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How to Make a Drawstring Bag or Backpack

Use this free sewing tutorial for a Simple Drawstring Backpack to create a lightweight, lined backpack perfect for summer! I’ve even included a free download for the applique shapes featured on the backpack.

kids drawstring backpack

When I think about summer, one of the things that I always think about are with lazy days out by the pool and afternoons spent exploring.  Recently, I decided to make some super simple drawstring backpacks that would be perfect for kids to tote around their treasures in all summer.

They could carry something lightweight around whether they are headed to the amusement park or just out for a ride on their bike.

Features of the Backpack Pattern

  • Finished size is approximately 13″ x 13″.
  • The backpack is fully lined.
  • We used 1″ grommets for the straps in the bottom corners, you can set these easily using the directions on the package.
  • Use cotton webbing for the straps, it can be purchased in the decorative trim section of the craft store.
  • The shapes on the bag are created using a technique called Raw Edge Applique. It’s a simple to follow beginner friedly techhnique. If you need more help with this step you can view our “How to Create an Applique” article complete with video instructions.
Free Sewing Pattern for a simple summer drawstring backpack for kids. Even includes a free download for the crab and anchor applique shapes on the bag.

Simple Drawstring Backpack Sewing Pattern

kids drawstring backpack

Backpack Supplies

I’ve included free applique patterns for you. To get them hop on over to my blog’s Sewing Templates Libary. 

  • 1/2 yard of Fabric for the outside, cut two pieces 15” x 15”
  • 1/2 yard of Fabric for the lining, cut two pieces 15” x 15”
  • Shape-Flex Interfacing, cut two pieces 15” x 15”
  • 4 yards of string/trim for the backpack straps
  • Fat Quarter of Riley Blake Solids for the applique
  • Heat N Bond Lite
  • Two 1” grommets
  • for the crab, a scrap of white felt and 2 black buttons

All seam allowances are 1/2” unless otherwise noted.

Note: this bag contains strings. It is not recommended for young children as it can pose a choking hazard.

kids drawstring backpack

Lined Drawstring Backpack Sewing Pattern

Melissa Mortenson
How to sew a simple, lined drawstring backpack with optional applique.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Active Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes

supplies

  • ½ yard of Fabric for the outside cut two pieces 15” x 15”
  • ½ yard of Fabric for the lining cut two pieces 15” x 15”
  • 1 piece Shape-Flex Interfacing cut two pieces 15” x 15”
  • 4 yards of string/trim for the backpack straps
  • 1 Fat Quarter of Riley Blake Solids for the applique
  • 1 piece Heat N Bond Lite
  • 2 1” grommets
  • 1 Scrap of white felt for crab eyes
  • 2 buttons 1" black buttons for crab eyes
  • 1 Applique pattern for crab & anchor download it in the Sewing Library.

Instructions
 

  • All seam allowances are ½” unless otherwise noted.

Step One: How to Create the Appliques

  • Begin by printing out the applique pattern, that can be downloaded here.
  • Trace the pattern onto a piece of heat n bond lite (Trace on the paper side of the heat n bond) Remember your image will be reversed after appliqued- it doesn’t matter too much with these shapes, but might if you use another shape.
    Simple Summer Backpack Sewing Pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com
  • Iron onto the wrong side of the applique fabric.
    Simple Summer Backpack Sewing Pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com
  • Cut out.
    Simple Summer Backpack Sewing Pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com
  • Peel off the backing and apply to the front backpack piece in the desired location. Apply the shape flex interfacing to the wrong side of the two backpack outside pieces.
  • Stitch around the applique with matching thread. To complete the crab, cut out two pieces of white felt for his eyes and sew two black buttons to the center.
    Simple Summer Backpack Sewing Pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com

Step Two: How to Sew the Backpack

  • Sew the backpack side and bottom seams.
  • Sew the 2 backpack outside pieces together, right sides facing, leaving the top seam open. Press the seams open and clip the corners.
  • Repeat for the 2 lining pieces.
  • Slip the lining piece into the backpack outside piece, wrong sides facing.
  • Pin so that the top edges are even and the side seams match.
  • Finish the seam at the Top of the Bag.
    Simple Summer Backpack Sewing Pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com
  • Using a serger (or a zig zag stitch on your machine if you don’t have a serger) serge the backpack outside and backpack lining pieces together.
  • Fold the top edge down 1” and pin. You are folding towards the lining. Stitch along the edge (where the serger stitches are) to form a casing.
    Simple Summer Backpack Sewing Pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com
  • Unpick the seam on the outside of the backpack side seams between the casing stitching line and about ⅛” from the top fold. Reinforce the seam with a bar tack stitch so that it doesn’t unravel any more than this.
  • Feed the String through the Casing.
    Simple Summer Backpack Sewing Pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com
  • Cut two yards of string for the backpack and string through one side, starting at the opening in the side seam, all the way around until it comes out the same opening. Pull it down so that it extends a little below the bottom of the backpack.
    Cut both ends the same length about 2” below the backpack bottom corner. To help you feed your string use an elastic shuttle (you can get it at the notions store).
    Simple Summer Backpack Sewing Pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com
  • Repeat the same process this time starting and stopping on the opposite side seam of the backpack.
  • Set the Eyelets
    Simple Summer Backpack Sewing Pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com
  • Making sure that your lining is laying flat inside your backpack, set one eyelet in each bottom corner of the backpack through all your layers of fabric (follow the instructions on the package). Loop one string through the eyelet and tie with a slip knot to secure.
PRINT
Love this tutorial? Get the behind the scenes on Instagram

Simple Summer Backpack Sewing Pattern by Melissa Mortenson of polkadotchair.com

Enjoy! Now you’re ready for Summer!

kids drawstring backpack
drawstring backpack sewing tutorial

More Free Bag Sewing Patterns:

Toddler Backpack Sewing Pattern

How to Sew a Simple Tote Bag

Oversized Beach Bag Sewing Pattern

kids drawstring backpack

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6 Comments

  1. I love this idea. I might make these for my students. Do you happen to have a printer friendly version of the directions on here that I’m missing? Thanks for sharing such an awesome idea!

  2. I love these drawstring bags!! Can you share the fabric line you used? Thanks so much.

  3. This looks adorable! I am teaching my daughter to see and can’t wait to try it. Where did you find the backpack straps/trim? I’ve looked online and can’t come up with anything. Thank you!!

  4. Love the drawstring-backpacks! Except I can’t get to the appliqués which are so cute. Love your website!

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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