Riley Blake Designs Blog Tour.. Quilted Cotton Mini Back Pack

Today is my turn on the Riley Blake Designs Quilted Cotton Blog Tour.. I’m super excited to be sharing a mini back pack tutorial. The bag was sewn from their new quilted cotton collection.

I’ve wanted to make a mini back pack for awhile. The Riley Blake Designs Blog Tour turned out to be the perfect opportunity to try one out. And drive myself a little bonkers at the same time..

Because the fabric was 2 sided, I decided to bind the seams with a pop of color. I went back and forth on whether to have a zipper or not. At the last minute I chose to use a colorful drawstring at the top. I love how the lime green jumps out from the navy dots.

Finished size  – 8″L x 4.5″W x 13″H


  1. Riley Blake Quilted Cotton – 1 yard
  2. Solid cotton fabric
  3. Bias tape – store bought or home made
  4. Webbing – optional. You can also make your own straps
  5. Cord stopper
  6. Cording – at least 1 yard
  7. Disappearing fabric ink pen
  8. Rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler
  9. Sewing machine and related supplies
  10. Iron and ironing board

Before we get started you will need to do the following:

  1. Cut your fabric – From the quilted cotton fabric, cut a rectangle measuring 26″L x 16″W. From the solid cotton fabric, cut a rectangle measuring 27″L x 6″W [casing].
  2. Cut your straps – Cut the webbing into 2 long strips. Determine the strap length desired and measure on yourself or child. For this mini back pack tutorial I chose a 23″ strap length. Cut another piece of webbing measuring 10″ long [back tab].
  3. Bias tape –  You will need bias tape to cover the seams. Either cut your bias tape or use store bought bias tape [I used store bought to save time].

Ok, let’s start sewing..

Step 1 – Place the quilted fabric rectangle on your work surface, wrong side facing up. Fold in half to find the centre [ CF] and then place a pin at the top and bottom edge. Turn and fold the top edge 1/4″. Note – only fold the top edge over about 1 1/2″ in length. Press. Turn and fold another 1/4″. Pin. Place into sewing machine and stitch down.

Step 2 – Fold the rectangle in half. It should now measure 13″L x 16W”. Pin along the edge. Place into your sewing machine and stitch together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Press. Cut enough bias tape to cover the seam allowance. Cover seam allowance with the bias tape.

Step 3 – You will now have the first part of your bag complete. Turn the fabric so that the bound seam is aligned with the pins you placed at CF top and bottom. Note – this seam is now the center back seam. Press the seam in place. Trim any bias tape that hangs over the ends.

Step 4 – Turn the bag right side out with the CB seam facing upwards. Measure out 1″ from the CB seam top edge. Repeat for the other side and mark with pin or fabric marker. Pin each 20″ length strap in place. Raw edges should match raw edges.

Step 5 – Now lay the 10″ strap on top. There should be a loop and this forms the back tab.  Pin. Place into your sewing machine and stitch down with a scant 1/4″ stitch.

Step 6 – Fold the 6″ W solid cotton rectangle in half, it should now measure 27″L x 3″W. Press. This becomes the casing.

Step 7 – Mark a 1″ line at the end of the casing. Finger press a fold at the line.

Step 8 – Measure 1/2″ outwards from CF and mark each side with a pin. This is where the casing stops at CF. Next lay the casing along the top edge, match raw edges to raw edges. The fold should sit at the 1/2″ pin mark. Pin around the entire top edge. Pin OVER top the straps on the backside. When you get to CF again, stop at the 1/2″ mark. Make sure to fold the casing back at a 1″ mark. You may need to trim excess fabric. Place into your sewing machine and stitch the casing down with a 3/4″ – 7/8″ seam allowance. Note – before you start sewing, double check where the CF top edge is rolled/sewn down. You want to sew the casing in place and have the stitch EVEN around the top edge. The bottom of the rolled edge is the stitch line. Press with an iron. Do not touch the webbing with the iron.

Step 9 –  Turn the bag so it is wrong side out. Now turn and fold the casing towards the wrong side/inside. Pin. Place into your sewing machine and stitch in place and/or stitch in the ditch.

Step 10 – You are on the home stretch! Turn the bag to face right side out again. At the bottom edge, measure out 2-3″ from the CB seam. Repeat for the other side. At each mark, pin the bottom of each 23″ length strap in place. Raw edges match raw edges.

