Sunday, February 26, 2017

Turn a Jeans into a Cute Little Backpack !!



Supplies:
Jeans
Scrap fabric (the one with big prints preferred)
Sewing supplies
Foam wrap
Lining fabric
Adjustable buckle strap
Velcro/ snap button

Tutorial:
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This tutorial will show how to design and sew a custom backpack using a jeans fabric.

Lay the jeans flat on a surface, cut along the broken red lines, open up, and spread out the fabric.


Cut out 5 pieces as per the figure below. These pieces are going to be the side panel (SP), front flap (FF), front (F), back (B), and pocket (P) of the backpack.

All the measurements are in inches, with 1/4" seam allowances included.

Measurements are as follows
For the side panel (SP): A 29" long and 6" wide rectangle strip is required
For front (F) and back (B): Two pieces, each measures 7.5" on the top, 8.5 " on the bottom and 11" length are required. To get the desired shape, the two corners of the bottom edge has been cut into a curved shape. 
For the pocket (P): A piece which measures 8" on the top, 8.5" on the bottom, and 6.5" length is required. The bottom corners have been curved.
For the front flap (FF): A piece which measures 7" on the top, 7.5" on the bottom, and 9" length is required. The bottom corners have been curved, just like other pieces.
 
Cut out similar shapes for SP, F, B and P from the lining fabric. For FF, a jeans fabric material is used as the lining.
Cut out similar shapes for F, B, FF from the foam wrap.
 
Hold on to the rest of the jeans fabric. We need several small strips and pieces for the backpack.

The next step is to prepare different parts of the backpack using the jeans fabric, lining material, and or with foam wrap.

Preparing front and back sides of the backpack.
Lets discuss the front side of the backpack first.
1) Get the front piece (F) and the lining material cut for the front piece.

 
2) Place F, with its right side facing up, over the lining fabric. (The lining fabric I used didn't had any visible difference between right or wrong sides. Otherwise, you will be placing the lining fabric, with wrong sides up, in other words, the wrong sides of F and lining should be together). Make sure the edges of F and lining fabric are lined up neatly. Trim any overhanging edge. Pin the edges in place.

 
3) Make a seam around 1/4" away from the raw edge, curving the stitching at the lower corners. Sew all the way around, leaving the straight edge. Here, we are making a case to insert the foam wrap.


4) Get the foam wrap cut for F and trim its edges by 1/4". Slightly fold and slide in the foam wrap between F and lining material, through the case opening along the straight edge. Spread it out and make sure its nicely sandwiched in between F and the lining material. If not, pull out and repeat trimming the edges until it fits perfect.


5) Create a couple of straight seams to secure the foam wrap in place. You can also sew the ends of the straight edges together at this stage.(The places to sew is shown in white broken lines)


6) In the same method, by following steps 1-5, make the backside of the backpack. Then place the backside of the backpack, with the right side facing up, and pin each ends of the straps onto the bottom curved corners. Sew to secure the straps (The places to sew is shown in white broken lines).



7) This step is completely optional. I made a pocket on the inside of the back piece for cell phone or pens. For this, I used a rectangular piece from the same lining fabric. Fold one edge of the rectangle and make a seam. Then, place the back piece we made in step 6, with the lining side facing up, and pin the rectangle piece with all three sides folded in. Attach the pocket by sewing along the three pinned edges. Then, sew a couple of straight lines for a pen/pencil to fit in.

 
Preparing side panel and front pocket
I didn't use a padding/foam wrap for the side panel and the front pocket.

8) Lay SP, with its right side facing up, over the lining fabric. Make a seam 1/4" away from all the edges. 
In the same way prepare the front pocket.

Preparing front flap
9) For the front flap, I used a floral print fabric and the same jeans material as the lining.
You can follow the steps 1-5 to prepare the front flap with a foam wrap sandwiched between the layers of floral print fabric and the lining fabric.
(Place FF, with its right side facing up, over the lining fabric. Make sure the edges of FF and lining are line up neatly. Pin in place and make a seam around 1/4" from the edge, all the way around, leaving the straight edge. Here, we are making a case to insert the foam wrap. Get the foam wrap cut for FF and trim its edges by 1/4". Slightly fold and slide in the foam wrap between FF and lining material, through the case opening along the straight edge. Spread it out and make sure its nicely sandwiched in between F and the lining material. Then sew the straight edge)

10) The next step is to finish off the raw edges of the front flap using a bias tape. Please visit my previous tutorial on bias tapes to the tape. The same fabric was used to make bias tape for the front flap. Here I used the sandwich method to attach the bias tape.



