Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Drawstring Backpack

This is the last of the projects I made for the Bernina Master Craftsters series at Craftster, and it is my favorite one!  I love the size and shape of this backpack, and the zippered pocket on the front makes it really useful. 

There is talk that Bernina will be publishing some of the Master Craftster projects on their website--exciting!  Of course I will blog all about it if one of mine is chosen!

Not Your Average Drawstring Backpack using the BERNINA 380

Drawstring backpacks are popular right now; I've seen a lot of them for children, and others that are intended to carry your belongings to the gym. I decided to make one that is pretty and grown-up looking--something a woman like me would be proud to be seen wearing in public! Two things that make this backpack "above average": the combination of fabrics, and the long zippered pocket on the front. A large-scale print works great for the body of the bag, like the sewing-themed print I used. This drawstring backpack is both stylish and functional--the best of both worlds!

The finished size is 14" x 17".

You will need:
  • 1/2 yard each of two coordinating fabrics
  • Matching 10" nylon zipper
  • 4 yards of 1/4" cord
  • Grommets and grommet-setting tools
  • Matching thread

Start by cutting your washed and ironed fabrics into the following sizes:
From the white fabric (the main fabric in the picture, with the sewing print) cut:
  • 2 pieces 14" high x 14 1/2" wide (for the front and back)
  • 1 piece 4 1/2" x 14 1/2" (for the pocket lining front)
  • 1 piece 5" x 14 1/2" (for the pocket lining back)
From the red fabric, cut:
  • 2 pieces 18 1/2" high x 14 1/2" wide (for the lining)
  • 1 piece 4 1/2" x 14 1/2" (for the bottom front)
  • 1 piece 5 1/4" x 14 1/2" (for the bottom back)
  • 2 pieces 1" x 2 1/2" (to cover the ends of the zipper)

Start by making the back: using a 1/4" seam (this is the size of all the seams in this project unless otherwise noted), sew the 5 1/4" x 14 1/2" red fabric to the bottom edge of one of the 14" x 14 1/2" white fabrics. Press the seam toward the white fabric, and topstitch near the edge of the white fabric. Set the back aside.

For the pocket on the front, I wanted the zipper exposed, but I didn't want it going all the way across the front of the bag, so I added enough fabric to the ends of the 10" zipper to make it the same width as the bag.

On one of the short ends of each of the 1" x 2 1/2" red strips, fold under and iron a 1/4" hem. Sew one strip just in front of the metal "stopper" at the top of the zipper, as in the picture above. Sew the other strip to the other end of the zipper.

To sew the front of the pocket, layer the 4 1/2" x 14 1/2" red fabric, face up, then the prepared zipper, face down, then the 4 1/2" x 14 1/2" white fabric, face down (as in the picture above). Align these three along the top and left-hand edges, and sew them together at the top, using a zipper foot. The zipper foot that comes with the BERNINA 380 is 1/4' wide, so you just have to align the fabric with the edge of the foot to get a perfect seam (see picture below).

Fold open the fabrics you just sewed, so both fabrics are right-side out. Press, and top-stitch close to the edge of the fabric where it meets the zipper (picture below).

To finish the front of the bag, you will need the three pieces pictured below: the 14" x 14 1/2" white fabric, the 5" x 14 1/2" white fabric (which will be the back of the pocket lining), and the red zipper section that you just sewed.

Lay the zipper section on top of the white pocket lining, both face up. On top of these, lay the 14" x 14 1/2" white fabric, face down, with the bottom edge of the white fabric aligned with the top edge of the zipper. In the picture below, I have staggered the fabrics so you can see their orientation. Simply line them up along the top edge and sew them together using the zipper foot.

Fold open the white fabric, and topstitch close to the edge, as in the picture below.

Whew! I hope that wasn't too confusing! The front panel is now done and should look like the picture below.

To assemble to bag, sew one piece of the 18 1/2" x 14 1/2" red lining fabric to the top edge of the front outer section, and the other piece of the red lining to the top edge of the outer back section. Open the fabrics and press the seams flat. Leaving the fabrics open, layer the front and back sections, right sides together, so the red lining fabrics are touching each other and the white front and back fabrics are touching each other. In the next step, you will sew all around the four sides of the bag and lining, but first you need to measure (and mark with a pin) one inch on each side of the seam where the outside fabrics join the lining fabrics (see picture below), on each of the two ends of this seam. The area between the pins will be left unsewn for now (it will become the opening for the drawstring).

Go ahead and sew all around the four sides of the bag and lining, leaving the 2" opening between the pins, and an 8" opening at the bottom of the lining (for turning). I borrowed the picture below from another tutorial (I didn't get a picture of these fabrics at this stage!) but you can see how your bag at this stage will be one long piece.

Now, while the bag is still inside-out, press the seam allowance flat around the two 2" unsewn areas on the sides.

Turn the bag right-side out through the opening in the bottom. Turn under the raw edges of the opening in the bottom of the lining, press, and sew it closed with a seam very close to the edge of the fabrics. Push the lining inside the bag, and adjust it so it fits smoothly inside. Press the top edge, and you are almost done!

The two 2" areas that were left unsewn are now at the top edge of the bag. Topstitch them closed, as in the picture below, so they each form a "V".

Fold down a 1" flap from the top of the bag on both the front and back, so the red lining is exposed. Press.

Sew along the bottom edge of the fold, all around the circumference of the bag. This will be the casing for the drawstring.

This is the cord I used for my drawstring, below. Cut two 2-yard pieces, and thread them through the casing, but leave the ends loose for now.

Attach a grommet to each of the two bottom corners, following the directions on the package. These are the grommets, I used (below), and they worked great!

Now, thread one end of each cord through a grommet.

Tie a knot, trim the excess cord, and you are done! Good job!!

I love my new backpack! First, I'm going to use it when I travel in a couple of weeks. After that, I think it will make a great project bag near my sewing chair!


LidiaZuniReds said...

wow! this tutorial is amazing the backpack is easy but the difference is the fabric I loved the combination thanks for shared it ^^ have a great day!☼

SharaLee said...

Leslie this Backpack is very cute & easy. Love the fabric, where did you get it? You did a great job on the tute! Thanks

Leslie Andersen said...

Thanks for your comments!

SharaLee, I think the fabric came from Sew Mama Sew--I've had it for a while so my memory is a bit cloudy!