.

This bag has an extra big pocket for laptops and notebooks on the front and back of the bag, it has two small inside pockets, two side pockets, a pocket behind the warning sign and something like a pocket inside the flap.

Step 17: What I Would Have Done Differently

I would not use stretch material for the yellow and black parts.

Never sew through self adhesive velcro.

I would have made it a little bit smaller.

I would put the handle under the backstraps.

I would have made the inside slightly smaller than the outside for easier attachment of the side panels.

I wouldn't sew the side seams all the way down the flap in the beginning, but just until the velcro.

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    2 Discussions


    2 years ago on Step 17

    Your instructable is nice and clear, and your English is excellent -- but I would recommend that you change "sow" to "sew" throughout the instructable. To "sow" means to spread grains into the soil to grow a crop (as in "As ye sow, so shall ye reap"). To "sew" with an E is what you do with a needle and thread. Spell check can be fooled when you use an existing word, and the English language is full of words like these, which sound the same, but different spellings have different meanings. Great job on the backpack!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi Belsey, Thank you for your reply. I hope I've caught them all. I don't want anything growing in my bag.