Going shopping for back-to-school supplies can be super fun, but also a bit overwhelming. Backpacks are expensive, and often the selections can be incredibly limiting. Whether your needs have specific guidelines based on the school, or you just want something fit for their personality, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite tutorials for back to school bags to whip up before this academic year begins! What we love most about sewing is the uniqueness of each creation. This can be really important in bags for school, as each situation is different and has a lot of opportunity for customization! Some private schools require tote bags in the younger grades and preschools, college students often prefer shoulder totes, and some people just want their bag to express their style! It’s an accessory that’s carried almost every day of the year, so why not make it special? The great thing about making your own is the expense is low, so you won’t feel terrible if they change their mind about it later! Check out our selection of backpacks, book bags, and pencil holders for every scenario below!

Made by Rae Toddler Backpack Sewing PatternThis toddler backpack is so cute — and only uses a few fat quarters to make! Adding piping of this size is easy if you just use your zipper foot, and you can have some real fun matching up piping and zippers! Choose a sturdy fabric so that there is minimal scuffing on the bottom, an important detail when sewing a bag that will be put to so much use. If you’re really concerned about the wear & tear, you can use thin, sew-able leather or faux leather for the bottom of the bag and straps.

DIY Drawstring Tote BackpackThis backpack is stylish, a fun accessory for toting around essentials. We like it for preschool necessities like blankies, extra clothes, and snacks, as the design is good for slinging light loads over the shoulder! Pockets can be customized to your needs, too — add thin slots for pencils or crayons, too! If you’d like a more durable strap, you can purchase all kinds of cotton & synthetic webbings at most fabric stores.

Back to School Backpack with Flap - Sewing TutorialWe love this tutorial, a super easy to follow bag that has a lot of potential for fun pattern combinations. The flap keeps things out of the elements — and can even be made more waterproof by using an oilcloth or plastic-coated cotton for the top flap. The exterior has a wide, deep pocket, perfect for separating important notes to the teacher or field trip forms from the bulk of the interior.

Pencil Pouch Sewing TutorialMake this super fast & easy lined pencil pouch in just half an hour, a great pouch for stowing away smaller items in a backpack. Have some fun selecting fabrics — and remember, lighter fabrics inside a bag make it easier to see things you’re looking for! If you want to avoid messy ink spills or graphite marks on the inside, line it with a plastic coated cotton to make wipe-aways easy, without adding too much sturdiness to the pouch.

DIY Book Bag for Toddlers - Sewing TutorialSome schools, especially in the lower grades and preschool, require a tote for books rather than the traditional bag that goes on the back. Check out this super cute tote made for a preschooler’s backpack, utilizing applique methods for decoration. You can stitch down your applique work with zigzag stitching as shown, or try out some other edging stitches such as a blanket stitch or a double straight stitch for a raw-edge look.

What are you making for back to school season this year?

About the Author


Hand­made Char­lotte offers a daily dose of DIY craft projects and design inspi­ra­tion to help fam­i­lies live each day to the fullest. Named one of the Top 50 Design Blogs for Moms by Babble.com, the site has been fea­tured in Martha Stew­art Liv­ing, Bet­ter Homes and Gar­dens, HGTV, Craftzine.com, Huff­in­g­ton Post, Busi­ness Insider, and more.

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