I travel quite a bit for my day job and occasionally have time for a little sightseeing on the side during those trips. When that happens, it’s handy have a bag that’s just for day tripping, something that can hold a jacket, sunglasses and my wallet without taking up a lot of extra room in my suitcase. A drawstring backpack is the perfect solution. I’ve made a couple so far, including one for my son, and they come together in no time.
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For one backpack you’ll need:
- 1/2 yard of fabric for the outer bag
- 1/2 yard of fabric for the lining
- (Optional) 1/8 yard contrast fabric for the drawstring casing
- 4 yards of paracord for the drawstring
- Two 3/8″ grommets
- Grommet setting pliers (You can get by without them, but they make setting the grommets SO much easier)
Cut out the following pieces:
- Two 16″ x 16″ squares for the outer bag
- Two 16″ x 16″ squares for the bag lining
- Two 15-3/4″ x 2-1/4″ strips for the drawstring casing
Hem the drawstring casing by folding in and pressing the short ends by 1/4″, then 1/4″ again to enclose the raw edges. Stitch the hems.
Fold the casing pieces in half, right sides together and matching the long edges. Press the pieces.
Layer together an outer bag piece, casing piece and lining piece. Start by laying an outer piece on your work surface, right side up. Lay one of the casing pieces on top, centering it on the outer piece and lining up the raw edges. The outer bag fabric should extend about 1/2″ beyond the casing on either side.
Lay a lining piece on top, right side down, with the casing sandwiched between the outer bag and the lining.
Stitch the pieces together with a 1/2″ seam. Repeat for the remaining outer bag, casing and lining piece.
Press the two assembled pieces with the casing facing the lining.
Pin the assembled pieces together, right sides facing. (The two lining pieces should be pinned together, and the two outer bag pieces should be pinned together.)
Sew all the way around the assembled pieces, leaving about 3″ at the center bottom of the lining open for turning. Make sure you don’t catch the ends of casing pieces in the side seams.Turn the bag right side out through the opening and press, then hand stitch or machine stitch the opening closed.
Tuck the lining down into the bag and press again. Topstich around the top edge of the bag about 1/4″ below the seam.
Lay the bag out flat, making sure bottom corners of the lining are pushed all the way into the corners of the bag. Measure in 2″ from the corner points and draw a diagonal line across the bottom corners of the bag.
Stitch along the marked lines.
Center a grommet in each of the bottom corners and follow the directions on your setting tool to attach them through the corners.
Cut the paracord into two pieces, each 72″ long. Paracord frays a LOT. To keep it in check, wrap a piece of tape around the cord at the point you need cut, then make your cut through the middle of the tape so each cut end is enclosed.
Run a large safety pin through one end about 1/4″ before the tape, and use it to thread the cord through one side of the casing, out the opposite end and back through the other side of the casing.
You should end up with both raw ends of the cord at one end of the casing, like this:
Repeat for the other cord, starting and ending on the opposite ends of the casing.
Thread the raw ends of the cord through the grommets and tie them together in a knot. Remove the tape, and melt the tips of the cord with a lighter to prevent fraying.