Monday

Burlap Backpack DIY

I've had a gigantic burlap sack sitting in my room since August. I bought it at a flea market with the intention of turning it into something cool, but was unsure of what direction I wanted to take until about a month ago. That was when I first laid eyes on a Bare Made backpack. Let's just say I became a little obsessed and finally knew what I needed to do with my burlap sack! For comparison, Bare Made's bag is on the left and mine is on the right. I wasn't going for identical, but I was heavily inspired by the concept and I'm really happy with how my backpack turned out. I worked on this bag over the course of three weeks when I had time and I thrifted all of my materials (leather coat, belts, and burlap sack) for about $15 total.
 Admittedly, I didn't do the best job at remembering to take pictures after each step. I kept getting caught up in what I was doing and then I'd forget. So I'll do my best to explain what I did, step-by-step.

1. First I created a pattern. I used an existing backpack to figure out approximate dimensions and ended up with a 18x15in body, plus a 3/4in seam allowance. Burlap bags are huge. I ended up using just half of the sack and still had to trim down the sides. After I cut out the front and back of the backpack, I hemmed the entirety of both rectangles using a zigzag stitch to prevent fraying. I also cut out two rectangles of fabric for the lining and set them aside for later.
2. I decided to use leather for the bottom, sides, and top flap. I managed to thrift a long leather coat for $2 so this was an extremely cost effective option. I created a pattern for each piece and then cut out the corresponding pieces in leather and in lining fabric. I ended up with a bottom that was 5x15in, sides that were 18x3.5in, and a top flap that was 10x15in. I included a 1/2in seam allowance for the bottom and side pieces.
3. Next I sewed the bottom leather piece to the main body of the bag, right sides facing together. So at this point, laid flat, I had the front of the bag attached to the bottom of the bag attached to the back of the bag as seen in the fourth picture above.
 4. Next sew the top flap to the back piece of burlap, right sides facing together. Then repeat with both side pieces.
5. Before sewing the sides to the front piece of burlap and the bottom, I attached my belts to the bag. I used one belt as an adjustable buckle to hold the bag closed, and two more belts as the back straps. To make sure I could retain the adjustable feature of the back straps, I belted the belts and then cut them in half on the opposite side of the buckle so the end shoulder pieces actually come from what would have been the middle of the belt. Does that make sense? I used jiffy rivets to attach the belts to the bag at the top and bottom. Having never used jiffy rivets before, I found this video useful.
6. After all of the belts were attached, I finished sewing the sides to the front and bottom of the bag.
7. At this point the bag was basically finished. I just needed to assemble my lining using the fabric pieces I set aside. I repeated the steps of sewing the bag and then inserted the liner, keeping it simple and just sewing it around the perimeter of the top of the bag.
 Just in time for vacation!