Tutorial Tuesday: Basmati Rice Backpack

IMG_1933-2Today I would like to start a lovely new tradition on my blog. Tutorial Tuesday. Now, this is something big that I am biting off, because with my workload lighter in the summer it is totally realistic, but when the workload goes into overload during the school year, it may be difficult. So I have decided that all the tutorials don’t have to be mine. If the going gets tough, I’ll just find someone else’s tutorial to feature here on my blog. There are so many great ones out there. It is amazing… and difficult to weed through them all to find the best ones. Enter me. πŸ˜‰ I’ll try and do it for you.

Last night after summer school was done I set out to create a tutorial of my own. You see, we eat rice. Basmati rice to be exact, and sometimes when we buy a bag, they come in these really cool zippered burlap bags and I never want to throw those guys away, because I know deep down they can become something cool. Something wonderful… maybe even magical. Yesterday I was inspired to make a backpack for Little Miss Smarty Pants. She has wanted something to carry her art supplies in for a long time, and today was the perfect day to get ‘er done.

Obstacle 1: Couldn’t find my ruler for my cutting mat. Improv: Using a plastic school ruler that I found laying around.

Obstacle 2: Someone used my fabric rotary cutter for cutting something that should not be cut with a rotary cutter.

Enter Awesome Teacher Gift: Gift certificate to Hobby Lobby. Away I went to get the two items that were necessary to get the job done.

I am sure if you have kids, you have these obstacles as well. If not, let me know how you keep your stuff away from the little critters. I haven’t seemed to manage it… and I even threatened bodily harm. πŸ˜‰

After going to Hobby Lobby and picking up the ruler and rotary blade, we stopped by Haggen on the way home to pick up the miracle stir fry sauce (see yesterday’s blog) and then headed home to cook dinner. After cooking dinner with the hubby, I went straight to work.

Basmati Rice Backpack



  • Burlap bag with zipper. Or you could make one, but I hate HATE putting in zippers. This one is already done for me. πŸ˜€
  • Fabric. A yard or so depending on how many pockets and extras you wish to make.
  • Backpack straps of some sort. I stole mine from the hubby’s military surplus stash.

Step 1: Cut out a piece of material on the fold that measures 1/2 inch wider and 1/2 inch longer than your burlap bag. For me, this was 13 1/2 inches long, and 15 1/2 inches tall. (This will be the lining of your bag.)


Step 2: You also want to cut out the fabric for two pockets. You want them to be as wide as the lining you just cut out. On my bag I cut out four pieces that were 13 1/2 inches wide and 5 1/2 inches tall. To add stability I also cut out two pieces of interfacing the same size.


You should now have a total of 7 pieces. 4 pocket pieces, 1 lining piece, and 2 pieces of interfacing the same size as your pockets.

Step 3: Before I put together all the lining pieces, I decided that I wanted to reinforce the burlap because I knew that this backpack was going to get a lot of use. So I cut out two squares of interfacing for each corner the straps were going to come in contact with, for a total of eight 2 inch squares of interfacing. You do not have to be exact on the size. Just big enough to reinforce where the rectangular loops are going to be sewn. No one is going to see it because they will be ironed on the inside and the lining will go over it. πŸ˜‰

Step 4: Iron double layers of interfacing on each contact point. You will have two that will be on the lower inside where the backpack will touch the back. (See image below.)


And two where the backpack comes in contact with the rectangular loops on the upper outside of the backpack (opposite side that does not touch the back). (See image below.)


Step 5: Now that you have your backpack all reinforced, you can sew on the straps. I had Smarty Pants try them on so that I could make sure I was getting them in just the right places.


Step 6: Now you are ready to sew the lining. First, I needed to add the pockets. Smarty Pants wanted a pocket for colored pencils and a pocket for other miscellaneous art supplies. I decided to put one pocket on each side of the lining. Sew two pocket pieces together along the long edges right sides together (one with ironed on interfacing and one without). Turn right side out and press. (It helps to trim the seams if they seem a little bulky.)

Step 7: After you have turned and pressed your pockets, pin them about 4 or so inches down from the top of the lining, one at each end. It should look something like the picture below.


Step 8: After you have pinned them in place, you can make the pockets how you wish. For my colored pencil pocket, I sewed vertical lines along the pocket. Working from the left, I marked one line two inches from the edge, the next six lines 1 1/2 inches apart and the right hand edge measured about 2 1/4 inches. No one’s gonna look that close that they see the right and left edges aren’t identical. After sewing the vertical lines, I sewed the bottom of the pocket across from edge to edge.

IMG_0402(Sorry about the shadows. It was getting late as I finished this project.)

Step 9: The other pocket I divided evenly down the middle and sewed down the middle and across the bottom.


Step 10: Now it’s time to finish your lining. With right sides together sew down both edges and zig-zag or serge the edges for reinforcement. I mean… who wants their lining to rip out, right?


Step 11: Zig-zag along the top edge. Fold over 1/2 inch at the top, or whatever helps the lining line up about halfway down the zipper material on the inside. You don’t want the lining too close to the zipper or it could jam every time you zip it open or closed. Pin, making sure to match corners, center front and center back. Hand sew with whatever stitch your grandmother taught you. πŸ˜‰ Mine is the blanket/button hole stitch.


You are done baby! Here is what the lining looks like on the inside of Smarty Pants’s bag.


Here is what it looks like with some art supplies inside.


And here is what it looks like on our lovely new model. I would have had Smarty Pants try it on, but she was sleeping when I was working on this tutorial. πŸ˜‰


Now go find that burlap! You know you want to. πŸ˜€

Enjoy the Dance ;D



One thought on “Tutorial Tuesday: Basmati Rice Backpack

  1. Pingback: Gotta love productive days! | 2ofUM

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