This is a tutorial on sewing backpack straps and it’s the second part of the Small Backpack Pattern sew along. If you landed here directly without seeing the first part of this sew along tutorial, you may want to go back and start the project from the beginning with Part 1: Small Backpack Pattern, for Small Budgets.
This is a technique of sewing backpack straps. It’s especially useful when you do not have enough fabric to make the handles in the same fabric as the bag. You can use these straps on totes, backpacks and cross body bags in leather, vinyl, Kraft-Tex, and fabric.
The first thing you may notice is that I’m not using D-rings as specified in the materials list for the tutorial. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get normal rectangular-style D-rings with the rounded sides and I could only find triangular rings and fully rectangular rings. You should use normal D-rings if you can. I would if I could. It really doesn’t matter though as long as you keep the hardware the same size and in the same color.
Step One: Sewing the outside zipper
The next step in the tutorial that needs to be done before we can attach the backpack straps and hardware is to create the back piece of the backpack along with the outside zipper. You will be working on the back pattern piece of the small backpack pattern.
For installing the outside zipper, I’m not going to repeat what has already being taught on the website, so for a fantastic tutorial on how to sew the outside zipper please watch this video on adding a zipper pocket to a bag or purse. Follow the drawing below the video to give you an idea on how to cut and install the pocket.
Step Two: How to make the backpack straps
Cut the full length of tape in half so that you will have 33″ of tape per strap. This will eventually make a 24″ strap.
Fold the tape in half lengthwise and iron to make a crease.
Use the crease you made with the iron to guide you. Fold each side to come to the middle of the tape.
Pin the ribbon and sew at 1/8″ on the ribbon edge. If you do not want the tape to show use a 1″ ribbon.
Step Three: Attaching the hardware to the backpack back
After sewing the cotton and ribbon together, make the tabs for the rings. You will need four in total. I used approximately two inches of cotton tape per tab.
I am using the cotton tape only and not the ribbon. If I used the ribbon as well, I don’t think my machine would be able to take all the layers when it comes time to put the backpack together.
At the bottom corners, place the rings and tabs one inch from the edge.
Note: I am using photos from the two backpacks I have made for the blog and video. I decided to change the design a little between the two version, so please follow the placements for the tabs that is shown on the pattern. When putting the backpack together, you will need enough space for the seam allowance and the foot to be able to sew next to the ring.
For the top rings, you will need to fold the strap over so the raw edge does not show. Cut the cotton tape 3/4″ from the stitching line and sew. I overlapped the edges. Sew as close to the rings as possible. Use a zipper foot if you want to get even closer.
Step Four: Adding the hardware to the straps
Place the ribbon side up.
Thread the strap through the ring.Fold one inch. Pin this end two inches from the ring. Sew the straps making a large X. Alternatively, you can use rivets or screws with a hole puncher as in this picture.
On the other end of the strap, thread the slider. Thread the strap through the first hole. Then pass the strap over the bridge to the other hole. Thread the lobster claw clasp.
To make this step easier, pull the strap away from the bridge. Insert the end of the strap through the first hole.Then over the bridge and through the other hole. Fold the end of the strap one inch and pin it about two inches from the slider. Sew the same way you did the other end creating a large X with the stitches or place a couple of rivets.
And there you have it. Next, I will show you how to make the applied pocket and how to finish the backpack. Until Next time!