Monday, September 5, 2011

Sleeping Beauty Toddler Backpack

Little Louisa started preschool last week! Time flies. For her big first day I made her the Toddler Backpack by Made by Rae (although it technically wasn't finished til her third day).

I used Heather Ross Far Far Away II. The main panels are Roses in pink and orange, with Sleeping Beauty appliqued to the front with a tight zigzag stitch. (Sleeping Beauty I've been hoarding, but the roses I bought just for this project from Fresh Modern Fabric on etsy.)

Although the FFA fabric is a heavier weight linen/cotton blend, I still used a medium-heavy weight interfacing for extra stiffness.

The bottom panel and straps are a hot pink canvas. I used fusible fleece for the strap padding and bottom panel. And I lined it with a solid purple lightweight cotton from my stash.

As far as modifications, I added two side pockets, one with an elastic top and gathered bottom, to hold a water bottle. I used the side panel pattern piece to cut the pocket and pocket lining, just shortened it an inch or two and widened it by about 4 inches. The slip pocket on the other side is the same height, but I didn't add any extra width.

Inspired by this suggestion on flickr, I followed the instructions for lining the backpack from the Penguin Backpack pattern in the oliver + s book Little Things to Sew. I also added the interior pocket more or less following that pattern.

The nice thing is there are no seams to cover up with this technique and it looks pretty tidy inside.

However, next time I probably won't bother with the lining at all. It is nice to have the pocket inside there, but I don't think it was worth the extra trouble. It also requires you to handstitch the lining to the zipper panel at the end.

I didn't have have any trouble with my sewing machine (a basic Singer Esteem) using a size 14 needle. I went very slowly while attaching all the layers at the top (sewing through the straps, handle, piping, etc.) and around the corners through the padded bottom panel.

However, I couldn't get it to sew the strap adjusters on at all, so I had to hand stitch those on. The hems on my nylon straps looked messy, so I burnt the ends lightly with a lighter to seal them off.  (Unfortunately I couldn't get pink webbing at Joann so I went with black so they wouldn't look dirty right away.)

The good news is, she loves it almost as much as she's loving preschool!


  1. Beautiful backpack! I love the lining, but it's also good to know that you wouldn't do it again. :) Looks fabulous.

  2. oh my goodness, SO CUTE!! I just love it. Great fabric combinations there, some of my favorites ever! :)

  3. This is the best backpack I've ever seen! Such beautiful detail, it's so gorgeous! Cool thing that you used FFA2 fabrics, love that line and the fabric weight :)

  4. WOW! This is darling!! I just purchased this pattern and can't wait to make it. I was concerned bc the pattern states using medium to heavy weight fabric so it holds it's weight and perhaps even line it with canvas,, but you mentioned you wouldn't line it again, so that is great to know! I love the HR fabric but I've never seen in person so I'm not familiar with its fabric weight, is it regular quilting cotton weight? I'm just wondering of that would work bc that is what I was going to use. Thanks!

  5. Hi Emily! Heather Ross FFA fabric is heavier than quilting cotton. It's a cotton/linen blend so it's a little bit heavy but not very stiff. I also used a fusible medium weight interfacing on all my pattern pieces. And the bottom is canvas. I think it would be a little floppy if you just use the HR fabric on it's own. My actual lining (in purple) was mostly for looks, so the inside of the backpack looked nice. It wasn't to add support like a canvas lining would... that's why I used the interfacing. If you don't make a lining like the one I did, you might want to get bias tape to cover the seams inside so it looks tidy. But for a quicker project, just zigzagging or surging the seams would still make a cute backpack! Good luck!

  6. Thanks Allie! This is very helpful :-)


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