But let me first introduce you to Tiffany and her wonderful blog Meek & Chic. Meek & Chic is new on the blogging scene, being only a few months old, and is simply wonderful. Tiffany is on fire for the Lord, and I love how I can pop on over there and instantly find something that lets me know how much I am loved. This creative stay at home Momma is beautiful with her modest view, gorgeous photography, and clean pretty lines – her site offers so much promise of what is yet to come.
Here is just a taste of what you can find over at Meek & Chic…
How fantastic is that cashmere lamb?!! I don’t know about your kiddos, but mine love soft and fuzzy stuffed animals, they are very into the ‘feel’ of things. And I know I have a shrunken cashmere sweater somewhere…now I simply need to find it!
When trying to find a backpack for my daughter I fell in love with the Tulle-Around Backpack from J.crew, but I was not in love with the price! So, I had one of those “I-can-make-that-moments” and I set out to recreate a bag I had never seen in person. I was successful but I do have a few meek confessions 1) tulle is pretty but can be a pain to work with 2) perfection is not necessary the fringes are very forgiving and 3) what you don’t pay in money you sometimes pay in elbow grease.
The great news is that you can customize this tutorial for your needs/ preferences/budget/ skill level. The size of the bag in this tutorial is best suited for a girl 4+ years old. However, you can easily make it for a younger girl by shortening your rectangle, tulle strips, and adjusting your circle. I used cotton webbing for my straps, but you can make your own, I used a slider and loop set, but you can use D rings. You can make adjustments to fit your budget, with the use of coupons and shopping around you can spend half if not less than the cost of the Jcrew bag. While a confident beginner may be able to tackle this sewing project, the steps involved makes this more of an intermediate/ advanced project. So, if you would rather invest your time rather than your money into a Tutu Sweet Backpack check out the tutorial!
1. 10 yards of tulle
2. 1.5 yards of heavy fabric (I used duckcloth)
3. 1.5 yards of coordinating fabric for lining (don’t be confused I switched to a cool houndstooth pattern fabric after this picture was taken)
4. Wide Grosgrain Ribbon
5. 2 yards of the cotton webbing*
6. Extra large eyelet kit
8. (2) sliders
9. (2) loops*
10. 1.5 yards of interfacing (not pictured)
(* I bought 1.25 inch cotton webbing and wide mouth slider and loop set from SewingSupplies.etsy.com)
Preparing the pattern
Cut a rectangle 12x 24 inches from your heavyweight fabric, lining fabric, and interfacing
Cut a circle (using this pattern) from your heavyweight fabric, lining fabric, and interfacing
Preparing the tulle
You’ll need your tulle, ruler, and scissors
1. Cut your tulle into strips 3 by 24 inches long
2. Stack 3 of the strips on top of each other and sew straight down the middle, you have your first “layer”
3. Fold this “layer” down so your stitch is on top, then fold across twice. It’s time cut your fringes and it is much easier to cut tulle when it’s all folded up.
4. Cut your fringe about ½ inch thick. Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect, just be sure not to cut through your stitch!
5. Stack three of these fringed layers together and you have one “row”
Making the Exterior
You’ll need your heavyweight fabric and your fringed rows
6. Pin your first fringed row to your rectangle about ½ inch from the bottom of one of the long sides of your rectangle and topstitch.
7. Continue in this manner all the way up your rectangle. You want your fringes to overlap the previous row. The closer the layers, the more work, but the more fullness! You can space your layers further apart (but not too far or the results won’t be the same). I ended up with about 21 rows (which equals 63 fringed layers- but it was so worth it).
8. When you get about 3 inches from the top of your rectangle leave a gap between your rows big enough for your eyelets to be placed later. This is where our ribbon drawstring will go later. (For my extra large eyelets I left a 1.25inch gap between two of my layers)
9. Leave about ½ inch seam allowance at the top of your at rectangle.
10. Fold rectangle right sides together and sew along the short sides, creating a tube (meek confession: I had issues with my bobbin and I didn’t bother to make sure my rows were straight or evenly spaced as you can tell from my stitches above. Again, say it with me: perfection isn’t necessary=)
11. Carefully trim the ruffles near the seam
Preparing the Exterior Bottom
You will need your circle from your heavyweight fabric and tulle rows (which are optional- read below)
12. First, you have to decide if you want fringes on the bottom of your bag as well. If not, skip this step. If so, starting in the middle of your circle sew fringed rows in a circle until you get to the edge of your circle. When one row ends just place another one next to it and continue.
Preparing Your Straps
You will need your cotton webbing, sliders, and loops
13. Cut cotton webbing into four pieces (2) 32 inch pieces and (2) 4 inch pieces.
14. Place one of the 32 inch piece around the middle bar of your plastic slider and sew as close to the slider as possible. (repeat with your other 32 inch piece of cotton webbing and slider)
15. Place one of the 4 inch piece around the plastic loop and sew as close to the loop as possible ( repeat with your other 4 inch piece of cotton webbing and loop)
16. Now, take the unfinished end of your 32 inch strap through your plastic loop.
17. Then feed it through your slider. (repeat steps 16 and 17 for your other strap)
Putting the Exterior Together
You will need your exterior circle, your exterior tube, and your two straps
18. Begin pinning your circle (right side in) on top of your tube.
19. When you get to the back near the seam , insert your straps on each side of the seam . (My straps were about 4.5 inches apart). Pin your straps in place. Make sure your slider is right side facing out so that you’re your raw edges are facing the fringes when placed inside the bag. (If that’s too confusing just pin all the way around and turn the bag inside out to make sure the buckles are in the right direction).
20. Sew all the way around your circle, which is the bottom of your bag. When turned right side out, the outside of your backpack should look like the picture above (Note the direction of the buckles on the picture).
Preparing the Lining
You will need your interfacing, lining rectangle, lining circle
19. Follow instructions on your interfacing and iron on to the wrong side of your lining fabric.
20. Turn fabric right side in, pin and sew short ends together to create tube, and sew circle to the bottom (just like you did with the exterior)
21. Place your exterior inside the lining bag (right sides together) and make sure your straps are stuffed inside and out of the way. Line up your seams and sew around the edge leaving an 8-9 inch opening in the back.
22. Pull bag right side out through your opening.
23. Place straps inside the opening, pin and sew close. (My straps are placed about 2 inches apart)
Preparing Finishing Touches (and confetti to throw in air)
You will need your eyelet kit, hammer, ribbon, and confetti
24. Find the space (from step 8) that you left near the top of your backpack, and make marks for your eyelets which is where we will insert our ribbon drawstring. Refer to the instructions on your eyelet kit (trace, cut, insert, and hammer in place through both layers of fabric)
I used 8 in all- two in the front 2 on each side and 2 in the back to be sure that the backpack gathered the way I wanted when closed.
25. Now, slip the ribbon through your eyelets, (if using) put fray check on the edge of your ribbon, and tie a big pretty bow.
26. Throw confetti, your done!
Oh my goodness Tiffany…I was going through the tute, absolutely LOVING the backpack…and then I got to the end video. Throw confetti! I am dying over how cute that is!!! Thank you so much for being here and sharing this awesome backpack with us, talk about the perfect Valentine’s gift for the little lady in your life!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…