School book bag tutorial

My little boy started school this Autumn, I had everything organised, shirts, trousers, tie, water bottle etc. Everything except a book bag, which I believed needed to be one with the school logo on. However on school start date the bags were out of stock and not due in for several weeks, this is when I found out the book bag didn’t need to be the official school bag with a logo on.

I studied my little girls official school book bag and realized it was a pretty simple pattern and construction so I decided to make one!

In this post I am going to show you how to make your own book bag.



Outer fabric, I used laminated cotton – 50cm

Lining fabric, I used woven cotton – 45cm. You will need 75cm if you have a one way print that needs to be cut down the length of the fabric rather than across. ( I wanted upright Avengers popping out of the top of the bag 🙂

Decovil light interlining – 50cm

Velcro – 30cm

Walking foot –  if you are sewing with laminated fabric


How to make:

1. Cut a rectangle of each outer, lining and interlining fabric measuring 40cm (bag width) x 74cm. Cut a narrow rectangle from outer fabric measuring 48cm x 6cm. Cut a stripe of Decovil interlining measuring 2cm x 48cm.


2. To make the handle place the Decovil interlining on the back of the fabric 1cm away from the outer edge of the strap. I found the bond to be good and quick with this type of interlining and was therefore able to apply it to the back of the laminated fabric without melting or affecting the laminate. I would recommend you run a small text on a piece of scrap especially if you are applying to a laminate or coated fabric.

Apply the large rectangle of Decovil to the back of the main fabric of the bag.


3. Fold the 1cm edge of fabric over the Decovil and bring the other edge of the fabric over the top folding in 1cm. Clip to hold.


4. Ideally using a walking foot attachment stitch along the length of the strap to hold down the folded edges. Stitch a second line on the opposite edge of the strap.


5. Apply the strap to the bag – mark a chalk line 14cm down from one short edge of the outer fabric, place the strap at this line on one side of the bag. Match the end of the strap to the edge of the bag at this point.


6. Repeat this process at the other side of the bag. The strap is longer than the bag width and will appear loose in the middle. This will form the handle. Mark a point 11cm from the side of the bag along the strap, repeat on other side.


7. Stitch over the stitch lines on the strap to the 11cm point to secure the strap to the bag. If you are sewing with laminate use the chalk line position to ensure the strap remains straight while you stitch. If you are using a non laminated fabric you can pin the strap in place.


8. If you have woven name tags you might want to stitch one to the lining before you take this next step. Place the lining rectangle right sides together over the bag outer. Stitch around all edges using a 1.5 cm seam allowance. Leave a small gap in the lower outer edge.


9. Trim the Decovil away from the seam and clip bulk away from the corners before turning to the right side.


10. If possible press the rectangle. I found it possible to press this with the cotton side up.


11. Place the Velcro (furry side) in the centre of the upper edge of the book bag approximately 1cm away from the finished edge. Stitch through all layers.


12. Fold the bag so that the strap forms the upper edge of the bag. Fold the lower edge up and measure to check that both sides are folded up equally. Measure from the lower edge to find the corresponding position for the other side of the Velcro. Draw a chalk line to follow for stitching or if using non laminate pin the Velcro in place.


13. Use clips to hold the edges of the book bag together. Stitch through all thicknesses at both sides. Stitching closed the turn through opening at the same time.




Add books and send to school with little person. Wipe clean as required!



Please follow and like us:

Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

1 Comment

  1. Selena on October 31, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    I wish I had found this an hour ago! much simpler than my effort, and interfacing didn’t occur to me! bookmarking for next time!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.