Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Petite Pack

As we enter August plans for going back to school come to mind. You may want to stay in denial about summer ending but regardless, the wee ones will load up their book bags and march off to get smarter. On a brighter note you may have more time to sew while they're getting educated. Certainly you'll have plenty of time to sew up one of these cute, super simple, mini backpacks.
I designed it with an early elementary aged child in mind. Perhaps a darling little first grader. One who doesn't need to carry much but still cares about looking cute :)
However, I can totally see a young teen coming home only to toss down her heavy book bag, pickup this little pack and run back out the door to some after school engagement.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1/2 yard fabric for exterior*
  • 1/2 yard fabric for contrasting lining
  • 1/4 yard fabric for straps
  • 1/4 yard decorative ribbon optional (for top of pocket)
*(unless print is directional, then you'll need 1 yard)
  • 1/2 yard "Pellon" decor bond
  • 1/4 yard lightweight interfacing
  • one full sheet of newspaper
  • fabric shears
  • and paper scissors
  • 2" bias tape maker
  • masking tape
  • measuring tape or yard stick
  • and large acrylic grid ruler
  • fabric marker or chalk
  • large snap, Velcro, button or other closure
*You can click on any photo or illustration to see enlarge.*

Here's how it's made:
Step 1
Making the pattern

Taking your full sheet of newsprint and cut straight down center fold. Then laying one sheet flat, lay second sheet on top, overlapping at the horizontal fold line, measure to ensure you have one long strip of newspaper, 33" long by 11" wide. Tape together. Now fold this new piece in half longways and draw (freehand or trace, using a large dinner plate) a quarter circle starting from top corner of folded edge and rounding down to about 5" bellow top corner of opposite edge. Cut along line. Unfold. You should have a 33" x 11" piece of newspaper with a rounded top. This is your pattern.

Step 2

Using the pattern you've just made cut 1 from exterior, one from lining and one from decor bond. IMPORTANT : If your fabric has a directional pattern you will need to take special care to ensure print is right side up on exterior front of bag. To do this lay your exterior fabric face up and pin pattern to fabric as illustrated (right).
Iron "decor bond" to wrong side of lining fabric.

Next you will need to cut your straps, to be made with a 2" bias tape maker, however you will NOT cut these on the bias. I cut my strips 3 3/4" wide x 45" long (entire length of fabric). Do this with both strap fabric and lightweight interfacing. Iron interfacing strips onto wrong side of fabric strips.

Step 3
Make Straps

Using your two long strips with interfacing ironed on, follow instructions to make 2" tape (it helps to cut end of strip to a point in order to feed through tape maker easily). Be sure interfaced side is facing up as it passes through tape maker. Cut off pointed tip of both strips and compare both lengths of tape to make certain they are the same length (about 42"). Unfold one short end, fold under 1/2", press, refold and press, repeat with all short ends. Now fold tape in half longways and press (the finished strap will be 1" wide). Edgestitch down one long side, across short end, down opposite side and across to meet where you started. Backstitching at start & end.

Step 4
Attach Straps to Exterior

Lay exterior piece face down on your ironing board. Fold bottom (straight end) up 13", and press. Fold top (rounded end) down over bottom, about 7", press. Now flip this (to what will be the back of bag). NOTE: If your print is directional it will be upside down on the backside of the bag. With a fabric chalk or disappearing fabric marker, draw an 8" line, starting 1/2" down from top fold and 2" in from left side. Repeat 2" from right side. These lines will be the guides for your strap placement.
Unfold bag exterior completely and lay flat, right side up (rounded end at top). Now take bag straps and fold in half, press or mark with chalk. Line this mark up with top of line on exterior, pin straps in place with outer edge of straps against guide lines (2" from bags edge). Chalk a line across strap where guide line begins and ends. Sew straps in place following existing edgestitching and crossing at marked lines (as shown below [click photo to enlarge]). Backstitch at beginning and end.
Step 5
Attach interior Pocket

Oh yeah! I forgot to have you cut a pocket in the cutting step. Well I guess you'll have to cut it now. First determine the size of pocket you'd like. I cut out a 6" x 8" rectangle and the result is a pocket about 7inches wide by 5 1/4" deep. Pocket option A: if using a decorative ribbon as I did, fold top edge down 1/2" to right side, press. Pin ribbon across front covering raw edge. Topstitch across top and bottom of ribbon. Pocket option B: if NOT using ribbon, simply fold top of pocket down 1/4" to wrong side, press, fold down again another 1/4" and press, edgestitch across.
Now lay pocket face down on ironing board and fold bottom edge up 1/4", press. Then fold sides in 1/4" and press. Place pocket onto lining piece, about 8" down from tip of rounded edge, center and pin in place. Topstitch around the 3 sides, backstitching at beginning and end.

