Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ruffle Backpack Tutorial

This is only one box of ruffled lace that was given to me by a friend. She had collected all this lace because she made fabric scrapbook covers. I knew I could think up something to do with all this lace. I have several ideas but the first one I came up with is a ruffled lace backpack. I made a trial one a few weeks ago. There were a few things I wanted to work out differently. So I made two more which I like much better. From the pictures they look about the same. But on these I boxed out the bottoms and I strung the straps so the opening closed more efficiently. And I decided to take some pictures of the process so I could try my hand at writing a tutorial. So here goes.

Supplies:15" X 34" outside fabric (I used a polyester heavyweight twill)

2 pieces 17" X 3" same as outside fabric for strap casings

15" X 34" lining fabric (I used a floral cotton)

4 yards of cording for straps

And an assortment of pre-ruffled laces at least 15 inches long. I used about 14 pieces of varying widths.

Start by sewing the lace in overlapping rows onto the front of the 15"x34" outside fabric. Make a mark at the 17" halfway point of the piece and then make a mark 2 1/4" up from the halfway point. Sew the first piece of lace so the bottom edge meets this mark. Continue adding lace overlapping the row before it slightly. The very top piece of lace should be about 1/4" from the top edge of the fabric. I found it helpful to mark a straight line about every 3 inches on the front to keep everything lined up. I didn't do this on the first backpack I made and my rows got a bit slanted.

Now make the strap casing. Take the two 17"x 3" pieces press under 1 1/2" on each end and top stitch a hem. Then press them in half with wrong sides facing. Sew them to the top edge of the ruffled piece both front and back. Leave a 1/2" on each side.

Now is the time to thread the cording through the casing. Cut the 4 yard piece in half make two 2 yard pieces. Thread one piece into the casing front and back according to the green line in the picture. Thread the second piece according to the red line in the picture.

Even the ends of the cords and pin one set on the left side of the bag and one set on the right side. Pin them at about one inch above the lower edge of the first row of lace. Stitch them in place by back tacking several times as these will get a lot of stress and you want to make sure they don't come undone.

Now turn the bag right sides together and sew the side seams. Starting at the top edge back tack right next to the casing and sew half inch seams all the way to the bottom fold. Catch the straps in the seam where you have back tacked them in place but be sure not to catch them in any other place.

Now box out the bottom. Line the side seam up with the bottom fold. Measure 2" up from the point. Sew across the line. It is the black line in the photo. Be sure not to catch the edge of the lower piece of lace in your stitching. Turn the bag right side out. See how that makes a boxed bottom.

Make the linning by sewing the side seams right sides together with 1/2" seams. Box the bottom of the lining the same way as the outside bag.

To keep the lining from pulling out of the bag insert the lining into the bag and line up both points. Sew point together so they fold to the inside.

Finish off the top of the bag by sewing the linning to the outside bag right sides together. Pin the side seams first and turn the bag inside out. Sew around the top edge leaving a 3" opening at the center back of the bag for turning right side out. Turn the bag through the opening. Topstich the top edge closing the opening left for turning and stitching the top ruffle so it is kept from rolling up.


  1. I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing it at Haute Stuff!! I am totally inspired to make something like this!!!

  2. Is there any way I could pay you to make me one?