How to Sew a Toddler Backpack

Yes, you can make this backpack for free; just digging through your closet should do it. Using the legs of a pair of jeans, calico from a cotton shirt and a stray button you can make this little backpack in about the time it takes for your toddler to nap.

Toddler Backpack Tutorial

Make sure to read the entire pattern before you start. It will help you plan in advance how you want to orient your fabric.

Seam allowance is ½”.

Materials to sew a toddler backpack

Toddler Backpack - cutting

Cut the legs off a pair of wide or bootcut jeans. If the seams are damaged you must make a new hem first.

Cut the first leg 12 inches from the bottom seam.

Cut the second leg as follows:

  • 2 long strips measuring 3″ by 18″
  • 2 short strips measuring 3″ by 8″
  • 1 rectangle measuring 4″ by 7″

Cut the same pieces out of the first fabric :

Handles

  • 2 long strips measuring 3″ by 18″
  • 2 short strips measuring 3″ by 18″

Flap

  • 1 rectangle measuring 4″ by 18″

Sewing Instructions to sew a toddler backpack

Topstitch the seam

The first step is to topstitch the seam of the jean leg in a contrasting color. Using a BERNINA  Jeans foot # 8 makes the stitch very regular and helps with the tension control. I like going around the seam three times trying not to overlap my stitch lines to add a wild creative look to the stitching.

Toddler Backpack Tutorial - topstitching the seam

If the leg has any holes or blemishes you can secure them in the same ‘wild’ manner.

Our website bernina.com provides great information about our presser feet. Please click the link in our profile to get the details about our featured Patchwork feet.

Create the handles

Pin the jean handles with the calico handles right side together. Using a ½” seam allowance sew along three sides of each of the four handle sets.

Toddler Backpack - Using a ½″ seam allowance sew along three sides of each of the four handle sets

Sew the flap

Pin the jean and calico pieces for the flap right sides together. Sew around the perimeter leaving a 2″ gap for turning.

Toddler Backpack - Sew around the perimeter leaving a 2” gap for turning

Trim the seam allowance

Trim the seam allowance of each handle to 1/8″.

Toddler Backpack - Trim the seam allowance of each handle to 1/8″

Trim the seam allowance of the flap but leave it intact above the gap.

Toddler Backpack - Trim the seam allowance of the flap

Turn and topstitch

Turn and topstitch the handles and flap. I like to use the same principle of wild topstitching and go over the seams three times.

Toddler Backpack- wild topstitching

Attach the small handles

Place the small handles inside the bag through the bottom at the corners. Leave ½” out.

Toddler Backpack - Placing the small handles

Sew the bottom shut and trim the handles.

Toddler Backpack - Sew the bottom shut and trim the handles

Toddler Backpack - Sew the bottom shut and trim the handles.

Make a button hole

Using your machine buttonhole setting, make a buttonhole centered on the edge of the flap that fits the button you have chosen.

Toddler Backpack - make a buttonhole that fits the button you have chosen

Prepare the large handles

Cross the large handles over each other.

Toddler Backpack - Cross the large handles over each other

Sew across as shown above and trim ¼” from seam.

Attach the handles

Pin the handles to the top of the bag, lining the stitch line with the bag’s topstitching. Sew the handles on along the stitch line securely.

Toddler Backpack - Sew the handles on along the stitch line securely

Attach the flap

Repeat step 9 with the flap.

Toddler Backpack- attache the handles with a flap

Finish the handles

You can now finish the handles. If you are making this for a little girl you can knot the handle pieces.

Toddler Backpack - option to knot the handle pieces

Toddler Backpack tutorial - knotted handles as an option

If the child is a boy or is a little older/taller you can sew the handles together at different length depending on the child’s size. Keep in mind that the children like to have a snug fit, much snugger than for an adult.

Toddler Backpack - finished backpack

Sew on a button and the bag is ready to gift!

Toddler Backpack - Toddler Backpack - finished backpack

3 thoughts on “How to Sew a Toddler Backpack

    1. Mine is 9″ wide at bottom of pack and 6″ wide at top. The top edge is the bottom of the pants leg. All other measurements are per OP. See my comment below for mods.

  1. I just made one for my granddaughter and modified it a bit. I added a tether for wander control and a chest strap to assure shoulder straps stay put.

    I have photos, but can’t figure out how to posts them here.

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