School is out and the parks are full of kids throwing water balloons, eating soft-serve, and having the time of their lives. Every bit of it reminds me of how much fun those long, hot days of my childhood summers were. Lately though, my summer days feel, well… just long and hot.
Wanting to rekindle that carefree summertime spirit, I made these simple Drawstring Backpacks that are reminiscent of the small sacks we all toted around at summer camp. It’s still the perfect carry-all for all my July necessities: a great paperback, sunscreen, and a few dollars for the ice cream truck!
It was an easy choice to pair this classic bag with the most classic of all fabrics, Liberty of London’s Tana Lawn. Playful, summery prints plus a barely-there lightweight cotton makes Liberty just right for a hot weather tote. And another a little reminder of my 1980’s childhood: a pop of neon for the straps!
Knowing that everyone in my family (and yours!) would want in on these sweeties, I made them in three sizes, from toddler to adult. So to outfit everyone for some summertime fun, pick up a Materials for Drawstring Backpack kit, and since they only take about an hour to make, you’ll be back at the park in no time. – Corinne
One Materials for Drawstring Backpack kit includes . . .
- ¾ yard of Liberty of London’s Tana Lawn Classics
- ¾ yard of Robert Kaufman’s Cambridge Lawn in Ivory
- 6 yards of Poly Lacing
- 100% Cotton Thread in color 1040, 110 yards
These are enough materials to make two of the small or medium sized bags or one of the large bags (see Sizes, below).
Choose from three colorways:
Coral / Aqua Edenham
Light Blue Betsy
Finished Bag Measurements:
Small/Toddler: 10 inches by 12 ½ inches
Medium/Child: 11 ½ inches by 13 ½ inches
Large/Adult: 13 ½ inches by 16 inches
Prewash all fabrics before starting.
All seam allowances in this project are ½ inch unless otherwise noted.
Note: When cutting simple rectangular shapes for patterns such as this, straight, clean cuts are key. The best way to make these cuts is with a rotary cutter and a non-slip quilting ruler on a self-healing cutting mat. If you have limited experience using a rotary cutter, I recommend visiting our Rotary Cutting Tutorial.
For the Small/Toddler bag
Cut two 11-inch by 2 ½-inch pieces from the Liberty. These are for the drawstring channel.
Cut two 11-inch by 12 ½- inch pieces from both the Liberty and the Cambridge Lawn.
Cut the cord into two 45-inch long pieces.
For the Medium/Child bag
Cut two 12 ½ -inch by 2 ½-inch pieces from the Liberty. These are for the drawstring channel.
Cut two 12 ½ -inch by 13 ½- inch pieces from both the Liberty and the Cambridge Lawn.
Cut the cord into two 50-inch long pieces.
For the Large/Adult bag
Cut two 14 ½ -inch by 2 ½-inch pieces from the Liberty. These are for the drawstring channel.
Cut two 14 ½ -inch by 16- inch pieces from both the Liberty and the Cambridge Lawn.
Cut the cord into two 63-inch long pieces.
Sew the Bag and Lining
Pin the lining fabric pieces with right sides together along the two long sides and bottom short side. Sew the pieces together along these three sides, backstitching at the beginning and end of the seams. Trim corners at a 45 degree angle.
To press open the seam, fold out the raw edge of one layer of the seam allowance toward the body of the bag and press flat.
Turn the bag over and do the same on the opposite side.
Pin the outer fabric pieces with right sides together along the two long sides and bottom short side. Sew the pieces together along the bottom short side. Starting ½ inch from this sewn line, sew along the two long sides. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seams. This 1/2-inch opening is where you will insert the backpack straps.
Trim straight along the sewn line until you reach the side seam. Cut down to bottom edge at a 45 degree angle.
Fold out the raw edge of one layer of the seam allowance toward the body of the bag and press flat.
Turn outer bag right side out. Slide the lining inside the bag, matching up their side seams. Pin the lining and outer bags together along the top and stitch 1/8 inch from the raw edges.
Sew the Channel
Use a zigzag stitch to sew around all four sides of both channel pieces.
Fold in the two short sides of the channel ½ inch towards the wrong side and press.
Fold in the two long sides of the channel ¼ inch towards the wrong side and press.
Fold the channel in half, with wrong sides together, lining up the two folded edges.
Pin one channel piece to one side of the bag as follows: Starting at the side seam, fold the channel over the top of the bag so that its raw edge is encased in the channel’s fold. Pin in place. The channel should fit perfectly from one side seam to the other. If it runs short or long, refold the sides so that it measures correctly.
Repeat with second channel on opposite side.
Sew the two channel pieces to the bag with an edge stitch, starting at the side seam, making sure to catch both sides of the channel pieces as you sew. Backstitch at both side seams to secure the ends of the channel pieces.
Thread the Drawstring
Tie a knot at all ends of your cut cording to prevent fraying. Secure a safety pin through the knot on one end of one piece of cording.
Thread the cording through the channel on one side of the bag and then back around the other side so that both ends of the cord are on the same side.
Repeat with the other piece of cording, starting on the opposite side. Pull the cord through so that the pieces are even.
Trim the knots off all ends. With the flame from a lighter or match, lightly singe the cut edges of the cord. This will seal the threads and prevent fraying.
Tuck the cord ends about ¼ inch into the open space at the bottom of the bag. Topstitch through all layers along the edge of the fabric’s folds, backstitching to secure. Repeat on opposite side.
Throw in your summer necessities and you’re ready to go!