I’m super excited for how this sewing project turned out! It was nearing Christmas and I was still trying to figure out what on Earth I could get for one of my little nephews. He’s almost three years, and he’s pretty typical in what he likes: superheroes, cars, etc. In a sense, he’s pretty easy to buy for, but he also has a lot of different toys and clothes already. I also had a pretty tight budget to stick to this year. I was wandering around the fabric store one day, just trying to think of something I might be able to make. This time of year, the standard seems to always be a no-sew fleece blanket, but I already made him a blanket last year.
He’s really into Power Rangers right now, and I was lucky enough to find ONE bolt of Power Rangers fabric. Still, I was left wondering what the heck I could make that might be a little useful to a toddler. I sat down to flip through the pattern books, and realized I had previously bought Simplicity 1388, which is a sewing pattern for a backpack. Perfect! It would be great for my spending budget as well because I already had most of the supplies on hand. I chose to do view A because it was the most basic and practical for carrying toys, snacks, blankets, clothes, etc.
- Main fabric – Power Rangers cotton
- Contrast fabric – Navy canvas
- 1″ Red Nylon strapping
- Dritz 1″ Strap adjusters
- 12″ & 22″ zippers
Additional Supplies not pictured/required:
- Pellon Wonder-Under
- Duck canvas
- Pellon Flex Foam
- Lining Fabric
Based on the dimensions, I was a bit worried that the backpack would be too large for a toddler, but it actually looks like a nice size for him. There were some modifications that I wanted to make, so I pretty much just used the pattern for the sizing of the pieces, and figured out the rest on my own.
I wanted to make sure the backpack had enough structure and shape, so I decided to underline all of my pattern pieces with the duck canvas. The pattern called for interfacing and fleece, but I wanted to keep my cost down by using materials I already had. I also feel that the canvas gave the cotton more body. I used the Pellon Wonder-Under to fuse the cotton and canvas together to function as a single layer.
One of the things that bothered me about the pattern, was the straps. It is designed to just use nylon webbing/strapping but I thought that sounded uncomfortable and cheap looking. I instead decided to make cushioned straps like a regular backpack, and use the nylon strapping to keep them adjustable. I also opted for these plastic strap adjusters instead of the thinner metal adjusters required in the pattern. Using the Pellon Flex Foam creates a nice padded strap without making them too heavy or stiff.
I’m so glad I decided to make my own straps, because it really takes the level up another notch. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how the backpack turned out! At first, I was really having trouble getting my curved seams to lay flat, even with plenty of notching and pressing. I was about to settle, but being the ridiculous perfectionist that I am, I opened up the lining and notched and pressed the heck out of it, and it looks way better!