Monday, April 12, 2010

T-shirt to backpack

My daughter gets to attend our local zoo camp this year, and I was looking for an idea for a bag for her. Last year our Zoo offered string packpack for about $5 to the campers.

Here is an idea of what last years looked - I think last year they were black with the zoo logo.

Well I liked them - but I wanted to see what I could come up with. And this is the result.
** I do not know if this is an orginal idea - so I hope I don't step on any toes :) **

It uses her shirt from last year - which she is outgrowing, and will be useable for camp. Of course since I couldn't decide which twill tape to use - I spent more than buying the other backpack - Oh well

Supplies needed:
An old shirt
Your choice for the straps - I used one roll brown twill tape and one roll camo twill tape (both from Joann's)
 and usual sewing supplies.

Supplies before - I sewed the two tapes to together so they look like one.

First cut off the sleeves. I know one this style it will make the top a little smaller than the bottom - but once the backpack is in use you really can't tell. Also cut off the neckline using the lower edge of the neckline as your guide - and cut from the open sleeve hole to the other open sleeve hole.

I realized once I cut off the sleeves - if I even up the sides and open up the sleeve - it would make a great pocket on the inside of the bag. 

So I "serged" the egdes. I have a stitch on my machine that does a mock serge stitch - which I used for most of my seams. When I sewed the pocket down - I turned the serge edges under to sew them down.

Here is the pocket pinned in. Remember when you pin - leave room to do your casing at the top of the drawstring (this picture I didn't leave enough room and had to redo.) You will need up to 2 inches at the top for the casing. I did the pocket at this point because it will be easier to line things up before you sew together.

 Here is the pocket sewn down with a couple of lines of stitching to make three small pockets. They aren't very deep - but will work for a couple of small items. Also note - this picture is correct in how far down the pocket needs to be.

Now put the right sides of the shirt together and sew up the sleeve holes.

Before sewing the casing together - you will have to plan for four button holes to allow you feed the straps through the casing. I made them about 1 inch long and put them about 2 1/4" down from the top. This way the button holes are on the outside of the bag - and they will go one on each side on the side seam on both sides.

Here is the button holes finished on one side.

Here is the start of the casing. You don't need to leave an opening on the inside - as you will be threading the straps through the sides from the outside.

Here is the casing done. Unfortunately since the printing of the shirt goes up to the neckline - I do lose the top part of the design - This is also a child size XS - so I didn't have alot of room either.

Next we are threading the straps. The twill tape came in 3 yd rolls so I was able to use 1 1/2 yds of each strap. I took one strap and threaded in one side and made it go al the way around till it came out the other buttonhole on the same side I started on - if you look the in the pictures - both ends are coming out of one side. You will do this on the other side - taking care when you are crossing the straps on the other side.

Here both straps are in.

Now to finish the bottom and gussets. First I sewed the bottom together, with right side of the bag together.

Then I turned bag right side out to make a gusset. This will be confusing - but I hope the picture will help. I want the straps to go into this triangle pocket you see above - that way when I sew the triangle, the straps will be sewn in.

Here is the straps "going into" the pocket. You will grab these from the inside and make straight seam that will catch the ends.
As you see how these are sewn I am making the gusset by matching the bottom to the side seam and sewing straight line to make a triangle edge. Most of this will be cut off to make the ends cleaner - but will also hold the straps. I did sew a couple of times over - to make sure they don't move.

When you turn the bag right side out - you see the straps coming out of the side and bottom. you also made the bag a little wider.

To cinch the top you pull both sets of straps and to open you pull the hole open.

I think this a great reusing project and will be a great reminder of various camps. 

Have fun sewing. I would love to see if anyone tries this.

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