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Sew a simple bookbag

I started blogging in 2007 at, and more recently, at I mostly love to sew but also love to use a lot of hot glue.

Go back to school in DIY style

Out with backpacks and in with simple, old-school bookbags! Check out this pattern for a stylish, trendy bookbag sure to please the hip student in your life.

Go back to school in DIY style

You will need these supplies to make this bag:

  • Sewing machine
  • 1 yard heavyweight fabric (outer)
  • 2 yards lighter-weight fabric (lining, straps, pockets, appliqued initial)
  • Heat 'n Bond Lite (to bond the appliqued initial)
  • Thread, scissors, measuring tape, marking pen, pins
  • Iron, ironing board


  • 1 – 14" polyester zipper
  • Embellishment

Step one:

Cut out pieces from outer fabric --

  • 2 – 16" x 20" (outside)

Cut from lining fabric --

  • 2 – 16" x 20" (lining)
  • 2 – 6.5" x 26" (straps)
  • 1 – 3.5" x 11" (zipper pouch – top)
  • 1 – 4" x 11" (zipper pouch – bottom)
  • 1 – 7" x 11" (inside pocket)

Step two:

Calculate how big you want your initial applique. On my bag, I used an 8" x 10" square to cut out the letter "K." (If an initial doesn't work for you, you might consider a shape such as a heart or star). Cut out applique and iron Heat 'n Bond to the wrong side. Remove paper backing, center on front of bag and iron on. Stitch. If you want to further embellish the front, now is the time.

Step three:

Fold each of the straps in half, lengthwise. Press. Open and fold each raw edge into the center (clearly visible at your press line). Press raw ends in and then refold along center line and press, again. Stitch along both edges and in the middle, for stability.

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