Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Simple Knapsack Pattern

My daughter and I made knapsacks to take on our vacation next week, and I wanted to share my pattern with you!

You will need 2 Fat Quarters and 3 and 3/4 yards of something for a drawstring. I bought some cording at Walmart, it looks like it is twisted together. Now this stuff wants to untwist, so make sure when you cut it, that you put tape around where you are going to cut and then cut through the middle of the tape. If you try to cut it and then quickly tape it, you will never be able to get it to look just the same (ask me how I know!). So, find the center of your piece of drawstring, tape around it and the cut down the center of the tape so that you now have two pieces.

Cut two rectangles from your fabric, 14 X 16 inches. You can cut it bigger if you want a larger knapsack. Choose one of the narrow sides to be your top. Now make two marks on each of the longer sides near the top.

One mark is 1 and 1/4" from the edge, then another mark 2 and 1/4". This is going to help you form the casing for the drawstring.

Sew from the edge to the first mark, leave the space between the marks un-sewn, then sew from the second mark, down about 5 more inches.
Now press open the seam allowance. *Here is an optional step that you can do if you want--I sewed a little rectangle outlining the open part of my seam. I'm thinking this will keep the raw edge from sticking out with my drawstring.*
On the raw edge of the top, you need to fold over slightly less than 1/2" and press that. Take that fold and bring it down so it just goes past the opening you made for the drawstring - about 1 inch.
Sew completely around, close to the fold. TIP - this will look like top stitching from the outside. If you increase your stitch length to 3 or 3.5 when you are top stitching the stitches will appear straighter. When you are finished, make sure you put your stitch length back to the regular length, because the longer length isn't as strong as the smaller stitch length.

Now you are ready to thread the drawstring! To make it easier I pin a large safety pin through the cording.
Push it through one of the openings, all the way around so it comes out the same place you started. Do the same with the other string, beginning in the opening on the other side.
Sorry this picture is blurry! With your knapsack wrong side out, take both ends of one drawstring and put just the edges out one inch from the bottom, on the same side they come out from the top. Keep the rest of the drawstring on the inside of the sack.

Now sew from the bottom edge up the side to meet up with your other stitching. I sewed over the cord, reversed and then came forward over it again to secure the cords.

I went back and sewed over again a couple of times just to make sure this is nice and secure. Repeat this on the other side with the other drawstring.
Another optional step - I took my pinking shears and snipped along the very edges of the seam allowance just do to away with any long strings that might get tangled up with what ever I put inside.

After both sides are sewn, sew across the bottom and you are all done!


  1. Mom! Your blog is so dang cute! I have to do that to my blog, once I get a spare moment. Man, ty sure keeps me busy! lol Can't wait to see you!

  2. I love these kind of bags!! I'm so excited to make my own!! :D

  3. Alrighty, I made one, and boy was it easy with this tutorial. You did a great job explaining what to do and the pictures were awesome! Plus, I got my own set of pinking shears (thanks!) and I had fun lining up all of my cuts. Great job!


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