How to Make a Backpack: An Easy DIY Guide

  • A DIY bookbag is easy to make as long as you have some sewing experience.
  • Homemade backpacks are back in style and are fairly easy to put together.
  • In general, a medium-sized backpack is made of 28x47in main fabric.
  • For the lining, you would need 43x44in of fabric.
  • There are many free backpack templates online.

Have you ever wondered if you could make your own unique backpack? Are you fed up with checking out stores looking for the right backpack for you or your kid? This article is for you, then! We’ll explain how to build a backpack from scratch and customize it however you want.

Making a backpack can be a fun DIY project, especially if you have kids running around; you can include them in the activity to be your little helpers and spend time with them while you do some work.

Below, we’ll explain how to make a backpack the easy way.

Steps to Make a Backpack

boy wearing bag

You can design a backpack in your preferred style without spending hours on the sewing machine. All you need are a couple of yards of fabric and some dedication to work the sewing machine. Speaking of fabric, it’s best to go for a durable one to withstand heavier items and all the backpack essentials.

If you’re looking to make a backpack for kindergarteners, there are tons of lovely designs and patterns online. Learn how to make your own backpack for school and see your kid’s face light up when they see how unique their backpack is.

Designing backpacks can be turned into a super fun DIY project if you prep correctly. To make your own backpack, here is what you’ll need:

  • Fabric (main and lining): 28x47in for the main fabric and 43x44in for the lining
  • Webbing: 1in x 60in
  • Zipper: 24in
  • A button
  • A press fastener
  • 2 strap adjusters, 1in each
  • A cutting out.

Finally, you can use a template available online to get started. Let’s see how to sew a backpack by yourself.

Step 1: Tracing

Prep your template and trace around it. Next, cut out the shape for the backpack.

Step 2: Cutting

Cut the template in the following manner:

  • For the main fabric, cut two pieces (front and back), one fabric piece for the pocket, two fabric strips (25⁄8×207⁄8in) for the zipper, and a 43⁄4×323⁄8in fabric piece for the side panel.
  • For the lining, cut two fabric pieces for the front and back lining, using the backpack pattern, one piece of fabric for the pocket following the pocket pattern, two 25⁄8×207⁄8in fabric strips for the zipper lining,
  • For the side panel lining, cut a 43⁄4×323⁄8in fabric piece.
  • A 51⁄2×31⁄8in fabric piece for the hanging loop.
  • A 15⁄8x20in fabric piece for the pocket binding
  • Two 31⁄8×173⁄8in strips for the top strap covers
  • Two 31⁄8×9½in strips for the bottom strap covers.

Step 3: Making the Side Panel and Zipper

backpack zipper

You can make the side panel and zipper like so:

  • Get one zip piece and turn it under by 5⁄8in. Do the same for the other piece.
  • Put the short ends of the zipper pieces together and place them on the short end of the side panel.
  • Stitch the zip strips firmly in place.
  • Insert the zipper under the zip strips with the teeth peeking through the gap.
  • Stitch the zipper.

Step 4: Adding the Pocket

To add pockets, follow these steps:

  • Sew the wrong sides of the main and lining pocket together.
  • Put the long edge of the pocket-binding strips along the pocket and sew them. Trim alongside the edges of the pocket.
  • Fold the binding on top of the wrong sides of the pocket. Put the long edge underneath to align with the machine stitching and sew in place from the right side.
  • Attach the pocket to the main fabric front and sew around the edges within the seam allowance.
  • Secure a press fastener inside the pocket’s center and on the front. Add a button to hide the stitching.

Step 5: Making the Loop and Straps

backpack strap

Make the loop and straps as shown below:

  • Fold and sew one top strap cover, then turn it inside out, pressing the seam along the center back.
  • Thread the webbing through the fabric tube and cut it to match the fabric’s length.
  • Fold in one end of the fabric tube  by 3⁄8in and sew it in place. Trim any excess webbing. (repeat for both straps and strap covers).
  • Fold the hanging loop in half, sew it together, and turn it inside out with the seam along the center back.
  • Thread one top strap through the top bar of a slider (overlap the end by an inch, stitch across to hold.) Repeat for the strap on the other slider.
  • Put the main fabric with the right side up. Put a mark in the middle from the top. Clip the strap ends together with the right side up with the inner edges around 1¼in from the middle mark.
  • Attach the ends of the hanging loop inside the straps and stitch them in place.
  • Loop one bottom strap through a slider, just like the top strap. Repeat with the other bottom strap and slider. Attach both bottom straps to the bottom of the backpack back and sew them down.

Step 6: Putting the Outer Fabric Together

Put the outer fabric together using these steps:

  • Open the zip and clip the front of the backpack with the pockets attached right sides together. Clip the zip and the side panel fabric piece so the zip lays centrally across the top. Stitch everything in place.
  • Clip the back of the backpack with the straps attached right sides together to the other part of the zip and the side panel. Sew it together.
  • Turn the backpack right sides out.

Step 7: Lining

Here’s how you’ll make the lining:

  • The lining is made the same way as the outer fabric of the backpack. One difference is that instead of inserting the zip, you topstitch the inner corners of the zip pieces in place.
  • Have the wrong sides of the outer fabric and lining touch with the seams matching.
  • Open the zipper and slip-stitch the lining to the zip tape.

Conclusion: How to Make a Backpack

Wondering how to design a backpack? Turn the task into a fun DIY and make a backpack to your own liking. A homemade backpack is fairly easy to sew and can be a great task to boost feelings of accomplishment.

The main steps to making a backpack involve tracing, cutting, adding side and main pockets, and making the loop and straps. Finally, you’ll put the outer fabric together and finish off with the lining.

If you have little ones in the house, teach them how to make a bookbag with you and enjoy some time together. A DIY backpack might turn into an activity your kids might remember for a long time.