How to sew a DIY Backpack part 3 – Patterns and sewing. 

Last post I went over the creation of the templates used and the logic behind the fabric choices in this DIY Backpack. This post I’ll show you how I cut out the templates, and the some basic seeing techniques.

DIY Backpack

This picture has a couple of tips in it. First, when setting up the fabric, use a weight or some tape to hold the fabric in place. Then line the template upon the fabric. The idea is to be as economical as possible. Don’t set the template in the middle, work from the edge out, this way you’ll ensure that you have enough fabric to finish the project.

You’ll notice the chalk pencils are bound together, that’s to give an automatic 1/4 inch of hem. Using this on  all sides will give you a 1/2″ hem.

So using this pencil line up the long straight edge of the template on the edge fabric, and trace the remainder withe the unsharpened pencil butted up against the template. You’ll need to do this will all the templates. Remember it’s ok to have more hem allowance, you can always trim, it’s hard to add fabric.

When the tracing is done, go ahead and cut the pieces out with the rotary cutter, or scissors. Please don’t use the knife, but if you do send me pictures of the cutouts.

Once all the big pieces are cut out, you have a few options. You can make pockets, straps, whatever you want on there, or just make a super simple pack by sewing it all up after attaching the shoulder straps. Those of you that just want a simple tube backpack can sure do that now if you feel you have some sewing experience, or you can wait till closer to the end of this series to see how I make the shoulder straps, and then go from there.

Those that want a pack with external pockets and have good sewing skills can skip this next part, where I explain the two types of stitches I use on a back pack.


The first and most common stitch is the straight stitch. This is the stitch you will use for nearly everything. 90 % of the time you are joining two pieces together you are using this stitch. On the Brother that I mentioned it’s either 00 or 01. Leave the tightener on 4 with this stitch for this pack, you don’t really need to go much tighter.

DIY Backpack
This is where you adjust the Stitch Taughtness. IDK if that’s even a word.
DIY Backpack
1 – This is the Stitch selector 2 – The Stitch Length selector 3 – The Stitch Width selector

The above photo is one that you will see again later, but I’m using it to show you the other controls.

Really the only stitches that I use are 00, 01, and 03. The configuration above is to create a Bar Tack, and I’ll show you where that is useful later.

The next article will cover general pocket ideas and placement, and the shoulder/waist straps.

Past Articles in this series:
Part One   Part Two


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