Step 11 –  Turn the bag wrong side out again. Pin the bottom seam together. Place into your sewing machine and stitch together with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Before you bind the seam, make sure that your straps sit straight. If you like the strap placement, it’s ok to move forward and bind the bottom seam. Now it’s time to sew those boxed corners! Wiggle the bag around and have the bottom lay flat. You want to make points as in the image above. Double check that the sides sit at a 45 degree angle.  Finger press any wrinkles out.  Measure 2″ upwards from the tip and mark a line with a disappearing ink pen. Pin. Place into sewing machine and stitch following the dashed line. Repeat for the other side.  Place the quilting ruler onto the corner. Lay the ruler so you have a 1/4″ seam allowance. Cut along the ruler edge using a rotary cutter and cut the tip off.  Repeat for the other side.  Bind the seams.

Step 12 – Turn the bag right side out again.. Place a pin at the end of your cord and insert into the casing. Pull the pin/cord through until it comes out the other side. Insert into the cord stopper. If you are having trouble, try placing tape on the ends of the cord. You may need to jiggle it around a bit. Don’t get frustrated.. Test out that the drawstring works and then cut the cord to a desired length. If you don’t like how the cord ends fray, use a lighter and burn the ends just a tad.

That’s it!  If you want to get super fancy, you could add a D Ring and a slider to each strap and make them adjustable..

Head on over to the Riley Blake Designs website and check out the entire collection. Not only are the prints for the quilted cotton fun, but the fabric is amazing to sew with.

Make sure to check out the rest of the blog tour. I’m pretty honored to be on the same tour with these amazing blogs:

6/5 – Jedi Craft Girl

6/10 – Nancy Zieman

6/ 12 – The Sassy Quilter

6/17 – Just Let Me Quilt

6/19 – Simple Simon and Company

6/26 – Sew We Quilt

7/1 – Jina Barney Designz

7/3 – Leigh Laurel Studio

7/7 – Riley Blake Designs

Happy Sewing!

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31 Responses to Riley Blake Designs Blog Tour.. Quilted Cotton Mini Back Pack

  1. Carol June 24, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Cute little backpack! I love those fabrics and colors…thanks for the tutorial! :O)

  2. ananda June 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    this is just gorgeous! i love the quilted polka dots fabric and the green around the drawstring! thank you marni for inspiring! =)

  3. mdmsamm June 24, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    Took me awhile to find you …was not sure where to leave a comment…persistence…lol
    lovely tutorial…lovely photos….lovely choice of fabrics….that green makes it POP>..

    • Haberdashery Fun June 24, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

      Thank you so much for the persistence and leaving a comment 🙂 Have a great evening.

  4. Anne Weaver June 24, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

    I love this bag!!! The double sided quilted cotton is PERFECT for a bag!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow morning that links to your tutorial:

    • Haberdashery Fun June 24, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

      HI Anne,
      Great – thank you so much.

  5. Paula@The Sassy Quilter June 24, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

    How cute!!! Great tutorial…even for a non-bag maker like me:) I love the pop color you used too. That would be great for vacation or the beach. Love it!

  6. onel June 25, 2014 at 2:14 am #

    What a cute backpack! I’ve marked this in my “to do” sewing list for the upcoming summer break! Thanks a lot for the tutorial!

  7. Nancy June 25, 2014 at 3:03 am #

    Oh is this Sweet! I have a lot of planned projects for the colors, so glad you chose them because they look Great!! Thank~You for the wonderful Tutorial!

    Huggs, Nancy

    • Haberdashery Fun June 26, 2014 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks Nancy! The bag would be even better with some D-rings and sliders for adjustability.. Have a great day.

  8. Jane June 25, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    This is so nice because the regular drawstring backpacks really dig into my shoulders with just a few items in them. Having straps will alleviate that problem!

  9. Karin @ Leigh Laurel Studios June 29, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    Love it, Marni! I’m already thinking of umpteen other uses for this quilted cotton. Is lime becoming your signature color? 🙂

  10. Roopini July 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    Lovely back pack with nice chevron print. Thanks for the tutorial 🙂

    • Haberdashery Fun July 2, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  11. Lyn Kaufmann July 3, 2014 at 11:22 pm #

    Love this cute idea. Double sided fabric makes the project so much fun! This would be a great learning project for my daughter, who is dying to learn to sew. Thank you for the beautiful step by step instructions.

  12. Debra Kay Neiman July 8, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    My granddaughter would love this. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

  13. Lori Morton July 8, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

    Thanks for this easy & fun Tutorial!! Am teaching my Grangirlie (she is 7) to sew this Summer…and think this will be a cool one to do together! : )

    • Haberdashery Fun July 9, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I think you both will love the backpack and I agree it is a great tutorial for you and your granddaughter. One thing to note #1) Before you cut the straps, double check the strap length on your granddaughter #2) Double check the overall length of the backpack before you bind the seams. You can adjust the length by cutting the rectangle smaller. Let me know if you have any questions and have a great day

  14. Annette Deardurff July 8, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    Love the back pack! Great job!

    • Haberdashery Fun July 9, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      Thank you so much!


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