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cut and sew – mini backpack

backpack sketch
original sketch

This is my first try at a cut and sew pattern. Since my sewing skills are minimal, it needs to be something I could actually make. Spoonflower, where I have been selling and sharing fabric designs, has a weekly theme contest and many designers participate. This week the challenge is to create a cut and sew pencil case. I thought a variation of a drawstring backpack sized for pens, pencils and a small notebook and phone would be a fun thing to have.

While the bag isn’t hard to make, there are a lot of steps. Once I have my FQ, I’ll update this and post pictures.

Pencil Case Cut and Sew-web

Fabric page at Spoonflower

You will need: scissors, a sewing machine or strong needle and thread, an iron, straight pins and a safety pin, about 120” of cord for the drawstrings. Optional: batting, twill tape or ribbon, embroidery thread or fabric markers.

Step 1: Cut out the FRONT and BACK panels. Fold and iron-in the seams along the sides and bottom end using the printed guidelines. There is a generous 1/2″ seam all around.

Step 2: Fold the inside pattern over the outside pattern of the FRONT and BACK pieces, fold and iron the bottom edges. Leave the top folds open for now.

Step 3: Make the tab loops to hold the drawstring cords in place. Cut the tab ribbon square out and fold the sides into the center and then on itself, so you end up with a 1/2″ x 6″ piece (there’s a bit extra). Iron the edges. Sew a straight stitch along both long edges. Cut so you have two  1/2″ x 3″ tabs. (Optional: use twill tape or heavy ribbon instead of making these tabs.)

Step 4: On the BACK panel. Fold over each 3″ tab and place 1/4″ from the bottom fold on both the left and right sides. Place the tabs between the inside and outside pattern so that you have about a 1/4″ loop peeking out on both sides (wide enough to thread one cord through). Pin each in place.

Step 5: Sew a straight stitch along the right and left sides of each panel. Make sure to securely sew your tab loops into the BACK panel. You’ll have a deep pocket and raw edge on both top ends. (Optional: Put batting in each pocket.)

Step 6: Fold and iron the top seam, then fold over again to create a 1″ loop with a clean edge. Pin the top loop seam over the inside lining seam. Sew a straight stitch to join them.

Step 7: Line up the FRONT and BACK panels with the inside design facing out and the tab loops carefully tucked in. Pin together.  Sew a straight stitch along the two sides and bottom. Begin where the inside lining meets the outside but do not sew up sides of your two top loops!

Step 8: Turn inside out and iron. You should have a bag with two open loop seams along the top and two tab loops on the right and left near the bottom.

threadingStep 9: Take your cord and cut it so you have two pieces about 60″ long. Using a safety-pin, thread one length from the right back loop around through the front right loop. Thread the other cord from the left back loop through the front left loop. Pull each cord so both lengths are even. Pull the front cord through each tab loop and tie it with a strong knot to the back cord. Trim any excess length to fit.

Step 10: (Optional) Use embroidery thread or fabric markers to personalize your mini backpack pencil case.