‘Tis the Season for Backpacks!

I can hardly believe that some kids are already back in school! August school seems totally wrong to me, especially since it’s just starting to feel like summer here in the Midwest. Some of you have been thinking ahead though and have already been sewing backpacks using my Toddler Backpack Pattern for the coming school year. I love the print combos on this one. Are those tiny polka dots on the aqua fabric? Why yes, they are.

backpack
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I’m always a sucker for transportation prints.  Kokka really pulls out all the stops with the Echino line (the two on either side below).  Don’t you think someone needs to make a backpack Right. Now. with the scooter print??And those bicycles in the middle are just about the best; they look sweet with orange piping.

backpack roundup 2
Above: Blue CarsBicycles, Busses & Cars

Here are some playful versions.  The ruffles on the top right are amazing.  Who needs pockets when you can have ruffles?

backpack roundup 1
Above: ElephantRuffles, DogsStar Wars

backpack
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The PDF pattern also comes with instructions to enlarge the backpack to fit school-aged children like this one:

Backpack

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If you just don’t have enough sewing machine hours between now and when your littles go back to school, take a look at the Made By Rae Sellers Pool on Flickr!  You’ll find some awesome backpacks for sale there, with links to registered sellers’ shops.

Now get thee to a sewing machine and whip up some Toddler Backpacks! When you’re done, share them in the Backpack Photo Pool on Flickr!

Just needs a lining and then it is off to its new owner! #etsyseller #etsycustomlisting #madebyrae #toddlerbackpackpirate backpack sidepirate backpack backpirate backpack frontToddler Backpack, Princess KingdomToddler Backpack, Princess KingdomToddler Backpack, Echino ScootersToddler Backpack, Forest LIfeToddler Backpack, Retro RidesBackpacks and baby carrierstrain backpack fronttrain backpack back

This blog is proudly sponsored by

On the Tenth Day of Christmas [NOW CLOSED]

Thanks for entering! This giveaway is now closed. Our next giveaway will open tomorrow morning at 6 am eastern.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…ten lords-a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, five golden rings, four colly birds, three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree!

…and Rae gave to me a Toddler Backpack Sewing pattern!

ToddlerBackpackCard_B

This backpack is designed for tiny backs and little shoulders: perfect for toddlers to pack their toys and treasures for play dates and excursions.  Since you probably won’t be able to stop at making just one, this pattern does include instructions to enlarge the backpack to fit school-aged children.

There are countless renditions of the Toddler Backpack in its dedicated Flickr Pool; the variety and attention to detail are astonishing!  I love how some have added side pockets for water bottles, front zip pockets, appliqued animals, the list goes on.

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1. Owls 2. Quilted, 3. Bicycles, 4. Doctor Who

The selection of photos above were taken from the Toddler Backpacks Flickr Pool.

Leave one comment on this post before 10 pm EST tonight for your chance to win this little backpack sewing pattern. The winner will be randomly selected, contacted via email, and will receive a PDF copy of the Toddler Backpack Sewing Pattern; all winners will be posted at the end of this series as well. Void where prohibited by law.

Twelve Days of Christmas

Two more pattern giveaways left in our “Twelve Days of Christmas” series you guys!! Can you guess what they will be?

backpack roundup

My Elliot starts kindergarten next week. WAAAAAH! Unbelieveable. With back-to-school season here, I thought we should take a peek at all the great backpacks that people have been making with my Toddler Backpack pattern. The original pattern was intended for preschool-aged children, 2-5ish (hence the name, “toddler”), but has since been updated to include easy instructions for enlarging it for a school-aged child so it can accommodate the normal 8.5×11″ sized notebooks and handouts and whatnot. At the top of my current To Sew List is a school-sized one for E. Only time will tell if this backpack actually materializes by the first day of kindergarten or not.

