Ready,Set,Go! ~ Little Artist Backpack

on June 18 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 36 Comments

Svetlana from s.o.t.a.k handmade and the the kokoon shop is here today with a Little Artist Backpack for all of your art needs on the go! We think this is a fun project kids will really appreciate; you’ll like the extra organization too, on your next big trip! Learn more about Svetlana in her introduction, and be sure to comment below for your chance to a new book or magazine!

Are you ready to make a Little Artist Backpack?!


  • ½ yard main fabric for the exterior (linen + cotton blend or decorator’s weight fabric works the best)
  • ½ yard fabric for the lining (regular quilter’s weight cotton)
  • Medium weight fusible interfacing
  • 2 magnetic snap closures (Velcro could also be used)
  • 2 strap adjusters (or 4 D-rings) for 1” straps

Step 1: Cutting Fabric and Interfacing
From the main (exterior) fabric cut:

      Two 12” x 12” squares for the front and back panel of the backpack


      One 6 “ x 12” rectangle for the flap


    One 9” x 12” rectangle for the pocket

From the lining fabric cut:
*! Really important!: Cut your straps before you cut any other parts of the lining!

      Two 3” x WOF (width of fabric) strips for the straps


      Two 12” x 12” squares for the front and back panel lining


    One 6 “ x 12” rectangle for the flap lining

From medium weight fusible interfacing cut:

      Two 12” x 12” squares


      One 6 “ x 12” rectangle


    Two 1 ½” x 42” long strips for the straps

Step 2: Making and Installing the Pocket
Fold the 9” x 12” rectangle of exterior fabric in half along the 12” side, right sides together. Sew along the open 12” edge.

Turn right side out, iron flat, and topstitch along what’s going to be the upper side of the pocket.

Get the front exterior panel (right side up) and place the pocket 1” from the bottom of the exterior panel. Pin and stitch along the bottom of the pocket.

Now let’s make slots for the pencils. Find the middle of the pocket, mark a line.

Starting at the middle line, measure and mark additional 3 lines each 1 ¼ “apart. Pin the pocket to the exterior fabric to ensure that it stays in place while sewing over the marked lines.

Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of stitching each slot. Now your pocket is finished!

Step 3: Making the Straps
Start by fusing the interfacing to the wrong side of your strap, fold the strap in half lengthwise and press.

Now open the strap and press each long side about ½” in again to make a 1” strap. Press the end edges about ½” in and pin in place. Topstitch.

Step 4: Attaching the Straps
Work with one strap at a time so their parts don’t get mixed up. Get the first strap, cut it in half. Now place the raw edge of the first half of the strap on top of the back panel of your backpack about 4.5” from the edge. Attach the other half of the strap to the bottom edge of the back panel 4.5” from the edge, too. Pin and stitch them in place, make sure to backstitch.

Attach the other strap the same way.

At this stage, I like to pin my straps securely to the back panel. This ensures that the straps will stay nice and straight as well as out of the way while sewing.

Step 5: Assembling the Exterior of the Backpack
Place the two main 12” x 12” exterior panels on top of each other (right sides together) and sew them together along the bottom side only. Please be sure to keep your straps out of the way so they don’t get caught in the stitching.

Now place the top edge of the flap on top of the top edge of the back panel (right sides together), stitch them together along the top.

Press all the seams open.

Step 6: Installing Magnetic Snaps to the Exterior Front Panel
Let’s first work with the front exterior panel. Measure out where to place your snaps, 3” from the side, 2” from the top. (Please refer to the picture.)

Mark on the other side as well, and install the snaps using the manufacturer’s instructions.

Please set the exterior panel aside now.

Step 7: Fusing Interfacing and Assembling the Lining
Using the manufacturer’s directions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of both main lining panels, as well as the flap lining.

Follow Step 5 to assemble the lining pieces the same way as you did with the exterior fabric.

Step 8: Installing Magnetic Snaps to the Lining of the Flap
Following Step 6, measure out where to place the snaps on both sides (refer to the following pictures).

Step 9: Assembling the Backpack
Place both the exterior panel as well as the lining panel on top of each other, right sides together; make sure to match the seams. (Exterior flap is on top of flap lining, exterior front on top of lining front…) Line up the seams and pin in place.

Now, you could leave your flap corners the way they are, but I prefer rounding them. This is how you can do it: take a CD, place in the corner of the flap you want to make rounded, trace, cut on the line and you have a perfectly rounded corner.

Do the same on the other side of the flap.