Step 6
Assemble Bag

Start with exterior piece laying face up with straps folded down over themselves. Lay lining face down on top of exterior and pin together, starting at tip of rounded top and pining down both long sides. Leave straight, short bottom unpinned. Sew around sides where pinned with a 1/4" seamallowance.
Turn bag right side out. Placing your hand inside, run your finger or a turning tool along seam, especially at rounded top, then press nice and flat.
Take open end and turn raw edges in 1/2", press flat and edgestitch across. back stitch at beginning and end.
Lay bag flat with lining face up. Fold bottom edge up 12 1/2", press flat and pin along sides. Sew along sides from top to folded bottom, backstitching well at both beginning and end.

After these sides have been sew, do your best to press these seams open to show off the lining fabric. My trick for this is to first fingerpress and then wearing a potholder on my left hand (or which ever is your non-dominant), I slide it inside of the bag and press seams open this way while holding it. You could also use an ironing sleeve board if you have one.
Next turn bag inside out (use a chopstick or end of a clean craft brush to press corners out neatly). Flatten corner as pictured bellow. Place your hand inside and check to make sure seam is open and flat. Press corner flat. Measure in one inch from tip and mark, draw a line across corner perpendicular to seam line. Top and bottom of line sure measure about 1 1/2" from tip. Pin to keep flat. Stitch where marked. Be sure to backstitch well. Repeat with opposite corner.
Do not cut off corners, they will help bag bottom to keep it's shape. Turn right side out. Now with a potholder covered hand inside bag, press bottom flat.
Step 7

To finish straps: Take one strap coming from top of bag and string two D rings onto the end. Fold end 2" up over rings, pin. Draw a line across the strap 1" down from top edgestitch, then draw a line from corner to corner to create an X. Stitch as marked. Repeat with both straps. Next feed bottom straps up through both D rings and then back down through bottom ring. Adjust straps to fit wearer.
Finally attach a closure of your choice. For example: a large snap, Velcro, button or other. When choosing a closure keep in mind your intended user. For a young child Velcro may be easiest for them to open and close on their own. If your little one is anything like mine they'll surely want to do it by them selves.
After your closure is secure you're ready to hand off the bag. Now watch as your little friend loads it up with treasures... or perhaps you'll load it yourself and watch as they unpack the surprises.. or maybe you'll be carrying it yourself :) . . . .
Whatever it is you do now, ENJOY.

*I'd really love to hear any feedback you might have on this project/tutorial.
Also, if you make this "Petite Pack" we'd love to have you share it with us on flickr. Thanks.


Sarah said...

Love the tutorial - hope there will be more to come! I think I might make some of these for "wrapping paper" for a few 3 year old birthday parties we have coming up.

Beth said...

I don't know what I love more -- the pack or the tulip table!

Marie Hatch Chambers said...

This looks like a great project. Thanks for sharing it.

andrea creates said...

This looks like really cute -thanks for the tutorial.
I just moved to Ohio-Cincinnati area- and can't wait to visit your store.I haven't found any around here(yet)that have the selection you have.Do you happen to know of any?
I keep nagging my husband to make a trip to Columbus this month ;)

April Rhodes said...

Thanks everyone.

Andrea - Sorry, we do not know of any fabric shops in the Cinci area...

But the VERY GOOD NEWS is that soon you won't need to travel all the way to Columbus to visit our little shoppe. We will be launching our world wide web shoppe sometime within the next few months!!!!

Cristin said...

CUTE pack! I'll have to add that tutorial to my list to try soon!
And you're opening an online shop soon!!! YYAAAAAYYYYY!!! ;-)

varenia said...