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1. Helicopters, 2. Rapunzel, 3. Numbers, 4. Giraffe, 5. Robots, 6. Scooters, 7. Blue w/ Orange, 8. Dragons, 9. Buses

This viewfinder version makes me so happy I have enough of this Melody Miller fabric left to make a copycat backpack of my own:

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Johanna, who made this adorbsible version for her toddler son, has a post called “Backpack with a View” if you want to see more (and clever name, eh?)

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1. Daisy Backpack 1, 2. Pair of Backpacks, 3. Purple ZigZags, 4. Green Giraffes, 5. Rockets, 6. Big Polka Dots

Here’s an example of one of the backpacks made using the bigger kid dimensions:

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1. Dump Truck BackPack – Side, 2. Dump Truck BackPack – Front

You can find the pattern here, and of course, keep adding your pictures to the backpack pool and the Rae Made Me Do It photo pool so I can feature them on the blog!

New backpack for Clementine!

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The Toddler Backpack Sewing Pattern is available HERE!

Tonight I’m winding up the “Back to School Wardrobe” course I have been teaching over the last couple of months with Karen LePage at Blue House in Ann Arbor. We’re having a “show and tell” at a local restaurant and I cannot WAIT it’s going to be so much fun. We had a fantastic group of women who have been sewing up a storm and have been so much fun to hang out with. There were five projects over five sessions (a basic pant, Tee for Two knit tee, Charlie Tunic woven top, the Toddler Backpack, and the Reversible Jacket from Sewing for Boys), so as you can imagine it was a rather ambitious curriculum. One of the fun things about teaching classes with your own patterns is that you get to revisit them again, and every week in preparation for our class Karen and I would make a few samples to use as demonstration and make sure we knew what we were doing. This little backpack was used as a sample for the class, but now it’s finished so Miss Clementine has been proudly carrying it around.

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These prints are from the Far Far Away II line by Heather Ross . The cotton/linen canvas with the girls and the horses is (I’m not sure, can see this in the pictures?) a pale grey with orange and coordinates with the lighter-weight orange floral linen blend from that line so well. A half yard of each fabric is really plenty for one backpack, so I think the backpack is a nice way to feature the print. I ordered a yard and am terribly conflicted now with what to do with the rest of it. So many ideas, ack!!! A few of my sponsors still currently carry all or part of this line, so I would love it if you would shop with them (they’re linked from my sidebar) if you decide you need some.

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The Toddler Backpack was the very first pattern I digitized and began to sell back in 2009 at the prodding of readers, and as I combed through it again I realized it needed a facelift. So Elli (my seester and design-software-extraordinaire) and I are currently re-working the pattern a little bit: improving the section on the larger (school-aged) version of the backpack, which is very easy to make but needed some clarity in the instructions, changing the type-Os and adding a section on lining the backpack, something I have always wanted to do. I lined this version and found it to be quite easy to do. Here’s a little peek at the lining, which I found harder to photograph than expected:

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We’ll be putting up the new and improved version of the pattern soon so I wanted to put the word out on the street that the current version of the pattern will only be available for a little while longer at its current price ($6). The new version of the pattern will include (in addition to the original pattern pieces and updated instructions), a new printable summary sheet, improved instructions for making the larger school-aged version of the backpack (to fit a binder and letter-sized papers), and a new section on lining the backpack and will be sold for $8.

UPDATED: The new version is available now in the pattern shop; you can also read more about the updates here.

If you’re interested, Karen and I are thinking we might offer the kids’ wardrobe course again next winter, maybe in January or February. Let us know if you’re thinking about this as it definitely helps to know how many people might be interested.

And speaking of Heather Ross, did you see that she is offering the always-awesome Blueberry Hill workshops again next summer? AND a new Fabric Design workshop in New York next spring? I don’t know which will be more fun, but I do know they sell out fast!!!

Finally, we’re having another one of our Crafty Meetups here in Michigan on Thursday night at Makerworks — it’s rollicking good fun so if you can join us, let us know on our Facebook page or November Meetup page (more information there as well). If you don’t “do Facebook,” just send me an email (click on the contact nav button, above). If you can’t make it this week, our next meetup will be Thursday, December 1. Hope you can join us!

