Simple Sewing Project: Make Your Own Backpacks

Nowadays, many people have had to put restrictions on things they love simply because the prices of everything are through the roof. What used to be a big to-do on a Friday or Saturday night is now a night at home in front of the tv for most people. One thing that has always cost little money, though, is camping or hiking. It’s a lot of fun and many people bring things from home to use during the trip. Things related to hiking and camping can be quite expensive, however. Camping gear can cost hundreds of dollars and leave you little money for anything else. But, there are many camping things you can make yourself and save all that money.

There are things you have at home that can help you create the perfect backpacks for your family. One of these things is an ordinary towel. They can be fancy for the ladies in the group or can be plain and solid-colored for the guys. Large, thick towels are perfect for making the backpacks. Place the towel on a table so that the length runs vertically in front of you. Take the short end of the towel which is facing you and fold it up towards the other short end. Stop when you have the towel about two-thirds of the way up. The folded towel area forms the backpack and the excess towel creates a flap to cover it.

Before doing any sewing decide on the pockets and other accessories you want on the backpack. You can make pockets from wash cloths or you can stitch on pockets from old garments. You might even want to add some loops of cloth for carrying other items. Wide ribbon pieces or even pieces of shoestrings work great. Fold the ribbon or string in half, then place the ends between the two towel edges. Make sure that the loop is facing the right side of the towel. Pin and stitch loops and pockets before continuing. Stitch the towel down the sides, turn it right-side out, and you’re almost done!

Use wide ribbon or wide binding to make the backpack straps. Many people will find it easier to sew these on as well, before stitching the side seams. Cut the straps to the length you need then pin them in place on the backpack. Fold the ends of each strap over once, hiding the raw edge, before stitching the straps onto the backpack. Sew on a velcro square, in the center of the towel “flap”, so you can fold it over and secure the backpack. Instead of velcro you can use a button and buttonhole or button and piece of elastic.

You don’t have to be great at sewing to make a backpack out of a pillowcase. Lay the case on a table so that the opening is facing you. Cut off a piece of the top area of the front of the pillowcase. Start by placing the scissors a couple inches away from the side seam. Cut down several inches, cut to a few inches away from the other side seam, then cut straight up. This cutout will allow room to stuff the bag and the uncut edge of the opening will become the flap for the backpack.

Use 3/4″ ribbon, lace or other trim to cover the cut area of the pillowcase. Start by folding a piece of the ribbon over the cut bottom area. Leave the side areas alone for now. Stitch the ribbon across the edge then remove and trim threads. Now fold the ribbon over one side edge of the cutout and stitch down. Do the same to the opposite side. These three ribbon pieces will hide the cut edge and give a finished look to the backpack.

Since you can’t lay the pillowcase backpack flat to sew on pockets you’ll have to pin them and sew them onto the pillowcase as a whole. Position pockets, velcro for the flap, and straps for the back, then pin them in place. Stitch them on the front, sides and other areas of the backpack. The straps for the back should be folded on the ends, then sewn, to hide the raw edges and give the straps more strength.

Make a stronger backpack by placing one pillowcase inside another. Stitch them together, all the way around the top, then create your rectangular cutout. Finish with ribbon, then add the straps and pockets. Embellish by adding monograms done with fabric paint, sewing on tassels, or adding similar enhancements. The finished backpacks are very easy to make and will save you lots of money!

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