My Self-Sewn Backpack

I can’t believe it’s almost time to go back to school… Time flies when you don’t have to keep track of the days. At least I’m ready for school now that I’ve finished my backpack! I’m really excited to share this make.

First of all, this is my second time making a backpack that isn’t a messenger bag. I made the pattern for this backpack last year, and I the backpack I made lasted the entire school year. It ended the year a bit worse for wear, but making and using it gave me the insights I needed to make this year’s even better.

When I made the pattern, I copied an LL Bean backpack, marking and measuring each individual piece, drawing the pieces out, and adding seam allowance. To sew it together, I… Well, basically figured it out as I went along. I made a few mistakes along the way, but in the end I worked out a good way to sew all the pieces together.

Last year, I had a lot of trouble finding metal backpack zippers that were long enough. I ended up buying regular long metal zippers and adding zipper pulls. This year, I simply bought zipper tape and zipper pulls and created my own custom-length zippers. I realized that bias-binding the straps was much easier than turning them inside out, and it gives them a flat, clean look. The most trouble I had with this project was figuring out the proper size for the side mesh pockets. I knew I wanted them for my water bottle and maybe a travel mug, so they were worth the effort.

I also added a padded device pocket that wasn’t in the original backpack. My school iPad has an Otterbox case, so it doesn’t really need the protecting, and I don’t have any other delicate devices that need protecting, but a girl can dream. It seemed like a useful addition, and I’m sure my Otterboxed iPad will still like it.

One of the other tricky parts of this construction was the inner mesh pocket and pencil slots. However, I think the pocket and slots definitely add a nice touch, and I might even find something to put in them. The last thing I did that varied from the original backpack was to make the bottom of the two big pockets a double layer. Hopefully this will help it to stand up to the rigors of school.

Overall, this backpack was easier to construct than last year’s since I had the pattern and method already figured out. I think it could blend into a sea of store-bought backpacks, and I’m ready to have it with me as I face senior year!