It’s that time of year again: ‘back to school’, children sniff and mums rejoice! If you have the time to make your little ones something to send them back with, here is a fabric backpack which would be perfect for a PE kit bag or swim bag. It’s child sized, and they can wear it on their little shoulders.


You will need: approx 3m of cord, fabric, lining, ribbon, fabric for pocket (optional), sewing machine, pins, scissors, iron, safety-pin.

Cut 2 pieces of your chosen fabric 37cm x 48cm. Cut two pieces of the lining fabric the same size.

If using a pocket, cut a 21cm x 14cm from your chosen fabric. Fold over a 1cm hem and iron to hold. Sew down along a long edge. Using the sewn edge as the top of the pocket, pin your pocket oblong to the centre of your front side of your bag fabric and sew the sides and bottom only of the pocket to the bag front.

Place your fabric face down and your lining piece on top. Pin together. Do the same with your other bag and lining piece.

Fold and iron 1cm hem down from the top of your fabric and lining on both pieces. Sew in place.

5cm down the sides from the top of your pieces fold, pin and iron twice over at an angle about 2cm in (1cm at a time). Do this both edges of both pieces, so that they match up.

Sew the folds in place.

Fold, iron and pin over the top of the bag about 2.5cm down, to create your drawstring channel. Sew in place.

Pin the right sides of the bag together and sew across the bottom of the bag about 1.5cm from the edge.

Cut two pieces of ribbon about 8cm each. Take one piece, fold it in a loop and place in the middle of your fabric pieces lining it up on the bottom hem you have just sewed with the loop pointing inwards. The edges of the ribbon should line up with the edges of the fabric. Pin in place. Pin your other loop of ribbon on the other side of your bag in the same way.

Sew up the sides of the bag, with a 1.5cm seam allowance sewing in the ribbon loops up to the bottom of your channel.

Sew a zigzag stitch around all sides of the bag just over the edges of the fabric to help prevent fraying.

Turn your bag right side out.

Take your 3.5m of cord and cut it in half. Knot each end. Put a safety-pin through your cord at one end and thread it through the back right hand side of the channel, thread it all the way around the bag and out and down to the loop on the right hand side. Put one of the cord ends through the ribbon loop and then knot the two cords together.

Do the same with the other length of cord starting at the back left hand side of the bag. There you have it a pint-sized fabric bag.

My kids love to put key rings on their bags, use one of these tutorials to jazz up their bags for the new term:

Leather tassels
Leather tassel and tag
Make a heart key ring. Crafting and home decor site,
Heart key ring
stamped key ring
Personalised silver key ring

See these other ‘back to school’ makes

How to make a stitched notebook.
Make a stitched notebook

6 ways to discover your creativity

6 ways cover

6 ways to discover your creativity e-mag & bonus printable manifestos.

Back to school fabric backpack
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