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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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