The “You’d Never Know” Backpack

The “You’d Never Know” Backpack

I am titling this the “You’d Never Know” Backpack because there were so many mountains to climb just to see this bag in all it’s glory.  I made many mistakes ehhem… learning curves while creating this, I just hope and pray that SOMEONE finds this tutorial useful for something!

Here’s what I used:

Main Fabric-

  • (2)  17″x18″                 main pieces
  • (1)  9″x10″                    flap closure
  • (2)  6 1/2″x21″           strap pieces (looking back, I wish I would have made these longer)
  • (1)  6 1/2″x13″            handle piece

Contrast Fabric-

  • (2)  17″x18″                 main pieces
  • (1)  9″x10″                    flap closure
  • (2)  5″x21″                   strap pieces (looking back, I wish I would have made these longer)
  • (1)  5″x13″                    handle piece
  • about 10 feet of 3″ wide homemade bias binding 

Other Materials-

  • I used fusible batting in between the main section of the backpack and the flap
  • (8) 3/8″ grommets   for the drawstring to loop through (you will need a special tool to fasten these to the bag)
  • 4 foot long drawstring
  • (1) drawstring cinch
  • (1) magnetic snap fastener
  • I also had to add the little flower on to cover up the mistake of adding the magnetic snap on too late!

Okay! To begin, We will first create the straps and handle for the backpack.  Here’s how you will construct all 3 pieces (2 straps and the handle):


Fold the fabric strip in half long ways, and the press it down.  Open the strip back up so that you see the wrong side of the fabric.  This fold will act as you guide for the next folds we will be making.


Fold the raw edges in to meet in the middle where the fold is we already made.  Do this on both sides, then fold it back down the middle.  Repeat this step for all the main fabric and the contrasting fabric strips (there should be 6 in total).


Now, pin each contrast strip on top of it’s correlating main fabric strip all the way up and down.  Begin to sew the top onto the bottom with a scant seam allowance.  Do this for all three strips, and then set these off to the side!  We’re movin’ on!


Grab your flap pieces, and make the wrong sides together.  If you wanted to, you could also insert your batting in the middle like a sandwich, but I didn’t realize I wanted batting at this point of the creation, so you won’t see it in these pictures.  You will see, however, how I added the batting.


To make the rounded curve, I used a dinner plate that measured 10 1/2″ in diameter.  As you see in the first picture, I lined up the corner of both fabrics to the corners on my rotary cutting mat.  Then, from the top corner, I measured four inches down on both sides.  It is at that four inch mark that I set the plate.  The plate is even on both sides because of this.


After the plate was lined up perfectly, I took my rotary cutter and followed the outline of the plate on the top part of the flap.  This created my evenly curved edge.


It was here that I noticed the batting was desirable, so I simply placed the fabric piece on top and cut it out from the roll.  The third picture in this row is all three pieces cut and ready to be attached.  As I snapped this picture, I realized that bias binding was going to need to be made since I had included batting into the mix.  I learned how to make my own bias tape here.  I cut mine to be 3″wide, so that I could have a wide edge on the outside of the flap, just for looks.

I would recommend before sewing all of this up, that you add the magnetic snap to the bottom part of the flap I waited until the end, and had to cover up the back end of the snap with the flower so it didn’t show.  Measure up 1″ from the middle of the curved edge, and insert it through the contrasting fabric AND the batting for sturdiness.


Now sandwich your three pieces (Main fabric on top, batting in the middle, and contrasting fabric on the bottom) and sew up the pieces using the binding, and voila! You just created the flap!


Now for the meat of the project!  Take your big pieces, and add the batting in the middle.  It helps if you iron them as show in the third picture in this sequence.  Do this for both of your pieces (front and back).

Cut your straps diagonally opposite at ONE end.

WARNING! I am about to show pictures of how I assembled my straps.  Looking back on it, I wish I would have attached them in a different spot on my backpack:  through the top, and through the bottom.  I put them on the sides, which works fine if this is for a child, but not so much if it’s for an adult with larger shoulders.  The way I did it does work, but I wish I would have done it a bit differently.


I connected the straight end of the strap to the top side of the body of the backpack.  I began it 1 1/2″ down from the top.


Then, I took the slanted edge of the strap and lined it up to the edge of the fabric 10 1/2″ from the top.  As I said earlier, if I could do it again, I would have started the straps at the top edge of the body and connected them down to the bottom edge of the body.  This would have meant longer straps, and an easier feel when wearing.  Oh well!  It’s still usable.


Now, I have pinned the outsides together, and am about to sew.  You will sew around the two side edges and bottom edge.  Not the top!  That part stays open!


Give it a flip and you’ll see this!  It’s actually coming to form now!


After I did that, I realized that I didn’t want to open the bag and see raw edges, so I included binding to the inside seams of the bag.  This part is optional, depending on how anxious you are at this point.


Time to add the handle!  Center the handle on the back part of the backpack and pin! (don’t sew yet!)


Ok, we need to pin on the flap now, so center it on the back of the backpack, and pin away!


Now, sew those on, and use the last of your binding tape to seal up the top!  Here’s what it should look like now:

Sewing is DONE!!!!!

Moving on to bigger and better things…

We can now add the bottom part of the magnetic snap according to manufactures directions.

And now for the grommets.  These pesky little boogers require a tool to put in, which I didn’t realize until I was too deep in to get out!  I don’t have pictures of putting them in, but I used 8 of them evenly around the top of the bag and then wove the drawstring evenly through the rings so that it would cinch up!  only word of caution: If you use a hammer to put these puppies in, don’t whack your thumb like I did… it will only cause anger and frustration! 🙂

Once the grommets and drawstring are in, there’s just one more thing to do!  Add your drawstring cinch piece onto the drawstring, and tie little knots at the ends of the string so it won’t come loose or fray!

Believe it or not… You are done!  You have created your very own “You’d Never Know” Bag!  I’d love to see variations you come up with!  Please leave a comment if you found this tutorial helpful!

Please make and enjoy!  This tutorial is intended for personal use only, and may not be sold, or reproduced without permission.  Please do not sell the final product without written permission from the owner of this blog.


4 responses »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s