Make the DIY drawstring backpack casings
Press the casing 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″.
After that, press 1/2″ more towards the wrong side. The total hem allowance is 3/4″.
Hemming the casing sides
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.
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
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…
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.
Stitch the top hem down close to the pressed edge. Repeat for pocket #2.
Press the angled sides of the pockets 1/2″ towards the wrong side.
Set aside the pockets for the moment.
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.
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
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.
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.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.