If you’re looking for a simple sewing project to do with your kids, here’s a drawstring backpack you can make in 30 minutes or less.
You can always add interfacing or lining to this bag, but for this tutorial let’s keep things simple. Your little ones will love making this project because in less than an hour they’ll have a drawstring backpack to hold their favorite things.
Are you ready?
Two 13” by 18” pieces of fabric
One 6” by 9” piece of fabric
Two 56” piece of cording or twill tape
Safety Pin or Paper clip (to thread the cord)
Pen or chalk for marking
First you should select a super cute fabric, like this cactus print. Before cutting the print fabric decide which way you want the image to run. For instance do you want these cacti to be right side up? Or upside down? Or diagonal? I chose right side up and measured and cut the fabric accordingly.
Next, let’s work on constructing the outer pocket.
We’ll do a simple patch pocket to place on the front of the bag. First, fold in all four of the raw edges ¼ inch and press all 4 sides. Then fold again 1” from the top edge – this will be the top of the pocket (See the yellow dotted line, that’s where you fold and press).
Then you’ll need to fold in the two bottom corners of the pocket and press inwards so the pocket corners don’t bulk up (see steps 4-7.) Press all folds down with an iron.
Then sew along the top two dotted lines of the pocket and then flip inside out to make a clean pocket. Attach the pocket to the right side of the fabric (centered right to left and about 2/3 the way down from the top). Pin into place and straight stitch the pocket on to the fabric.
Optional: anchor the top edge of the pocket so the stress point will better resist pulling apart.
Then, match the right sides of the fabric together and zig-zag stich (this prevents the woven fabric from unraveling) along 3 sides of the fabric. For the right and left sides of the fabric start stitching 2” from the top and end stitching 1” from the bottom. Stich the bottom from end to end – see the dotted lines.
Optional: cut the raw edges carefully with a pinking scissors (helps woven fabrics from unraveling) try to get close to the zig zag stich. This is a great opportunity for kids to see the different types of stiches on the machine and introduce the pinking scissors which is often used with woven fabrics.
Next fold ¼” from the top and press down with an iron. Fold again 1 ¾” and press with an iron.
This is where your cord will go through. Make sure the loop is big enough to fit the cord you selected and sew down this fold with a straight stitch.
Finally take the cord and pull through the 1” hole at the bottom of the bag, then up through the top, then through the front loop hole, then back loop hole and finally put your cord though the upper opening of the bag and end at the 1” hole at the bottom of the bag – the same place that you started from.
Sew that 1” hold closed with a zig zag stich. Repeat on the other side and you’re done!
As your kids get more comfortable with the sewing machine you can add a lining and pockets on the inside and perhaps use interfacing if you want more body to the bag.
Hope your kids enjoy this simple sewing project!
Anna is the mom and founder of Mamoo Kids, a line of awe-inspiring bags for adventurous kids with stuff to do and places to go. Mamoo Kids all natural cotton bags are made in San Francisco, CA. Anna is thrilled to be sharing easy kids bag DIY’s and simple sewing tutorials for kids with us. Follow Mamoo Kids on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Agnes Hsu is a mom of three and has been inspiring parents and kids to get creative with easy activities and family friendly recipes for over 10 years. She shares her love for creative play and kids food to her 2MM+ followers online. Agnes' commitment to playful learning and kindness has not only raised funds for charity but also earned features in prestigious nationwide publications.