make ’em cart their own stuff

Packing to preschool, in style.

Here is a cute little backpack I’ve been making for the toddlers around the hood. The pattern used here is called totpacks and can be bought from Sewbaby. It is a good beginner pattern and provides a lot of opportunity for embellishment.

RS, WS – “right side” and “wrong side” of material
SA = seam allowance
FF = fashion fabric
CF = contrast fabric

As per all tutorials here, these instructions are in addition to (not replacing) those in the pattern.

Cut out all pieces and make markings on the WS of fabric. If you plan to use webbing and fittings for the straps, cut the straps out at 1/2 the length supplied by the pattern. If you plan to make an overlay (which I did for the top front piece) cut out the appropriate pieces in the CF. In the case of the front or top-front piece, you can cut the FF / heavier fabric along the fold line, rather than the specified raw edge. Then fold your overlay fabric over as the pattern suggests in step 1 and topstitch.

Continue on as pattern specifies. If you like, you can make a different pocket (I made a gusseted pocket with a buttonhole closure on the flap). If you do make the pocket provided in the pattern, there are some tips to getting a good looking curved pocket. First, consider cutting out a cardboard template that is 1/4″ smaller on all sides than the desired finished size (I keep this with the pattern, see Figure 1).

Figure 1: pocket piece and guide (project with gusseted pocket).

After cutting out the pocket, clip the curves and iron the pocket around the template. Pin pocket in position and go slowly on the topstitching. This needs to be near-perfect on the curves, especially if done on with a contrasting color. Sew from the center bottom of the pocket and end with a triangular structural stitch (Figure 2), then repeat for the other side.

Figure 2: reinforcment pocket stitching, blurry-style.

Baste straps as marked to RS of back piece (Figure 3). This is the opportunity to use webbing if you want to have adjustable straps. After basting straps, you may want to pin them to the back so you don’t catch them as you finish the project.

Figure 3: strappy.

While fitting the side piece to the front and back, be sure to clip the side piece as specified and pin well for a good fit (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Pin like you mean it, girl!

After the side piece is sewn to the front and back pieces, clip to 1/4″ along inside SA. Finish with zig zag. Turn right-side out and top-stitch the back and front side seams (Figure 5).

Topstichin’ is bitchin’!

This is a bit tricky when you are doing the front of the backpack, so go slowly. Topstitching will add more durability and look more professional (Figure 6).

It’s the minute details your child will care
much about!

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