Toddler Backpack Tutorial

As many of you know, I am a true blue Bag Lady! I love bags of all shapes, colors and sizes and have had this love since I was a wee one! I would carry (some liked to call it “hide”) the TV remote, the TV Guide (do you remember those awesome little books) and about 10 notebooks with matching pens…oh and don’t forget the Tic Tac canisters filled with uncooked macaroni noodles. HeHe! Oh the memories! My super cute friend Amy, from Ameroonie Designs, is sharing a bag that I would have LOVED and all those little girls out there are sure to love as well!!! Enjoy!

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

There are lots of places to go and things to do in the summertime.  Now, your toddler can be prepared for anything with this darling backpack.  Sleepovers at grandma’s or just a place to carry their favorite treasures as you explore.  And the best part is, now you don’t have to carry it for them.

Toddler Backpack Tutorial
You will need 1/2 yard of exterior and 1/2 yard interior fabric.  If you want to add in more fabrics, as I did, you will need various scraps or fat quarters.  For this project I used Girl Crazy by Dani for Riley Blake.
You will also need fusible fleece, medium weight interfacing, one magnetic snap, 2 rings and 2 slides.  

The first step, of course, is always cutting out fabric and interfacing.

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
You need:
2- 15″ X 15″ pieces of exterior fabric
2- 15″ X 15″ pieces of interior fabric
2- 15″ X 15″ pieces of craft fuse
2- 14″ X 14″ pieces fusible fleece
2- 4″ X 19″ pieces of fabric for straps
2- 4″ X 7″ pieces of fabric for strap anchor
2- 1″ X 14″ pieces of fusible fleece
2- 13″ X 5″ pieces of fabric for flap
1- 13″ X 5″ piece of craft fuse
4- 6″ X 8″ pieces of fabric for inside and outside pockets
2- 5 1/2″ X 7 1/2″ pieces of craft fuse

Now you get to spend some time with your iron.

Fuse the 14″ X 14″ inch pieces of fusible fleece to the exterior body pieces of the backpack.
Fuse the 15″ X 15″ pieces of craft fuse to the interior body pieces of the backpack.

Take the strap pieces.  Iron the pieces in half length-wise. Unfold the piece and bring the two outer edges into the middle crease. Press the sides and then re-fold along the first crease and press. Do this for all 4 straps and strap anchor pieces. Take the two long pieces and unfold.  Put the 1″ X 14″ piece of fusible fleece at one end and line it up with the center crease. Fold the fabric back up and press to fuse the fleece to the inside of the strap.

Take your one of your flap pieces and two pocket pieces and fuse craft fuse to them.

Just a bit more prep and we’ll sew. 🙂

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Take your two exterior body pieces and lay them out right sides together.  On the bottom two corners, mark a square 2″ up and 2″ over.  Cut out the corners.  Repeat for the interior body pieces.

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Take your flap pieces and lay them down right sides together.  On the bottom two corners, use a round object (lid, plate, bowl) and trace a curve on the corners, then cut out. *In this picture I used a lid, I would recommend something a bit larger in diameter, at least 3″ across. Repeat with the two pieces of the pocket that will be on the outside of the backpack.  Leave the pocket for the inside of the backpack square.


We are going to prepare all the pieces to get our backpack ready for assembly.

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Take all 4 strap pieces, stitch along the long sides at 1/8″ and 1/4″ (the 1/4″ line is optional, I just like the look of the double stitch lines, and I think it gives a bit more stability to the straps).  Each strap piece should have 4 stitch lines (if you did the 1/4″ line).  Set aside.

Take your 4 pocket pieces.  Each pocket should have one piece that has interfacing and one piece that doesn’t. Line up wrong sides together and sew around using 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning on the bottom of both pockets. Clip the corners and notch the curves on the bottom of the exterior pocket. Turn right side out and press. Top stitch along the top edge of both pockets.  Again, I did double stitch lines, one at 1/8″ and one at 1/4″.

And finally, we have the flap piece. Line up the two rounded sides, right sides together. Sew along the two short sides and the rounded bottom, leaving the top straight edge open (1/2″ seam allowance). Clip the curves, turn right side out and press.  Top stitch around the 3 sewn edges.  Double lines are optional. Mark a point on the inside of the flap that is 1″ in from the rounded edge and centered along the length. Use the washer that comes with the magnetic snap to mark the holes for the prongs. Cut a small square of craft fuse interfacing and insert it into the flap so it is centered where the marks are, fuse to the wrong side of the inside flap piece. Cut slits for the prongs and insert the magnetic snap.

Now we’re ready to put our bag together.

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Take the back piece of the bag exterior.  Mark a point 2 3/4″ up from the bottom and 3″ in from the sides. Take your strap anchor pieces, slide the rings on and fold in half. Line up the raw edges with marks you just made.  The straps should be parallel to the sides as shown in the picture. Sew down using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Fold the straps up along the stitch line so they point toward the top of the bag. Stitch down using a 3/8″ or 1/2″ seam allowance.  This will capture the raw edges of the strap within your stitching.   Make sure you stitch along this line 3-4 times and back stitch well. This part of the bag will have a lot of stress. I stitched a small rectangle down the sides and over the edge that is folded.  This is optional.  If you choose to do it, go slowly, you are sewing through a lot of layers right there. 🙂

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Take the back interior body piece and the inside pocket. Measure 3″ down from the top and center the pocket.  I find it’s easiest to do this using my clear plastic ruler.  (I made a small leash to add to the inside of this backpack using a 2″ X 12″ piece of fabric folded and pressed the same way the strap was, then I added a swivel clip). Sew around the two short sides and bottom of the pocket, reinforce the top of both short sides with back stitching to keep the pocket from coming loose.