Stitch all the way around the pinned panels; be sure to leave about a 5” gap along one side of the back panel for turning the whole backpack right side out.

Clip the rounded parts of the flap, turn right side out through the opening and press.

Pin the opening closed.

Almost there! Now place the backpack panel on the flat surface lining side up.

Fold the front panel over the back panel, lining together, pin the sides and topstitch.

Step 10: Attaching Strap Adjustors
Attach strap adjustors (or 2 D-rings per each strap) to the top strap and stitch in place securely, backstitching couple of times.

Pull the bottom straps through the adjustors and YOU ARE DONE!

Congratulations! Fill the backpack with fun art supplies…

… And your child is ready to go.

This week you can win a copy of Where Women Create: Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women (May/June/July Volume 4 Issue 3), With Fabric & Thread by Joanna Figueroa or We Love Color: 16 Iconic Quilt Designers Create with Kona Solids Compiled by Susanne Woods.

Comment on any post this week to win, and learn more about the books in our June Book Giveaways post.

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36 Responses to Ready,Set,Go! ~ Little Artist Backpack

  1. Claire Jain says:

    This is just too precious! The little pencil slots are perfect 🙂

  2. Lynn says:

    Super cute – thank you!

  3. Christie S. says:

    Now that will keep them busy in the back seat.

  4. Pat S says:

    This is such a great idea, can’t wait to make it.

  5. bekah Bills says:

    Brilliant idea! Thanks.

  6. Jennie P. says:

    Is it weird that I’m an adult and I want one of these for myself? So cute!

  7. Christina G. says:

    My little artists would be thrilled with this!

  8. Gill says:

    So cute!
    My niece would love this!

  9. amorette says:

    so clever, and such a nice small silhouette for a little one to carry.

  10. hafza says:

    Easy to follow tutorial …thanks for sharing. Love it!!

  11. lee says:

    Thank you for a really nice tutorial!!

  12. Chris says:

    This would be a great idea for me to make for my cousins as gifts! thanks

  13. Theresa says:

    What a cute idea.

  14. jen says:

    so fun! LOVE this!

  15. Aristi says:

    Awesome tutorial! I so want to make it for my son!

  16. Mary says:

    This is adorable. I would have loved to have one as a kid – I was always hauling art supplies around… I’ll have to stash this idea away for when my little one gets older.

  17. Wendy Crim says:

    What a great tutorial. I think I’ll make this for my daughter to go visit her aunt. Just what we needed. Thank you!

  18. Christine Bolin says:

    That backpack is soo cute! I think all kids would love to have on.

  19. Mhairi says:

    What a brilliant idea. So quick to grab on the way out the door. Thanks for sharing the tutorial, this is definitely a great idea for gifts for children.

  20. Glenys says:

    I love the fabrics that was used!

  21. Kay says:

    This is great, I have a niece that will love this. Thank you for such a detailed tutorial too.

  22. Peggy Grow says:

    Awww… that is so cute! Also, an excellent tip about using the CD for rounding corners. I will remember that one.

  23. MarciaW says:

    We Love Color — think I would love that book. Where Women Create produces lovely picture books. With Fabric & Thread is probably full of sweet smaller projects…
    I like the way the pencil holders are made in this backpack.

  24. Casey says:

    What a fabulous idea! Thank you!

  25. Anshu says:

    This looks like something I can handle. And my daughter would love it. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Jen V says:

    I love this idea. My son’s Grandma paints outdoors & would be tickled to take him along with his own kit. Inspired!

  27. Carol says:

    This would be perfect for my grandsons! Great tutorial–thanks!

  28. Pamela Dungar says:

    great idea, good easy to follow instructions. I will be running one or three of these up for presents.

  29. Jodi says:

    Love this idea. Can’t wait to try it out.

  30. Fenna says:

    That is a really neat idea!

  31. Lorrie says:

    What a fun tutorial! Thanks for sharing, Svetlana.

  32. Love it! Perfect for my little budding artist. She has a crayon wallet I made her but it is not cutting it. She needs to be able to carry along more serious art supplies.

  33. Kelly says:

    what a great idea! we have a trip to disney planned in september, and i’m thinking this would be a perfect thing to make for that!

  34. VickiT says:

    What a cute idea for kids to carry all their supplies instead of shoved inside Momma’s already overflowing purse. Great tutorial also. Thank you.

  35. This is an awesome tutorial, and great idea! thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  36. Erin says:

    What a cute little bag and it would be perfect to keep all of the craft supplies together during our summer trips!

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