Design and Sew Your Own Canvas Backpack

by Emma Jeffery

These Fiskars tools allow you to work with heavy-weight utility fabrics to create a handmade backpack that will have your child excited to go back to school!

DIY Canvas Backpack

1. Using the Adjustable Rotary Cutter, cut your fabrics to the following measurements.

  • Main fabric – Cut 2 pieces 17" x 18"
  • Contrast fabric (front pocket) – Cut 1 piece 17" x 7"
  • Patterned fabric (bag flap) – Cut 2 pieces 16" x 10"
  • Lining fabric – Cut 2 pieces 17" x 18"
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To cut multiple layers of heavy-weight fabrics, take advantage of the Adjustable Rotary Cutter's pivot feature and lock the blade into right-angle mode. This allows you to increase the force on the fabric, enabling you to easily cut through multiple layers.

2. Fold the top edge of the front pocket piece fabric over by 1/2". Fold over by a further 1/2" and press with an iron. Topstitch the folded edge to create a neatly finished top edge to the pocket.

3. Press the bottom edge up by 1/2". Pin the pocket piece to the front main fabric bag piece, 3" above the bottom edge.

4. Sew the pocket piece to the bag front in two places – along the bottom folded edge of the pocket piece and through the center of the pocket to create a pocket divider.

5. Sew the two patterned bag flap pieces together with right sides facing. Sew along the two short sides and one long edge. Clip the corners using the RazorEdge™ Micro-Tip® Easy Action™ Shears, turn to the right side and press. Top stitch around the edge of the bag flap.

6. Use the Amplify® RazorEdge™ Serrated Shears to trim four pieces of cotton webbing to 18" for the bag straps. Sew each strap to the right side of the back piece. Position each strap 3.5" away from the sides.

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7. Find the center of the bag flap and pin to the center point of the bag back piece. Baste the flap to the back of the bag with loose stitches.

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8. Place the bag front piece on top of the back bag piece and pin together with right sides facing. Sew the side and bottom seams with a 1/2" seam allowance. Ensure all straps and the bag flap do not get caught in the stitches.

9. Mark a 2.5" square in both bottom corners using the stitched lines as your measuring guide. Cut out the squares of fabric using the Amplify® RazorEdge™ Serrated Shears, which are ideal for cutting multiple layers of fabric. Open out the cut seam and refold to bring the two cut edges together. Sew together to create the gusset bottom of the bag.

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10. Trim the seam allowance using the serrated shears again, and turn the bag to the right side.

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11. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the lining fabric, but leave an 8" hole unstitched in the bottom seam for turning.

12. Place the outer bag inside the lining with right sides of each bag facing. Pin, then stitch, around the top perimeter of the bag. Be sure to catch the raw edge of the bag flap in the stitches, sandwiching it securely between the lining and outer bag.

13. Trim loose threads and seam allowance using the RazorEdge™ Micro-Tip® Easy Action™ Shears. Turn the bag to the right side through the hole in the bottom of the lining. Topstitch around the top edge opening of the bag and sew the hole in the bottom of the lining closed.

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14. Create a grab handle by cutting a 5" length of cotton webbing and sewing it to the top of the bag back.

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15. Thread the bag sliders on to the bottom bag straps. Loop around the top bag straps and sew the ends in place.

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16. Cut a small piece of Velcro and sew one half to the bag flap, and the other to the front of the bag.

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With help from a few Fiskars tools you can create a unique DIY backpack for your childhood that is sure to stand out among all the others at school!

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