Repeat with the front outside body piece and outside pocket, this time measure up from the bottom 3″ and center the pocket. The rounded edges of the pocket are the bottom.
We’re going to put the backpack together now.  For the remaining steps, the seam allowance will be 1/2″.

Take the two exterior body pieces and line them up right sides together. Sew along the bottom seam. Press the bottom seam to one side. Line up and sew the sides of the bag. 
Press the side seams in the opposite direction of the  bottom seam.

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Now it’s time to create the bottom of the bag. Pull the corners of the notches in the bottom of the bag away from each other. This will bring the bottom seam and the side seam together. Line them up, the seams should “nest” together since they are pressed opposite ways. Pin and sew along this straight edge, back stitch when you start and stop. Repeat for the other side.

The inside of the bag comes together in exactly the same way with one small difference. The first step of sewing the bottom seam of the bag is the only change. Instead of sewing all the way across the seam, you will leave an opening in the seam so you can turn the bag right side out when it’s all finished. So, on the bottom seam, sew in 2″ or so, then back stitch. Then repeat it for the other side of the bottom seam. Then follow the remaining steps as outlined in the exterior bag assembly.

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

It’s time to add the rest of the strap. First, take your long strap piece and the slide ring. 
On the end of the strap that doesn’t have the fusible fleece, slide the ring on and bring the strap down around the center post. Fold over the raw edge of the strap 1/4″ and pull it down so you have enough room to sew down the edge without the slide getting in the way. Sew down the end of the strap to hold the slide on the strap. Now, you’re going to take the exterior of the backpack and turn it right side out. Line up the long strap piece as shown, you want the piece of the strap holding the ring to face up. Bring the remaining raw edge of the strap up through the bottom of the anchored d-ring. Pull the strap through, then slide the raw edge of the strap under the bottom of the slide ring, over the center and under the top to bring it out the other side.

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Now, we’re going to sew down the edge of the strap. 
Line it up 4″ in from the outside seam of the backpack (you may want to adjust this depending on the age/size of the intended recipient, make it closer for younger/smaller children, and wider for older/bigger ones). Baste stitch in place. Repeat for the second strap.

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

The last piece to add is the flap. Center the flap on the exterior back side of the backpack, with the snap facing up. Baste into place. One final step before putting the two pieces together is to add the female end of the magnetic snap. On the front side of the backpack exterior, make a mark that is 2 1/2″ down and centered. Use the washer to mark the prong slits, cut and insert the snap.

We’re ready for the final step.

Take the backpack exterior (which is still right side out) and slide it into the backpack interior (which is wrong side out). The back of the exterior should be facing the back of the interior. Line up the side seams and pin around the entire top of the bag. Sew around the bag, making sure the back stitch both sides of the straps when you come to them to reinforce them.

Pull the bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining. Stitch the opening closed, and push the lining inside the exterior of the bag. Press the top seam and top stitch around, going under the straps.

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

I like to do one final press when all the stitching is done.  And now we have a darling backpack that provides independence and play for our youngsters.

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Thanks for letting me come play.  I hope you’ll visit me over at my blog Ameroonie Designs.

Pack your bags, because we are heading out on a special adventure. But where? To grandmas, to a new destination or possibly to school. It doesn’t really matter where, because now you have the cutest bag in town! Right?!? Isn’t this bag a hit? I am in love with this cute bag, the bright fabric and the pocket in the front for a little pal.

Thank you Amy for sharing this great tutorial with us! Do you want to see more great and super fun projects by Amy? Check out her blog at Ameroonie Designs.

Like I mentioned above, I LOVE bags!!! I really do! In fact, at the beginning of this year we had a whole series on nothing but bags. It was an absolute blast! Would you like to see all of the wonderful bags that we were introduced to in that fun series? You can find all of those bags and all of our other fun bags HERE!

Here are a few of the fabulous bags you will find and are sure to love…

Jumbo Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Quilt As You Go Zipper Bag - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

Summertime Beach Bag Tutorial - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Do you love bags too? What is your favorite kind? Clutch, Jumbo….

Toddler Backpack - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Happy Creating & Happy Bags!
Signature - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
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  1. Rosemary
    Posted August 30, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Very nice backpack! I’ll try to make one for my grandson. Thanks a lot.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 2, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Hi Rosemary! Thank you so much! This backpack is so much fun and your grandson would love one! Happy Sewing and have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

  2. Bridget
    Posted September 7, 2014 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Do you have a picture of sew the bottom of the bag? I’m not seeing the “nesting” you are describing. I’m used to boxing corners by sewing a straight line across the corner.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted September 17, 2014 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Hi Bridget! Thank you so much for your question! The nesting Amy is referring to is just making sure that the bottom and side seams are lined up…just boxing out the corners. In the directions she had the side seams pressed in the opposite direction of the bottom seam allowing them to “nest” on each other as you proceed with creating the boxed corners. We hope this helps! Thank you again Bridget and good luck sewing this adorable bag! Have a wonderful day! Michelle 🙂

  3. Jennifer
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Very cute bag! Are the inside finished dimensions large enough to carry a standard 9.25″wide x 11.5″tall pocket folder? I would love to make this backpack for my son this fall. Thanks much!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted August 21, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jennifer! Thank you for your question. Yes, this bag is big enough to carry a standard folder. Good luck making this adorable bag and thank you for stopping by! Have a wonderful day and thank you again! Michelle 🙂

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