Completed: Foldover backpack

child walking with a foldover backpack on her back

My youngest daughter turned 3, and since I had made her older sister a backpack when she turned 3, it only seemed fair to make her one as well. So, I designed a waxed canvas foldover backpack that closes with a side release buckle.

Foldover backpack with the top open

Fabrics and interfacing

For the bag bottom I used a cork fabric with gold and black swirls printed on it. I used a similar cork fabric for my other daughter’s bag and it’s held up very well in the 2 years since I made it. The main body of the bag is made from a very dark navy waxed canvas. I didn’t interface the cork or waxed canvas. The fabrics are both already quite sturdy and I didn’t want to add a lot of additional weight because the backpack is for a young child. Fusible interfacing is also not super suitable for waxed canvas because ironing may result in loss of the wax in the fabric which you don’t want as the wax is what makes the fabric water and dirt repellent. For this reason, I also hardly used my iron for the construction of this bag.

foldover backpack with a side release buckle closure

The flap pocket and the linings of the main bag and zipper pocket were made from quilting cotton. These fabrics were interfaced with black Vlieseline/Vilene G700, the main reasoning behind that choice being that I had enough in my stash to complete the entire bag.

outside of a foldover backpack before it is assembled into a bag

Front pockets

To the front of the bag, I added a flap pocket that closes with snaps. At the bottom of the pocket, the fabric was pleated at both sides to create a bit of depth so the pocket can contain larger things than if it was just a flat piece of fabric. Above the flap I made a zipper pocket to store small things a bit more securely. It will most likely mostly be used for hairpins and elastics that my daughter wants in her hair in the morning and then decides to remove an hour later at daycare. This pocket can only be opened when side release buckle of the top compartment is opened as well. I chose a blue zipper because I had one in the correct size and my daughter absolutely loves blue.

inside view of two front pockets on a foldover backpack


The webbing of the top straps was looped under another horizontal strip of webbing to create a hanging loop. The straps are adjustable with sliders. Under the horizontal strip I sewed a small ribbon loop to attach a hook. It currently holds a name tag so the teachers at daycare can easily determine which bag belongs to which child but later she can use it to hang something fun from it.

name tag hanging on a backpack

Bag lining

The lining is basically the bottom pattern piece and back and front pattern pieces without any extras. No slip or zipper pockets, just one main compartment to keep things easy. I think the main advantage of a foldover backpack is that you can quickly put things in or take them out when the top is opened. I did pick a different fabric for the bottom of the lining though because upside down raindrops just didn’t make sense to me, even at the bottom of a bag. Much more logical to have it rain on some pink flowers instead. To one side I sewed a piece of fabric on which my daughter’s full name and my phone number are embroidered in case the bag ever gets lost, but for obvious reasons I left this detail out of the pictures.

topview of an open foldover backpack


I topstitched several seams, in some places to add some additional strength to the seam and in other places, like the top rim of the bag to keep the lining in place. For this I used my stitch in the ditch foot with the needle position adjusted to the right and this worked like a charm. If you have a stitch in the ditch foot and the needle opening in the foot allows you to adjust the needle position, I can greatly recommend using this foot for topstitching!

stitch in the ditch foot used for topstitching a backpack

I am very happy with how this foldover backpack turned out and I hope my daughter will be able to use it for many years.

child's backpack hanging on a coat rack

April 30, 2022

Emmely Treffers

About Emmely

I am a sewing enthusiast from the Netherlands. I live in the Leiden area with my husband and two daughters and I am currently working as a senior researcher in molecular virology. With my quilting patterns and sewing blog I want to infect as many people as possible with my love for sewing.

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  1. Kate Chiconi

    This is lovely, a loving and very thoughtful gift for your little girl. I wish I’d had something like this when I was a child.

    • Emmely

      Thank you! She was very pleased and proud to carry it on her back.

  2. Katinka

    I love how you’ve combined so many different fabrics and patterns and it still looks cohesive. I love it!

    • Emmely

      Thank you! I have a pretty large stash to choose from… 😉

  3. tierneycreates

    This is so adorable! I saw it on IG and now I am trying to catch up on blog posts and I enjoyed the full story! Great use of cork fabric on the bottom!

    • Emmely

      Thank you! The cork is great for durability.

  4. Mariss

    What a beautiful design, and so carefully constructed too. You are remarkable, Emmely

    • Emmely

      Thank you, that is such a nice comment!


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