Toddler Backpack Tutorial
Toddler Backpack Tutorial
I know school just got out but in the fall this little guy will be headed to preschool and I can’t tell you who is more excited! Hahaha, just kidding it is totally me!!! I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But he is excited too! And he keeps grabbing his brother’s backpack out of his room and making me put it on him over and over and it keeps falling off over and over because it is way too big and so it was time for a backpack of his own!! Here is a fun toddler backpack tutorial.
I have to come straight out and tell you that I was totally winging it when I made this backpack and so the only real pattern I have to share with you is the picture below.
I traced the rough shape and size of my son’s back while looking at a larger backpack and that is how I came up with the shape. So if you are wanting to recreate this just trace a small tombstone shape roughly the size of your child’s back! I am sorry I don’t have something more concrete to share with you as far as the shape goes!!! Go ahead and go with a square shape if that seems easier. But one thing I have learned that has made my sewing so much better is to give up my quest for perfection. If you get a shape that is close to this then that is great! And I promise your child won’t pick apart the shape, my son certainly could care less as long as it resembles a backpack he will be happy!
But I am here to help you wing it just like I do! Fold your fabric in half and trace and cut out a shape that resembles a backpack! Then to make sure it is even fold it in half again (as pictured below) and trim any excess off. This will make both sides the same so it will look nice when it is finished.
Next you want to measure from the bottom left corner up and around the piece to the bottom right corner (you are not adding the bottom edge into this measurement.) Use a flexible measuring tape (one that comes in most sewing kits.) Once you have measured you will want to cut a strip that is ~4″ by the length you just measured. This piece will connect the front and back piece of the backpack. I used a coordinating striped fabric. And lastly you want to measure the bottom edge and cut another strip that is the length of the bottom, plus 1/2″, by the same ~4″. (The long strip in this picture was folded in half that is why it looks so short!) The last thing you will need is a 14″ zipper.Now that we are done cutting it is time to get sewing. Well, one more thing with the scissors, on both sides of the zipper cut in every 1/4-1/2″ to make it more flexible so that it can turn the curve on the top. And you want to take two scrap pieces of fabric and sew them to the ends of the zipper (you can see what I am talking about two photos down.) Find the middle of your front piece and the middle of your zipper and put a pin in it.
Pin the zipper along its entire length. The zipper should face down, the fabric should face up. I like to leave the zipper open and then pin the other half down and out of the way.
Here is a quick video I made for another post that shows the zipper placement and where the zipper foot should be.
Now sew the zipper in place. Top-stitch to keep the fabric away from the zipper so it will function properly.
Now we are ready to add the middle strip to the other side of the zipper. I may do this bass ackwards but here is how I set this up. Pin the strip in place with the right side of the fabric facing the right side of the zipper. As pictured:
Then flip it over and pin again on the opposite side. Once it is pinned on this side remove the pins from the other side (or pin them towards the middle enough that you won’t run into them when you sew.) I do this because I want to sew on the side with the zipper so that I have good visibility of the zipper itself. If I sewed on the original side I would have no idea where the zipper was and I would be sewing blind! One last thing to remember is that this time we are sewing along the entire edge (except the bottom) because we are attaching the side piece to the front piece all the way around.
Top-stitch on this side as well. It should look like this.
Next we will make some straps. I used two scrap pieces of batting and two fun scrap pieces of fabric. I folded the batting into a rectangle. I wanted it to be fairly wide so that it would be comfortable for my little guy. I also doubled the batting over several times to make it nice and thick, again for comfort. Then I folded it envelope style to close in the batting with the fabric. Before and after:
Pin the straps onto the back piece, as pictured below. Make sure there will be enough space for a little neck to fit comfortably in between the straps.
Now we need to add the strap to the bottom portion of the back. Again I used some scrap fabric to create a little home for the edge of the canvas strap and then I pinned it to the back piece, one on each side. I pinned it very low, almost to the bottom, but remember to leave at least 1/2″ of clearance on the bottom.
Now pin the front piece to the back piece.
Sew around the entire edge. Leaving the bottom open. If you were to open it up right now (which you don’t have to I just wanted to show you a visual) it would look like this.
Open the zipper. Seriously don’t forget this or you won’t be able to get in your backpack! Now we have to add the bottom piece. This is another place where I am sure there is a technique but I am self taught and I just go with what feels good. Make sure that the whole thing is turned inside out. Take the strip for the bottom and pin it right sides together along one edge of the bottom. Sew it in place, then if you are comfortable just pick the needle up and turn the piece and sew the next edge, and so on around the entire bottom. You will basically sew a rectangle around the bottom to catch all the loose edges from the top piece.
Now you are ready to turn the piece back right side out. The last part we have to add are the buckles. I used these parachute buckles for several reasons. I wanted to be able to cross the straps, as you will see in the pictures below. And I thought it would be fun for fidgeting little guy fingers to play with and learn how to snap buckles. (Click the picture for purchasing info!)
Sew the buckles in place and thread the strap through the other side and your backpack is complete. This backpack is unlined, again I have to let go of some things! And I know this little guy certainly won’t care so why should I?
I mean have you ever seen a more adorable model? What a HAM!!
See he loves the buckles!
How many days until school starts??