At this point, we have made all the individual parts which are required to make the backpack. The next task is to put these together to finish off the backpack.

A. Attaching the front pocket to front side
11) Get the above prepared front pocket and front side of the bag. Fold in 1/4" twice from the top straight edge of the front pocket and make a seam. (Or you can use bias tape here to finish off the top raw edge of the pocket). Place the pocket over the front side, with the right sides of both pieces facing up. Line up the bottom curved raw edges. Secure them in position using pins and create a seam 1/4" from the raw edge to attach the front pocket to the front side piece. (You may guide the needle along the previously made  seam on both pieces.)


B. Attaching the side panel to front and back pieces
12) The next step is to attach the front piece we just prepared in step 12 to the side panel, prepared in step 8. Align the edges of the front piece, except the top straight edge, with  one of the long edges of the side panel. Be sure to orient the "right sides" (means the side to be seen) towards outside. Pin all the way around and sew them together by making a 1/4" seam from the edge.

13) Next, attach this to the back side prepared over steps 1-6 to complete the body of the backpack. For that, line up the other long edge of the side panel to the backside, pin all the way around, and make a seam 1/4" away from the raw edge.


At this point the backpack will look something like this (see the figure below).
You can see three unfinished edges; the top, front, and back. For the front unfinished edge, a bias tape with the same fabric as the flap is used. For the back unfinished edge, a black color bias tape is used. Since the top edge is straight, unlike the front and back edge, you can use a regular tape. I used a regular tape made from the jeans fabric (Please see step 16 for making a tape).


14) Finish off the front and back sides with bias tapes. Trim off any excess fabric from the top edges to make all of them of the same length. Using a regular tape finish off the top straight edge.


C. Attaching front flap, handle and straps
15) Pin the front flap on the backside of the backpack around 1.5" from the finished top edge of the backpack. Keep everything with the right sides facing up. Also attach a handle and the other ends of the strap in the middle of the top raw edge of the flap. Pin all of them in place and sew the flap, handle, and the straps.



C1. How to make regular tapes for strap and handle?
Here is a very short and quick guideline to prepare the regular tapes tapes:
16) It doesn't matter from where you are cutting the tape, means, you don't need to cut the strip parallel to the bias, instead you can cut a rectangle strip anywhere from the fabric.
I used a 9" long, 0.5 " wide strip for the handle. If you want to make a handle with 0.5" wide and 9" long, you should start from a 2" wide and 9" long rectangle piece. 

Place one 2" wide strip, with the wrong side facing up. Bring the two long raw edges of the strip to the center to make two folds and nicely iron.  Then make one more fold, length wise, along the center and iron. At this stage you can call it as a regular tape. Then sew along the folded edge to prevent it from opening.

This is how all the regular tapes used in this tutorial are made.

17) To hide the raw edges of flap, strap, and handle, a rectangle piece from the jeans fabric is used. Cut the required fabric piece and lay over the raw edge of flap. Fold in all the edges of the rectangle piece and pin in place. Then, sew along the folded edges.


D. Final touch-ups
18) To fasten the opening of the bag, a set of small loops, a string stopper/slider,  and a drawstring are used. A total of 6, equally spaced hoops are used on the top finished edge, one on each side panel, two on the back side, two on the front.


Small loops: A 0.5" tape made from same jeans fabric is used to make the small loops. Please see step 16 for making a tape. The  0.5" wide regular tape is cut into 1.5" long pieces. Fold that 1.5″ piece in half to make a small loop and pin it to the inside of the top finished edge.Then sew it with several stitches. Repeat the same and attach six equally spaced loops on the top finished edge of the bag.


String: Decide the length of string. A 30-32" long strip would be suffice. Make a regular tape from the printed fabric (Please see step 16 for making a tape). Then sew along the folded edge of the tape to make the string. Feed the string through the eyelet of the loops.

String stopper/slider: A 1" wide and 2" long regular tape is used. (Please see step 16 for making a tape). Sew the folded edges together and then sew together the raw edges. Now it will look like a medium sized loop. Flip the loop inside out so that the seam will be hidden inside. Sew again in the middle using zig-zag stitches and draw each ends of the string through the small hole in the string stopper/slider. Two wide bored beads are used at the end of the string and tied a knot to prevent it from falling off the string.


Velcro: Finally, sew a 1 inch velcro square onto the top of the front pocket and and one to the inside of the front flap.




The backpack has enough room to hold 2-3 big books, ipad, phone, pen etc..

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