Mini Backpack Sewing Kit

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About: Aspiring design engineer from Imperial College London from Hong Kong. Museum lover. Interested in STEM communication, experience design, and making things. Chair of Imperial College Artisans Workshop. Secret...

Okay, I confess, the entire reason I made this was for the Backpack contest - but that's what they're there for, right? Motivation! Having discovered the contest rather too late to do anything big however, I decided to make a miniature backpack that doubles as a bag attachment AND a travel sewing kit! Or you know, just a miniature backpack. Whatever floats your boat. This still counts as a backpack right?

Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials

Materials:

  • Scrap fabric (feel free to mix and match)
  • Thread (of suitable colour)
  • Keychain
  • Button / snap fastener

Tools:

  • Measuring tape (or equivalent)
  • Tailor's chalk (or equivalent)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Needle
  • (Optional) Printer

Step 2: Transfer Pattern to Fabric

Attached is the pattern I made for this bag, complete with dimensions. The solid lines are to be cut, while the dashed lines indicate seam allowances. By scaling the pattern, different sized bags can be made to suit your needs. Either print it off and cut the pieces out to trace onto the fabric, or draw it out yourself with a ruler. I did the latter, then compared them against the pattern pieces after they were cut out to make sure they were the right size.

Step 3: Cut the Pieces Out

Pretty self explanatory - though if you are using old jeans like I am, be sure to keep the seams intact, they will come in handy later on.

If you want to add a lining to the bag, cut an extra of each piece. I won't be teaching how to do lining here because I did not do it for this project (nor do I really know how to, to be honest).

Step 4: Pinning the Main Body of the Bag

Now that you have all four pieces of the bag, it's time to put things together (at least temporarily)!

First, pin the needle holder to the back piece (across the narrow section), wrong side of the fabric facing each other. Be sure to fold in the seams on the top and bottom of the needle holder.

Next, take the side piece and center it on the back piece, folding it around the edges of the back piece, right side of the fabric to the right side. Pin in place. The ends of the side piece should stick out over the flanges of the back piece flap a little on both sides.

Then take the back piece, and line up the edges with the edge of the side piece, right side to right side. Pin together.

Wonkiness is to be expected at this stage. Do not be alarmed. Once you're happy with how things fit, move on to the next step. If not, take back and trim or re-make the pieces.

Step 5: Sew!

Carefully take the pins out as you sew, and line up the pieces with your spare hand. Don't forget to sew the seams of the needle holder first! Take special care around corners.

After the basic shape is done, flip the bag inside out. Sew the seams on the rim of the bag and the bag flap.

Finally, sew on the snap fastener at the center lip of the flap, and its counterpart at where it meets the front.

Step 6: Adding Accessories

Remember those seams you cut off earlier? Well they're coming in handy now!

Measure out how long you want the straps to be, and cut out two lengths of seams. Sew them onto the back of the backpack as backpack straps. To achieve a better finish tuck in the ends of the straps around themselves so the frayed ends don't show.

I also cut a half-width of seam to use as a handle strap, which is sewn between the bag straps. The keyring chain is then attached to this.

Step 7: Pack and Enjoy!

Last but not least, load your mini backpack up with whatever you want - I chose to stick a few needles in the needle holder, a reel of thread, some buttons, snap fasteners, and safety pins (if I had any), so I now have a miniature sewing kit that hooks onto my bag!

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