Ten Steps to Sewing your own Rucksack

Recently I got the invitation to take part in a blogger craft competition held by Hillary’s (Find out more here!)  to create something out of their beautiful fabric. As you may remember they recently allowed me to go to Grand Designs Live.

I was given a choice of four lovely fabrics to work with, I choose the Rayna Apple Fabric a beautiful, green and grey fabric with a Orla Kiely feel.

The brief was to create whatever you wanted with a metre of the blind fabric. After much deliberation I decided to make a rucksack, I’ve really caught the rucksack bug this year. I find it so much easier to carry everything around town and have the use of both of my hands with a backpack on, who knew it would be such a revelation!

I used an old rucksack for inspiration and for a bit of help when it came to structure and then designed the bag from there. I wanted something that would be easy and quick for all sewing abilities to make, as well as a bag that had some sophistication to it!

I’ve kept it to ten easy steps, with only six pieces of fabric. The only stitch I’m using is the generic running stitch on my sewing machine.

What You Will Need:


  • 1 Metre Square of the Hillary’s Rayna Apple Material
  • Dark Grey Bias Binding (I picked mine up in HobbyCraft)
  • Dark Grey thread  (I’m using Gütermann Colour 93)
  • Tape Measure
  • Sewing Machine
  • Pinking Shears
  • Scissors
  • Pins.

Step one:

Measure and Cut out your pieces.


Measure out your pieces, be sure to decide how you want the pattern to run along your bag, I decided to have the pattern running vertically down my rucksack.

Cut out your pieces with pinking shears to give neat edges and avoid fraying.

This rucksack is made up of 6 pieces. The front and back pieces are slightly different sizes to give your bag some depth, the smaller of the two pieces is your front piece.

You will also need to cut two long pieces for the straps, a small rectangle for the front pocket and a semi-circular piece with three straight sides to become the flap for the opening.

I have added an inch/4cm to all measurements for a seam allowance.


– Front Piece 1 – Medium Rectangle.  

Width: 14in/36cm Length: 16in/41cm

– Back Piece 2 – Large Rectangle

Width: 15in/39cm  Length: 17in/43cm

– Pocket Piece 3 – Small Rectangle

Width: 7in/18cm Length: 9in/23cm


– Flap Piece 4 – Semi Circle with three straight sides.

Width (at widest point): 9in/23cm  Length (longest point): 9in/23cm

Three straight sides approx 10cm/4in each in length


– Straps x 2 Pieces 5 and 6 – Long and thin.

Width: 5in/13cm Length: 28in/71cm*

*Strap length is determined by your own preference so cut pieces longer then adapt. 28in/71cm is the length I used.

Step Two:

Sew your pocket (Piece 3) onto the front piece of the bag (Piece 1).

It’s much easier to sew your pocket on first to avoid having to struggle to do it later.

First lay Piece 1 on a flat surface, right/patterned side up. Place Piece 3 right side up onto the centre of Piece 2. Align the bottom of P3 about 2cm up from the bottom of P1.

Fold under the seam allowance on P3 and use a neat top stitch along three sides to create a pocket.



Step Four:

Make your straps.

Take one of your long strap pieces and fold it in half, right sides together.

Stitch along the long side, turn inside out and press.

Repeat the process with the second strap.




Step Five:

Sew the two main pieces together to make the main bag compartment.

Pin P1 to P2 right sides together. As P2 is larger than P1 be sure to align all of the sides.

Add a tuck on both sides, 5cm from the bottom of the bag.



Then add two tucks, 10cm apart at the centre bottom of bag. These tucks alongside the side tucks will allow your bag to expand when you put things inside it. 

Pin one end of the straps into the bottom of each corner. Make sure your straps are lying horizontally.


Sew around three sides of the bag. Add extra reinforcement where the straps are joined.



Step Six:

Add a bias binding opening for the drawstring.

Cut a 3cm slit down the front centre of the bag at the opening. Add and sew bias binding to each side of the slit to make a neat opening for the drawstring.  




Fold and sew a long length of bias binding to make a drawstring.

Step Seven:

Fold over the top of the bag and sew to create a tube for the drawstring.

Add the drawstring, fold the material over about 4cm to create a tube and sew.


Step Eight:

Fabric origami and adding the straps.

With the bag the right way round, hold either side of the opening. Fold in to create a diamond shape. Pin the top diagonals, then sew along the diagonal line around 10 cm in length.




Take the straps and measure them to the length you want. If you want to be fancy and add in the ability to change the length of the strap then add that in now.

Ensure the straps aren’t twisted and sew to the straight line at the top of the bag, reinforce the strap sewing too.



Step Nine:

Sew on the flap.

First fold under the seam allowance on the semi circular section of the flap and sew.


Fold under the three straight sides and sew onto the top of the bag. Sew through the straps and the diagonal lines to make the flap opening.


Step Ten: 

Finishing touches.

Knot the ends of the bias binding drawstring and cut off any excess threads.


Fill your bag with beautiful things,then put on your bag and be the envy of everyone you know!




One thought on “Ten Steps to Sewing your own Rucksack

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *