- 2 pieces of fabric cut to 11″x14″
- 1 piece of cord two yards (72″) in length
- 4 scraps of fusible interfacing about 2″x2″ each
- 2 sets of 3/8″ grommet hardware – I used an antique brass finish but you should use whatever finish coordinates with your backpack fabric
- 3/8″ grommet pliers
- large safety pin
- tailor’s chalk
- sewing machine
Before You Start
Unless otherwise indicated I’ve used a 10 mm seam allowance throughout. I finished the edges of my fabric pieces with my serger before I got started. This is not necessary although it does keep the inside of the backpack neat. If you’ve invested in a serger I say use it. If you don’t have one just finish the fabric in your usual manner.
Step 1 :: Apply the Fusible Interfacing
Using your iron apply one scrap of fusible interfacing to each of the bottom corners of the wrong side of each fabric piece. The interfacing will help when it comes time to install the grommets so you want it where you’ll be doing that later.
Step 2 :: Backpack Tutorial :: Mark 2″ From the Top
Using your tailor’s chalk mark the edge of your fabric pieces 2″ from the top
Step 3 :: Sew Three Sides Together
With right sides together sew the bottom edge of the backpack. Then, starting at the bottom, sew the side seams ending the seam at the mark you made 2″ from the top.
Step 4 :: Press Open the Side Seams
Using your iron, press open the side seams. Using the seam as a guide continue pressing to the top. By doing this you have folded in the exposed edge of the casing for the cord.
Step 5 :: Press Down 1.25″ for the Casing
With the wrong side facing you fold the fabric of one side of the backpack towards you 1.25″ from the top. Press. Repeat for the other side of the backpack. The raw edge should be about 1/4″ below the top of the side seam on each side. If it isn’t, adjust the fold so that it is. This will make the casing for the cord to go through.
Step 6 :: Sew the Casing
Clip the bottom corners and turn the backpack right side out. Starting at a side seam sew the casing 1″ from the fold. The stitches should lie just at the top of the side seam so you should be able to sew around the entire backpack.
Step 7 :: Mark for the Grommets
Using your iron press the backpack so it lies flat. Using your tailor’s chalk mark the location of you grommets, about 3/4″ in from the bottom and side edges.
Step 8 :: Punch Holes for the Grommets
Following the instructions for your grommet pliers punch holes for the grommets over your markings. For the grommet pliers I use this means having the small piece of white plastic towards the front of the pliers.
Step 9 :: Install the Grommet Hardware
Now you need to decide which side of your backpack is the front. For my fabric it didn’t really matter but it may matter for yours. From the front push through the piece of grommet hardware with the post. On the back side put the washer part of the hardware over the post with the domed side facing out.
Step 10 :: Squeeze
Following the instructions for your grommet pliers squeeze the grommet shut. When the grommet is installed the back will look like this:
Step 11 :: Lace the Cord
Attach a large safety pin to one end of your cord and with the front of the backpack facing you on the table (my photos show the back facing, just pretend it’s the front) thread it through the left grommet from back to front. Leave about an 8″ tail out the back of the grommet, you can tape it down to the table if you’re concernced you might pull it through.
Thread the cord through the front casing by inserting it on the left side.
Thread the cord through the right grommet from front to back.
Thread the cord through the back casing by inserting it on the right side.
Step 12 :: Tie the Ends
Remove the safety pin and tie the ends of the cord together. Trim the ends and then I hide the knot in the back casing.
Now you just need to stuff whatever your heart desires into your brand new string backpack. Let me know if you make one, I’d love to see it!