Wednesday, June 27, 2012

T shirt Backpacks

Yesterday we went to Cedar Point amusement park  for the day.  The day before, I thought it would be a good idea to make small lightweight T shirt backpacks to carry our stuff in.  Michaels crafts  has T shirts on sale for only $2.50 this week. We went Monday afternoon,  and picked out a couple of colors. I used some white Ts I already had on hand for the lining.  Total  cost for me to make TWO backpacks for the trip  was only $5 plus tax.

I started making these on the kitchen table, but then the Bachelorette came on, and I moved to the computer room. I mention that, because you will notice a change in my pictures.      Several years ago I bought the book,Generation T, 108 ways to transform a T-shirt, and found a pattern that was perfect to use for this project.

You will need to use an adult medium or large T to have enough material for the backpack.   On one of the T Shirts measure 13" across and 18" down.  I used a ball point pen and to mark where I needed to cut.

Cut out the rectangle shape through both layers of T shirt.  While you do not really need a 2nd T for the lining, the author of the book highly recommends it.  I recommend it too.  The backpack held up really well with the lining layer, and would have been too flimsy without.  If you chose to use a 2nd T shirt as a lining,  cut out the same size rectangle in the 2nd shirt.

Stack all 4 layers of fabric, with the the front pieces of the backpack on the inside.  

The book suggest hand sewing around 3 sides of the rectangle with a tight whipstitch.  While this is a fine way to do it, I just did not have the time.  I brought out my sewing machine and quickly stitched the 3 sides.    I turned out right side out to see how it would look in the picture above.  

 When the bag is inside out, fold down the top edge about 1". I just eyeballed, it turned out to be a pretty good width.  
Again the book suggested using a whipstitch.  I did it on the first bag while watching Emily go on her dates in Prague, but it took way too long.  I then decided to sew 2nd bags casing with my sewing machine.  Either way works, so do whatever way you prefer. 

What the bags looked like before the straps were added.  

To add the straps one of the first things you do is cut a small slit on the bottom corners of the bag through all 4 layers.  I thought that my slit was small, but later found out that it was actually too big.  That was not a problem though, because all I had to was add a few stitches. 

Using what is left of your T shirt, cut 2 strips the entire length of the T, keeping the shoulder seam intact. 

I just realized as I was writing this that I did not have a very good picture of this next step.  You will need to make 1 inch slits in the casing by the seam.  This is where  I do something different than the book.  I was not able to run the strap aound the entire casing, so I had to make 4 slits total.  I just made 2 on each side of the bag each about a 1/2 inch from the seam.  

Add the first strap all around the casing and have it come out on one side of the bag.  When you add the 2nd  strap it should come out on the opposite of the bag.  

This is what the bag will look like if the straps were added correctly. 

The last step is push the straps though the bottom slit that you cut, on the same side of the bag.  Double knot.  the strap.  If you find that there is too much leeway in with the strap, secure it by sewing a few stitches to secure it.   

We did not decorate our bags due to time, but these are perfect for adding  embellishment.  

The bags held up the entire day and were the perfect size and weight for a carrying all day.   An added bonus..  they should be machine washable.  I am not sure how, but Kara got her yellow backpack dirty.  

This post is being linked up to many of the parties on my linky party page.  Be sure to check it out here.  


  1. WOW! So simple and so cute!! Thanks so much for sharing at TWo Sasters!! I needed this inspiration for this weekend!!

  2. Oh, how great!! I love this! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  3. Love this! You are being featured tomorrow! Come stop by.
    Thank you for linking up to our Pinteresting Party.

  4. love this cute idea gonna try to make me a bag to take to work
    come see what I shared

  5. This is a great idea! How were the straps? Did you think they cut into your shoulders a little?

    1. They were actually quite comfortable. The T shirt material has a lot of give to it.

  6. This is such a great idea! I love that you used a t-shirt to make it. I'm featuring it tomorrow on my blog!


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