Toddler Backpack Tutorial

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Make the cutest backpacks for your toddlers and preschoolers with this awesome Toddler Backpack Tutorial! They are perfect for school, a trip to Grandma’s, and so much more!


Hello Ribbon Retreat readers. It’s Amber again from Crazy Little Projects. Today I’ll be teaching you to sew a cute little toddler or preschool backpack. It’s cute and your kids will love it. This project is a little bit harder than some. Not terrible, but also not for a brand new beginner.

If you are taking my Learn to Sew series be sure to give yourself a while and lots of practice before tackling this one. You’ll love it when you are ready though!

So, if you are ready, let’s do it!

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Fully lined and an inner pocket:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Zipper closure:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

And adjustable straps.

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

I thought this could be a fun project for plane rides or going to Grandma’s. It would also be great for preschool or daycare of just for fun!

Toddler Backpack Tutorial:

Supplies Needed:

1 yard of main fabric

1 yard of coordinating lining fabric

1/2 yard of heavy interfacing (optional-use this only if you are using a lightweight fabric for your main fabric and you want to make the backpack more sturdy. You could choose to use a canvas or other heavier weight fabric to make the backpack and then you won’t need the interfacing)

2 backpack strap adjusters (in the accessories area of your store) These have caused some confusion for my readers. I used these ones seen here. Those should work for your straps. Your straps should turn out one inch wide. If you use a different width of backpack adjuststers you will need to adjust the width of your straps to match.

1 zipper (needs to be between 11-14 inches)

Small amount of fusible lining

Cutting Guide

The fabric used in this tutorial is Blue Planes and Blue Stripes in On the Go by Bo Bunny for Riley Blake.
Check out more awesome designer fabrics at The Ribbon Retreat by clicking on the link!

Instructions:

1. To start out we need to cut out all the pieces. There are a lot of pieces to cut out, so get ready for this! Here is a pattern/diagram to help you make sure you’ve got everything and to give you the measurements. This is not to scale but will give you a plan for what you are cutting.

From your main fabric you will cut: 1 large piece for the front, a back piece (which is in 2 segments), 2 zipper panels, 1 side panel, 2 long straps, 2 small straps, 1 pocket and 1 small carrying strap.

From your coordinating fabric you will cut: 1 large piece for the front, 1 large piece for the back, 2 zipper panels and 1 side panel.

From your interfacing (use interfacing only if you are using a lightweight fabric and want to make the backpack more sturdy) you will cut: 1 large front piece, 1 large back piece and 1 side panel. You need to either fuse this with heat n bond or fusible interfacing to your main fabric pieces that coordinate OR you can baste it around the edges.

Here’s what some of your pieces will look like:

Here’s your main front piece (folded in half so that I could be sure to cut it evenly):

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Here’s the top and the bottom of your back piece:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

2. Let’s start out by making the straps. Take your 2 long backpack straps that are cut from your main fabric. Fold them in half vertically and iron them to form a crease that marks the center of the strap:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Then flip it over and fold each long edge in to meet at the crease in the middle and press them in place:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Fold that in half one more time along the center crease line that you made so that all of the raw edges are enclosed inside the strap. Press it in place and then top stitch each of the long sides:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Repeat this same process with your short straps and your carrying handle.

3. Take your long straps and insert the top of them between the top part of the main back piece and the bottom part with right sides of the back pieces together. (If you are using interfacing make sure you have that there too-on the back of your fabric- like I do in my pictures. It’s the white that you see there.)

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Stitch a straight line across the 2 back pieces so that your straps are sewn in place and the 2 back pieces are now connected. Then on the right side top stitch near the seam so that you straps are held in place nice and firmly:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

At the bottom of your back piece fold your small straps in half with the backpack adjusters on them and stitch them in place so that they form a loop at the very bottom of the back. (Make sure they are lined up right under where you inserted your straps above them):

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Go ahead and fold the ends of your long straps under twice and stitch them to finish the edges (kind of like a hem). Now you can thread the straps through your backpack adjusters.

At the top of the bag stitch your carrying handle in place:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

And now the back of your backpack is DONE! Before you go any further, place your front piece on top of your back piece and make sure they match up now. Trim them to match if needed. Also make sure they match up with your inner lining pieces.

5. Now we need to sew in the zipper. To do this you need to start out by adding fusible lining to the wrong side of your 2 main fabric zipper pieces.

Then, baste your 2 zipper pieces together along one of the long sides. I used a nice wide seam allowance (5/8″) to make sewing the zipper in easier.

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Press this seam open and then pin your zipper in place so that the zipper opening lines up with the center of the seam:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Put your zipper foot on your machine and stitch down both sides of the zipper tape and across the bottom AND the top to hold the zipper in place.