I love this! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

I have been on a quest to find the perfect backpack pattern for my son entering first grade, and I love the look of this one. Would it be possible to include the finished approximate dimensions of the bag? His school has specific requirements of how large the bag needs to be (large enough to carry standard folders).

Thank you again, this rocks!

Erin said...

Wow April! This backpack is adorable! Love the fabric choices.

Anonymous said...

great tutorial april! I'll definitely try it out :)

Anonymous said...

you never cease to amaze me!

katekatenegotiate said...

I love it! Thank you so much for sharing.

acandiedapple said...

Yay! I love tutorials. I'll have to give this a try.

EvaDress said...

Hi Anita,

Having trouble finding your e-mail addy, so I will give you a call about teaching vintage pattern/sewing clinics at your shop as we discussed last year. Looking forward to talking with you about it-cheers!

Lisa said...

This is so cute! I've been looking for a little backpack pattern for my daughter to use to take to daycare. It just needs to hold a sippy cup and a change of clothes, so this is perfect. Even at 18 months she likes to carry her bag LOL!

anotheryarn said...

Yet another pattern to add to my very long "to make" list. And a potholder on your hand - that is brilliant!

Claire said...

Looooooove it!

I was linked from Craftzine...

Heni PR said...

helo, i'm from Indonesia. it's nice bag. thanks for share.

DonnaRae said...

Great Pack and tute. I am going to give this a try. Thanks!
Donna rae

Kat Atonic said...

Thank you for this. I started using my son's ladybug backpack when my purse began giving me shoulder problems, and I've been looking for a good backpack pattern to replace the bug with. This is perfect.

Vanillaorchid said...

wowwwwwwww...I love it so much..it's so cute.

Thank you for sharing.

Anne said...

This is lovely!! My daughter is in kindergarten and would love one of these!!

I posted a link to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:



slmpetersen said...

This is so cute! I found you through Craft Gossip! Thanks for sharing such a great little idea!

pirateheart said...

Very cute! Found you through Etsy's twitter.

Might I ask where I can find this fabric? It's absolutely adorable and I'd love to use it for a skirt project I have in mind.

Anita Bowman said...

Hi Pirateheart, Are you wanting the fairy tale fabric, purple/green on natural ground? We are not set up as a web store yet but we have a bit of this fabric in the physical store in Columbus. If you call in we can get your info to mail you some and do a credit card transaction. We are at 614-267-3011. Our big sale starts today so best to call on Tuesday. If you let me know how much you want I will set it aside. Thanks for posting, Anita

Annie said...

This is adorable and usable - I hope that for me it is do-able! Thank you so much.

kristena marie said...

Very cute! Thanks for the how-to. I kind of want one for myself. :)

OneGirlCircus said...

Wow, I love this! I'll be making Holiday gifts with this for sure.

pino said...

just finished this bag and it turned out very well although I'm only a beginner. thank you for the tutorial!

Miss Stik said...

Hi, I made your petite pack: http://miss-stik.blogspot.com/2010/02/een-zakje-voor-haar-en-eentje-voor-mij.html
Thanks a lot for your great tut!

Gigi said...

My 7 yo granddaughter loved her Mom's name brand bag which was very pricy. I thought she'd love to do her own, with her own designs. Thanks.. I linked to my blog -- I think. ggsews.blogspot.com

richie cannatas said...

Just love the designs.. thnaks

Christa Chandler said...

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I can't wait to make one for a friend of mine. :) Her little one will love it!! :)

Meijra, Amber en Marlo said...

Thanks a lot for sharing! My daughter loves her new back :-)

Kimmy said...

Love this!!!

Kay Aichess said...

I loved this little project. It's hard to find something cute, simple and cute- functional and inexpensive. Thank you for sharing! I wrote all about it on my own blog, where I link back to your wonderful website.
Kim Harbicht-Sczesny
Kay Aichess

Kate said...

Hi. Thanks for this great tutorial. Just made one for my niece for Christmas. (my first project as a novice crafter) and have filled it with a "trip to the park" kit. A little bag of duck food, a mini umbrella, a little towel to wipe down rainy swings etc... I'm pretty confident she will love it! Thank you!! :)

Granny Pat said...

I adore this pattern, so easy to do. I made it in pink with sheep on it for my granddaughter in Australia, she is now the envy of all her friends. Thank you.