Join us on the journey to making your own personal, customizable mini backpack! Great for carrying small personal items. A UC Davis Design project for the Sustainable Design class.
Step 1: Phase 1: Make the Body of the Backpack
First get a pair of jeans or jean shorts.
Cut the pair of jean shorts in half along the zipper lining.
Sew the cut edges of each of the shorts with your choice of needle and thread or sewing machine. Make sure to sew the garment inside out so that the thread won’t show.
For the bottom of the backpack, using another jean material, you will need to cut out a circle depending on the diameter of your mini backpack that you are making. Make sure to cut out two circles for extra durability.
Then, stitch both circles together around the rim. Then turn your backpack inside out and stitch the circles to the bottom of your backpack .
Using extra jean material, cut the length of the diameter of the bottom of your backpack (make sure the strip is thick enough to cover the seam of the bottom of the backpack) . Then fold 1/4th of each side of the strip of jean material and sew it down.
Using an awl and wax thread, stitch the strip around the bottom rim of the backpack to give the bottom of the backpack more durability. Make sure to sew the thicker part of the jean strip around the seam so that the backpack won’t tear.
Step 7: Phase 2: Choosing Your Design
Now, decide how you want to design your own personal mini backpack. We made two options:
1. Using a triangular flap and part of the belt buckle to secure it
2. Using a leather drawstring with grommets for the holes around the top.
Step 8: Follow for Option #1: Flap
Cut two triangular pieces of extra jean material of choice (can be in different color). Make sure the pieces are the same width of the backpack.
Now sew all sides of both pieces together, inside out.
Then sew the flap onto the inner topside of your backpack (the side that touches your back)
Using an old thin belt, measure from the backside of the flap to the bottom of the frontside of the flap and cut the excess (making sure to not cut off the buckle side).
Then cut a piece of the other end of the belt where the holes are located.
Using an awl or needle, stitch the belt onto the backpack.
Now proceed to making the straps.
Step 12: For Option #2: Drawstring
For option #2:
Evenly space out holes around the top rim of the backpack to place the drawstring (I made 6 holes)
Using a hammer, bang the grommets into the holes that you made. Now get a long piece of leather that you will insert through the grommet holes.
Now tie the two ends of the drawstring together and voila.
Step 14: Phase 3: How to Make the Straps
Using long leather pieces, cut 2 long enough strips of leather to be the straps of your backpack. Make sure to measure from the top of your shoulder to right above your waist to get the right measurement.
Punch two holes into the top rim of the backpack and two holes at the bottom of the backpack more spaced out than the ones at the top.
Then screw on four grommets on each hole. You can add an extra square piece of leather on top of the jean material if you think it is too thin to sustain weight.
Step 16: Viola! You Have Designed Your Backpack!
Vioala, now you have your own personal customizable mini jean backpack! Remember that this is a mini backpack and is meant for small personal belongings such as keys, wallet, phone, etc.