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Then seam rip the center seam (the one you basted) open and you’ve got a zipper!

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

6. So let’s assemble the front of the bag shall we? First you need to grab your side panel piece and attach it to your zipper piece you just made. Do this by putting right sides together and sewing the zipper piece to the panel piece on both ends so that it forms a big loop:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Now take that loop you just made and the front of your bag and pin them together all the way around (start at the center of the bottom) with right sides together:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Sew that all the way around. Make sure your zipper is open and do the same thing with the back piece (make sure to keep your long straps out of the way while sewing):

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

7. That’s done! Now let’s do the inside of the bag. Starting with the pocket. Grab your pocket piece and fold it in half so that right sides are together. Sew around it so that only about 4 inches of it is unstitched on one side. Turn it right side out:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Turn under the opening and press the whole thing nice and flat. Then center it on your inner backpack piece and sew around the 2 sides and the bottom (this will also close your opening from earlier):

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Now you need your coordinating fabric zipper pieces. On one side of each of them fold the fabric under about 1/2 inch and press it in place:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Now, just like you did earlier with the main fabric pieces, sew the 2 zipper pieces to the side panel piece (just the same only there’s no zipper in this case):

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Now you know what to do-same thing as before. Pin your loop to the front of your coordinating fabric and sew all the way around and then again with the back:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

8. Now you have completed the outside and the inside. All that’s left to do is attach them. With both of them inside out you are going to pin the outer bag to the inner bag by the seams down at the bottom:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

And then sew it on both sides so that they are attached. Now flip it so that the outer fabric is right side out and the inner fabric is right side out but on the inside of the bag.

Pin the two together along the zipper and stitch the whole thing all along the zipper:

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

And guess what? That’s it! You are done! I bet your little toddler or preschooler is going to LOVE it!

Follow my blog if you want to watch for upgrades to this bag coming soon too. I’ve got some great ideas for this thing.

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - Perfect for daycare, preschool, or just for fun! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

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9 Comments

  1. Nina
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much for ths tutorial. I have been looking to make my 3 year old granddaughter who lives with us a backpack to take to daycare. Love how well written it is and all the pictures every step of the way. Thanks bunches!!!

  2. Rebeca
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    AWESOME!! Thanks for sharing!
    Any chance you can do a write up on types of interfacing? I bought some that has to be ironed on, but you can’t sew over it, and I have some that you can sew over it, some gets really sticky …. I’ve seen a few different ones and I’m not sure what they each do or when it’s best to use which one. Thanks

  3. Anne
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Amber, for this well written and illustrated tutorial. I am using it to make a backpack for my granddaughter’s birthday present. A couple questions–I am assuming you are using a 1/2″ seam allowance? The only strap adjusters sold at Joann’s is 1″, which means I would modify the strap(s) measurements. What width strap adjusters did you purchase and would D-rings work as well? I posed this question on the Prym-Dritz Consumer website which indicates it may take up to two weeks for a response. You used an adorable fabric for your son’s backpack and it looks like the basic pattern offers many possibilities for customizing.

  4. KimS (@gracieklikeom
    Posted January 9, 2014 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Thoughts on using a waterproof material on the inside? Similar to vinyl or something in that family. Just thinking that things that spill always make their way into the back pack. Great tutorial, can’t wait to try it!

    • Posted January 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kim! Thank you for your comment and what a great idea to use something waterproof for the inside. That would help so much with those little spills. Thank you again Kim and good luck with your cute backpack. Have a wonderful day! Michelle :)

  5. Anna
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m finding it a bit hard to follow, and think I’d make myself a paper pattern next time, but my question is:
    The long straps are wider than the short straps. Is this a problem since I bought the 1 inch adjusters but the long ones are wider than one inch? I’ve just realized this after pressing them all. If you start with 6.5 x 25 and halve it and halve it again you get wider straps than the 6×4 small ones. Yet your instructions say you’ll have 1 inch straps? Did I go wrong?

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Hi Anna! Thank you so much for your question. Amber suggests to make your straps match the size of adjusters that you have bought. Adjust your strap measurements slightly so they will work correctly with the adjusters. Good luck with your backpack and thank you again for your question. Have a wonderful day and thank you for stopping by. Michelle :)

  6. Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the detailed tute! I made my own version — a rocket-shaped backpack for a 4-year-old boy — and linked to this tute from my site at http://peiwang.net/?p=101

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Hi Pei!! Thank you!!! Your rocket-shaped version that you made for your little kiddo is awesome!! It is so cute and so fun! Thanks for the link back!! Have a great day! Michelle :)

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