drawstring backpack with water bottle and soccer ball

Sew an Easy DIY drawstring backpack

Make the DIY drawstring backpack casings

Press the casing hem

pressing top hem

First, press the top raw edge of the bag pieces 1/4″ towards the wrong side. You can see I serged the raw edge first. It’s not necessary, but it does make it a little easier to press the 1/4″.

pressing top hem

After that, press 1/2″ more towards the wrong side. The total hem allowance is 3/4″.

Hemming the casing sides

making casing hem on diy drawstring backpack
folding once….

Make a 1/2″ clip 1 1/2″ down from the top raw edge of bag pieces. So, you’ll make 4 clips total.

Fold the short sides of the casing towards the center of the bag twice.

stitching casing hem on diy drawstring backpack

Stitch the casing sides from the top to the bottom where the clip is. Make sure to backstitch right at the clip along the hem. Sew the other 3 short sides of the casing.

Finish the top hem

top hem on diy drawstring backpack

To finish up the casing, fold the pressed hems back towards the wrong side and stitch from the wrong side close to the pressed edge. Hem the casing on your second backpack piece.

Next we need to make the pockets and the loops.

Make the pockets and loops for your easy DIY drawstring backpack


Is there any kind of thing to sew that cannot be made better with pockets? All right, my enthusiasm betrays me…

pressing top hem of pocket for diy drawstring backpack

Grab your pocket pieces, and fold 1/2″ towards the wrong side of the short straight top edge. Press the fold, then press back 1/2″ more towards the wrong side. For you math folks, that’s 1″ of hem allowance.

pressing top hem of pocket for diy drawstring backpack

Stitch the top hem down close to the pressed edge. Repeat for pocket #2.

where to sew top hem of pocket

Press the angled sides of the pockets 1/2″ towards the wrong side.

pressed sides of pocket on diy drawstring backpack

Set aside the pockets for the moment.


making loops for diy drawstring backpack

Fold the short ends of the loops in half, right sides together. Stitch down the longer sides of the loops with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

pressing loops for diy drawstring backpack

Use your loop turner to turn the loops right side out. Roll the loops in your fingers so that the seam is in the middle of the loop. Give it a good press and repeat for your second loop.

Set aside the loops.

Sew the side seams

where to sew side seams of diy drawstring backpack

Stack the DIY drawstring backpack pieces right sides together. Sew the side seams with a 1/2″ seam allowance, starting from the bottom of the bag going up towards the edge of the casing. Don’t stitch past the casing, but do backstitch as you near the casing.

Use your scissors to trim the seam allowance right near the casing. I like it to round towards the casing.

trimmed seam allowance

Finish the seams as you’d like. I serged mine, but you can zigzag the seam or use pinking shears if you’d rather. Next come the pockets.

11 thoughts on “Sew an Easy DIY drawstring backpack”

  1. There are two places in the tutorial that you say put the backpack pieces wrong sides together to sew the side seams – I’m assuming you mean put the right sides together? The pictures show the fabric right sides together.

  2. Hi Elizabeth,
    I printed out the pattern; however, I don’t know how to figure the size to cut the fabric per pattern piece. I’m new to sewing by pattern.
    I’m excited to sew this for my soccer granddaughter!
    Thanks much,
    DIana Cokeley

  3. Can you guide me to your tutorial – brand new sewer here! I signed up and have the pattern for the drawstring bag but would love to see your tutorial.

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