Boy Backpacks!

1. Boy Backpacks, 2. Toddler backpack-4, 3. DSC_0763, 4. For My Mother (for Betsy, Brigid and Me), 5. DSC_0376, 6. Toddler Backpack (Made by Rae pattern), 7. backpack, 8. Airplane Backpack, 9. Toddler Backpack, 10. Snail back pack, 11. BackpackSide, 12. babym backpack back, 13. Toddler backpack, 14. Groovy guitars, 15. backpack, view 3, 16. Toddler Backpack

All of these adorable backpacks were made with my Toddler Backpack Sewing Pattern. Boy-friendly fabrics make these fun for boys and extra accents such as pockets, tags and applique make them even more unique!

Backpack Madness!

From the sudden increase in toddler backpack pattern sales over the last couple of days, it seems many of you have decided it’s time to sew your kiddo a backpack so they can be stylin’ as they hop off the bus. Be sure to post them to the Toddler Backpack Pool (along with modifications, suggestions, and the fabric you used) so that we can all enjoy your handiwork!


Photo Cred (as with Spring Top Week, I assume that you’re OK with having your picture up on my blog if it’s in the pool; if not, please let me know ASAP!):
1. Toddler Backpack, 2. IMG_0412, 3. Toddler Backpack, 4. DSC_0505, 5. Toddler Backpack, 6. Toddler Backpack, 7. Backpack Front, 8. Front, 9. toddler backpack back view

The question I’m getting the most right now is “Will you make a backpack for me?” and the answer, unfortunately, is no. Mr Rae is going back to work this week *tries to hide panicked look* so I have even less time than ever to sew. A few people have purchased a license to sell the backpacks, but most are planning to sell them to friends and classmates. However, I know of at least one Etsy shop where you can buy a custom backpack, so if your sewing skills are meager or you know you won’t have time, be sure to check it out:

4mylittles.etsy.com

And if anyone else has purchased a license to sell the backpacks and would like to be listed here, please let me know once you have your backpack listing up and I’ll update you here!

Little Truck Backpack

One of the things on the top of my list to finish last week was another little toddler backpack:


I had had a request from a non-sewing mom to make one awhile back; she liked the pattern but it’s not exactly a learn-to-sew project. She wanted a dark denim and liked the idea of piping with red (I had red and brown on hand), so I went for a truck applique with some newly-acquired Michael Miller Polka Dots (more projects with that soon!).

I wanted to use the fabric I had on hand (for custom stuff especially rather than go out and buy yards of fabric for samples that might then never get used), so I used some denim that had been “mined” from a pair of jeans in the thrift store pile. I’ve been saving old pants that are just going to get tossed or donated; I washed them and cut along the side seams and cut off the waistband — for men’s pants especially that’s a TON of great bottom-weight fabric, perfect for making a backpack out of.

I interfaced the denim to give it more bulk and serged all the inside seams. The notions needed (you can also use D-rings instead of strap adjusters) for this project are pictured here. In the pic above you can see it with strap adjusters (all are available at your local chain fabric store).

Here’s a couple of samples that didn’t make the cut:

I liked the middle one enough that it’s about halfway done already; the other two appliques will probably make it onto t-shirts or bibs. I use fusible web to iron them onto the fabric and then use a very short zig-zag stitch around all the edges.

I’ve been sent a ton of great pictures of backpacks lately from those of you who have made backpacks with the pattern — I’d love it if you would put them in the newly-formed photo pool so we can all admire them!

The actual address of the photo pool is: http://www.flickr.com/groups/toddlerbackpacks/

Toddler Backpack Sewing Pattern PDF

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Toddler Backpack Sewing Pattern PDF (NOTE: this is the new updated version of the pattern, if you purchased the pattern between March 2009 – October 2011 and are looking JUST the add-on, click here)
Cost: $8
Buy Now
Purchase this version if you will use the pattern for yourself or for gifts for others (no profit, for personal use only).
**Please read my purchasing/printing instructions first if you have never purchased an instant download PDF pattern before. Thanks!**  The digital pattern and instructions will be sent to your PayPal email address via instant download link as soon as payment is received (please do not request that we forward to a different address).

