Thursday, April 21, 2011

DIY Project: Homemade Backpack

I had this African print that I bought in South Africa 10 years ago, I needed a backpack but didn't want a regular canvas one, so I put the two things together--fabric+need=backpack. I also had some leather to make the straps and buckles and bottom of the the bag.
I went about the task of designing my backpack. I wanted it to be a "bucket bag" backpack with a draw string rather then a zipper and this would be a great way to utilize the eyelets I bought accidentally. I wanted the black leather to be the bottom of the bag. I wanted to have no extra pockets, a top flap and 3 buckles; one to close the top flap and 2 to adjust the length of the straps.

I laid out all my fabric and started to cut out the pieces. I first cut a circle for the bottom as large as I wanted, then 2 strips of leather and 2 African print pieces for the sides. I measured these pieces against the fabric for the lining (a cotton muslin) and cut out these as well. I sewed these all together to make the "bucket" part; starting from bottom up, sewing the lining separately, then sewing the lining to the outside part at the top. I then cut holes along the top for the eyelets and inserted the eyelets with a hammer.

With this done, I cut and pinned the remaining pieces; the straps, the buckles, the handle, the flap. I hammered and cut holes into the pieces for the buckles (you can also use an awl if you have it). After I sewed the handle and straps, I turned them right-side out and sewed along the edges. I also sewed along the edges of all pieces of leather to give it extra support. I sewed a leather trim around the flap and then I sewed the flap, handle and straps to the top of the back, hiding the frayed edges by sewing pieces of leather on top. I attached the adjustable buckle of the strap to the base of the bag and I sewed the buckles that close the flap to the front of the bag and flap. And ta-da! The finished product.


  1. Wow, that's AWESOME! Nice work!

  2. Bellissimo!! and Ranita the cat is helping. What a beautiful well made bag.

  3. Wow this is awesome! I love the straps! And you painted them?? WOW!

  4. No, I didn't paint it, it's just the print of the fabric.

  5. What size are the straps of the bag? As in how long were they before u you sewed them on?