backpack for Anthony

My godchild is a freshly minted five-year-old. (Happy belated birthday Anthony!) I thought his birthday was in early July until my cousin/his older brother posted about it on Facebook in the middle of June. I’d started this backpack for him a month or two earlier, and sat it on the shelf when it had some issues. After sending a quick text with birthday wishes through his mom, I got the backpack down and started problem solving.

I used this toddler backpack tutorial as a starting point, but upped the measurements (14″x16″) to fit books and folders since he’s starting kindergarten in the fall.


I should have upsized the inner pocket…

I used two Alabama-era yard sale fabrics from my stash to make this backpack. My aunt requested a fabric that wouldn’t show a lot of dirt, so I went with gray and blue stripes for the outside and a comparable medium blue for the inside lining. I only had to buy two zippers, a couple of backpack strap adjusters, and a yard or so of heavy interfacing to complete the project.


taking shape. that interfacing was seriously stiff.

Now how did I make it more complicated? Upping the measurements gave me a longer circumference around the outside of the backpack. I used an 18″ zipper with 20″ zipper panels to make up for some of that, but when I pinned the center piece to the front/back it was still four inches or so short.

Sidenote: I love how they have you do the zipper panel in the tutorial. It looks so professional!

The solution wasn’t too hard, add a couple of inches to both sides of the zipper panel. I flipped the stripes in the added piece for a little design element.


Everything that could be was stitched twice or topstitched so it could stand up to the rigorous adventures of a five-year-old boy who spends a lot of time outside. Also, I ran out of matching blue thread on the last few seams.

Another complication that shelved the project: I wanted to add a front pocket with a zipper. It seemed too hard to wrap my mind around at first, but I used this backpack tutorial to do it. (That post has links to parts 1-3 at the bottom if you’re looking for the rest of the directions.)

I was thinking a smaller pocket at first, but the boyfriend said it should take up most of the front and it came out looking good.


Adding topstitching around the front seam gave the pocket a better shape.

I used bias tape from Kathy’s mom’s stash to hide the raw edges of the pocket since I didn’t want to have to figure out how to line it. I ironed on some interfacing to support the 8″ zipper before centering it on top and inserting it like a welt pocket zipper.


The straps were black webbing I’d bought to make Anthony a tool belt, but never used.


All in all, I quite like it. I wanted to add details that made it look like a store-bought backpack without having random cartoon characters and plastic “fabric” that tears halfway through the year. I do hope that it stands up to the tests Anthony puts it through and it lasts at least a year or two.


Next time on the blog: the backpack I made for me!


3 thoughts on “backpack for Anthony

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