Backpack suits 177 x 61.5 cm (70 x 24 in) x 6 mm (1/4 in) thick mat. If your mat is a different size, see Designer's Tips, on page 2.
• Piece of outdoor canvas or other sturdy fabric, 82 cm (32-1/4 in) square
• 2.50 m nylon braid, 2.5 cm (1 in) wide
• Matching or contrasting thread
• 60 cm zipper
• 2 parachute-clip buckles that accommodate 2.5 cm (1-in) braid
• Strip of Velcro hook-and-loop tape (both sides), 2.5 x 1 cm (1 x 3/8 in)
• Dressmaker's chalk pencil, ruler, set square and compass
(Note: Use 15 mm (5/8 in) seam allowance throughout, unless otherwise indicated. If desired, machine-zigzag raw edges of seam allowance to bind.)
1. From fabric, cut rectangle, 66.5 x 46.5 cm (26-1/4 x 18-3/8 in). With chalk pencil and compass, draw three 16.5 cm (6-1/2 in) diameter circles on remaining fabric; cut out.
2. Measure 12.5 cm (5 in) from bottom edge of 1 circle and mark; draw straight line across circle at mark. Cut out for pocket, discarding smaller circle top. Press under 6 mm (1/4 in) twice across straight (top) edge; edgestitch, then stitch again, 3 mm (1/8 in) down from first stitch line. With raw edges even, lay pocket, right side up, on right side of 1 circle; baste 6 mm from raw edge. Centre 1 Velcro side on wrong side of pocket just below top edge; stitch in place. Position remaining Velcro side on right side of circle; stitch in place.
3. Fold rectangle so right sides are together and long top edges are even, forming tube; beginning at each corner, stitch 3 cm (1-1/8 in) across top edge, backstitching at beginning and end. Press seams open. Turn right side out then press under 1.5 cm (5/8 in) along each top edge for zipper opening. With zipper foot, stitch zipper in place, then stitch again, 3 mm out, from each stitching line, to reinforce. If desired, machine-zigzag bar tack across each end of zipper to reinforce. Leaving zipper open, turn wrong side out.
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Page 1 of 2 -- Check out designer's tips for adding small, personal touches to your tote on page 2 4. With right sides together, pin 1 circle in place at each end of tube, ensuring that pocket faces up and top edge is perpendicular to zipper; stitch around each circle twice. Turn right side out.
5. From braid, cut two 89 cm (35 in) lengths. One at a time, thread 1 end of each length through buckle, then fold back for approx 2.5 cm to form loop; machine-zigzag through both layers along raw end to secure. Press under 6 mm along remaining raw end of each. From remaining braid, cut two 28 cm (11 in) lengths; press under 6 mm along each end. On 1 end of each length, machine-zigzag through both layers along raw end to hem; one at a time, thread 1 hemmed end through corresponding snap portion of 1 buckle. Snap buckles together to form 2 straps.
6. Position 1 strap at each side of zipper opening as follows: pin each pressed strap end, right side up, to top of backpack, beginning 5 cm (2 in) out from zipper seam, and parallel to and 1 cm in from seam around tube end. Machine-zigzag through both layers 8 mm (3-1/8 in) from each pressed edge; stitch 6 mm in from first stitching line to reinforce.
• Tie on a fabric, leather or yarn zipper pull, if you like.
• Instead of using the water-resistant synthetic canvas shown, you can make your backpack funkier by using heavy-weight denim or retro upholstery fabric.
• If you want to make it faster to sew, discard third circle and omit Step 2 so you don't add the pocket. You can also omit the buckles and Step 5; instead, press under and sew 1 end of each strap to backpack, as given in Step 6. With the mat in the backpack, try it on to find your ideal strap length, then trim, press under and sew the remaining ends.
• If your mat is thicker or longer, you can adapt the pattern to fit: Measure circumference, length and diameter of rolled-up mat, then add 4 cm (1-1/2 in) to each measurement for total circumference, length and diameter. In Step 1, cut 1 rectangle, total circumference (this will be the short edge) x total length, and cut 3 circles, each having total diameter.
For another fun craft, learn how to sew a recycled tote bag out of juice bags.
Interested in more great craft ideas? Check out our Craft blog.
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