Friday, May 20, 2011

Ruffled Knapsack Tutorial

** Thanks for coming to check out this tutorial!  I hope you have lots of fun with it :)  However, if you're feeling less-than-crafty, I've done all the hard work for you! You can go check out my Etsy shop and buy one ready made!**

Again I spent the day doing something other than packing like I should be. I think it was worth it…


A drawstring knapsack with the cutest little ruffles.

Want to make your own? Here’s how:

You will need:
(1) 10 in. by 24 in. piece of canvas or other sturdy material
(3)  2 in. by 15-20 in. strips of contrasting fabric
(2) grommets (and a grommet tool)
(2) pieces of 44 in. long cotton or nylon cord (you will need to fit 2 strands of cord through the grommet, make sure they’ll fit)

* These measurements are for a toddler sized knapsack.  haha… don’t try and fit into this one yourself : )

DSCN3147        DSCN3148
Fold canvas in half (hamburger style) wrong sides together and crease the fold with your iron like so.

Cut three 2 in. by 15-20 in. strips of contrasting fabric.  Cut one of the long ends with pinking shears to prevent fraying.

Using the longest stich on your sewing machine, and light tension, sew about 1/4 in. from the straight edge on all three strips.

Pin both short ends of first strip 1.5 in. from the center fold, making sure the straight edge is closest to the fold and the fabric is right-side-down. (I learned on my THIRD ruffle that it was easiest to draw a line in pencil and pin the ruffle to line up with it.)

Pull the top thread on each side to gather the fabric. Once the tread is taught, tie the two strings at each end so the treads don’t slip when you move the fabric.

Spread out the ruffle so it is evenly disbursed across the canvas and pin in place.

Sew the ruffle down using a seam allowance a little less than 1/4 in (don’t forget to change the stich length and tension on your sewing machine back to your normal settings).

Remove pins, fold ruffle down toward the fold and pin down.

Topstitch the ruffle down to hold it in the right direction and better secure it. Remove pins and pick out the stitch used to gather the ruffle.

Repeat with the next two ruffles, only attach them 1.25 in. from the first ruffle instead of 1.5 in.

After all three ruffles are attached, your bag will look like this.

Pin the fabric together (folded at crease) with wrong sides together. Make sure to pin ruffles down so they don’t get caught when you sew the sides.  Start seam 2 in. from the top, and using a 1/4 in seam allowance, sew all the way to the bottom fold. Repeat on the other side.

Turn bag inside out, push our corners and sides and pin together. Sew both sides with a 3/8 in. seam allowance.

When turned right-side-out, your bag should resemble this picture.

While bag is inside-out, snip to the seam, 2 in. from the top where you started the side seam.

It should look like this.

Fold the flap in, so the raw edge meets the side seam, and then over once more so  the folded edge is even with the side seam. iron down and repeat with all four corners.

Top stich the edge in place.

Fold the top edges over 1/4 in. and iron down.

Then fold down about 1 in. so the folded top edge covers the snipped edge of the side seam and iron in place.

Pin down corners, and along the top, so the fabric will stay in place. See how the top is folded over the snipped side seam?

Sew all the way around the top, using a 7/8 in. seam allowance, to create a sleeve for your drawstrings.
Almost done!

Pull the bottom ruffle away from the corners and pin the corners in place.

Sew diagonally across the corners to form a triangle on each side.  Sewing complete!

Add a grommet in each corner. Follow the instructions on your grommet tool.

Thread one cord through the front sleeve, and then back through the other sleeve in the other direction. You should have a loop on one side, and two ends on the other side. Repeat with the other cord, starting on the opposite side, so the you have a loop and two ends on each side.

Thread both ends through the grommet on the corresponding side and tie a know in the end. The knot should be bigger than the hole in your grommet.

And that’s it! Easy right?

When you pull the cord on both sides of the bag, the top will cinch and the cords will form the straps.

I have to say, the ruffles were the hardest and most time consuming part, but SO worth it!

And how bright and cute is that? Not that she needs any more color added to her wardrobe today….


Good news is: she loves it!

The better news? I made two.  One for my little lady and one for a lucky winner.  To enter my very first giveaway, go to this post, and follow the directions! Good luck!

 I'm sharing this project at:
The Train to Crazy
The Shabby Chic Cottage
Chic on a Shoestring
Naptime Crafters
Tatertots and Jello
The Shabby Nest
Be Different Act Normal
Thrifty Nifty Things
Running with Glitter
So I Married a Craft Blogger


The Webers said...

I LOVE this!!! I'm making one for Clarissa AND for a primary bag!!! You are soooo creative!!! I couldn't figure out how to enter the contest, but I LOVE the bag!!!

Good luck packing!!

Carol Green said...

Can I just borrow the model?

Katherines Corner said...

I actually said out loud ( I'm alone in the room) n"How Cute" before I'd even read your wonderful tutorial. Love it and that model, well... cutie pie!I enjoyed my visit to your lovely blog. I hope you'll stop by Katherines Corner and leave a comment, and maybe even enter the latest giveaway. Hugs!

Kelly said...

So I love this! I really think that I'm going to make one of these soon....
I'd love it if you linked this to the Glitter link party!

Tanya @ Greetings From the Asylum said...

My daughter would love a bag like this! I just put it on my list of things to make! Thanks for sharing! I am your newest follower. I would love it if you came over to Greetings From the Asylum and followed me too!

Skye O. said...

Saw your bag featured on ucreate!! Way to go Marie!! Super cute!

Mary Beth said...

This is so cute! Thanks for sharing!

Dacia said...

That is just so darling! What an awesome tutorial too. Thanks for the blog visit and comment love :)

household sapper said...

so, so so cute!! LOVE it!

abby o said...

You made Ucreate! way to go Marie! Super cute as always. I bet she loves it. I think Ian needs one for all his action heroes...

abby o said...

p.s. is it groundhog day?

casserole said...

This is SOOO cute!! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Anonymous said...

This is to cute and I love your color choices.

Ady said...

That is the cutest rucksack ever!! Thanks for sharing.

Cathy said...

This is the cutest bag that I have seen- I can't wait to make a few - great idea for birthday presents.
Thanks for the idea.

Kelly @ Run With Glitter said...

Hi! I wanted to let you know that you are the Friday Spotlight this week on the Glitter Blog!

Amy (naptimecrafters) said...

Adorable! I'm featuring you today at

Melissa said...

This is so cute! Thanks for the tutorial - now it will be super simple to make one :)

{nifty thrifty things} said...

That is such a cute idea! Love it!!
Thank you so much for linking up to {nifty thrifty sunday}!
I hope to see you again tomorrow!

Stay Sew Creative said...

This is so cute! What a great idea!

ecb said...

Thanks for the tutorial and the inspiration. I just made one of these as a gift for my cousin's little girl. I'll photograph and blog it and post the link sometime soon. Thanks again. VERY cute.

Amy (naptimecrafters) said...

I'm featuring you tomorrow as a Friday Fav at

Tanya said...

Thanks for the great project. I made one last night to use as a birthday gift. Love it!

V said...

Added this to a blog post I wrote and cited you: Thank you for blogging some great crafts!