License to Sell Toddler Backpacks (pattern not included)

Cost: $10
Buy Now
Purchase this license in addition to the pattern if you would like to sell backpacks from the pattern. Small-scale handmade sales only; one license for each person who makes/sells the bags. Design credit must be given wherever the bags are sold (“Pattern designed by Rae Hoekstra of made-by-rae.com” on tags or listings) Please register your shop with me once you have backpacks ready to sell. For more information on my Seller’s Program, please click here.
**Please read my purchasing/printing instructions first if you have never purchased an instant download PDF pattern before. Thanks!**

Included in the Toddler Backpack Sewing Pattern PDF:
Step-by-step instructions
Full-color photographs to augment the instructions
Clear directions on how to easily enlarge the pattern for a larger child
Complete set of pattern pieces (including rectangular pieces)
REJOICE! THIS PATTERN HAS BEEN UPDATED TO INCLUDE:
*Updated instructions
*Clearer and more detailed instructions for making a larger (school-aged child) sized backpack
*NEW! Step-by-step photos and instructions for lining the backpack
*NEW! Printable one-page summary instruction sheet (“cheat sheet”)

Materials:
The pattern uses about a 1/2 yard of medium- to heavy-weight canvas for the outside. The backpack holds its shape pretty well due to the piping and the quilted bottom, but if you wanted a more rigid backpack you could also interface it with something thick, like another layer of canvas. In addition to the outer fabric, you’ll need about 1/4 yard of 54″-wide (or 1/3 yard of 45″-wide) medium-weight fabric (I used some bottom-weight twill from JoAnn) for the straps and bottom and a small amount of fleece or quilt batting for the bottom panel and strap padding.

Notions: two 1″ plastic strap adjusters (or four 1″ D-rings), 3/4″ yards of 1″ nylon strap, one 14″ zipper, and one package of pre-made 1/2″ bias tape piping (2 1/2 yards total if you are a Crazy Person and think you’d like to make your own).

The larger version uses the same materials/fabric amounts as the original instructions with these exceptions:
• 16″ zipper (14″ + 2″ width increase)
• 3 yards pre-made ½” bias tape piping (you will need two packages instead of one.)

a few of the notions needed

I actually bought all of my supplies at JoAnn. The piping comes in all kinds of colors and I was pleasantly surprised at the selection of colors in nylon strap (often called “webbing”).

Finished dimensions, toddler size:
Height: 11 3/8″, Width: 10″, Depth: 4 1/4″

Finished dimensions, Larger size (if you add 2″ to the pattern pieces as clearly instructed):
Height: 13 3/8″, Width: 12″, Depth: 4 1/4″

See more Toddler Backpacks
The toddler backpack was featured on my blog in the following posts:
Toddler Backpack
Little Truck Backpack
Backpack Madness
Jackpack Giveaway

Here’s my little guy (almost 2 years old!) modeling his very own backpack:



Almost here…Toddler Backpack Pattern!


:: Now there are two! ::

So just popping in today to say that I’ve been working all week (remember, that’s in Toddler Time, meaning during naps and after bedtime) on the PDF backpack pattern, and it’s almost ready for sale. My guess is in the next day or so, so check back. I’ll also be selling the little yellow backpack pictured above if anyone’s interested; not sure we need multiple toddler backpacks around here..

So glad you liked them; thanks for all the kind comments! And someone must have linked to me today because gadzooks my inbox is full…

Oh and thanks to the Riesen family, I think my Russian translator has finally arrived:
(for those just joining us I was wondering what the Russian on the fabric said)

“It says: “The gingerbread man is twirling or turning”
…”