Inspiration: Over the summer we tried many backpacks on my daughter who starts Pre-School is about 2 weeks now. She didn't like any of them - too big, too big, it hurts, too big, yucky! So I finally asked her if she'd like it if I made her a backpack and she agreed. I found an on-line tutorial for a Dora backpack (http://atsecondstreet.blogspot.com/2011/04/backpack-tutorial-and-pattern.html) and made some modifications to get what I wanted/needed.
My Modifications: Originally I was going to try to make it big enough to hold an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper. But when I held that template up to my daughter's back, it went past knees. I ended up scaling back quite a bit. It's not exactly what she's supposed to have for Pre-School but it should work for the first part of the school year at least.
Since I didn't want it to really be Dora's backpack and my daughter's current favorite color is pink, I chose a pink corduroy fabric. It has glitter in it but at least it's by strips of glitter thread and not glued on. For the liner, I chose a quilting fabric that was hot pink and had large daisy-like flowers on it. Instead of Backpack's face, I made a large daisy with different colored petals (My daughter chose the fabric which was packed for quilting).
I added her name embroidered on the top flap. And on the inside top flap, I took an extra piece of fabric from one of the petals to make a name/address plate. My husband was a school bus driver years ago and often tells of the one kid who was still on the bus when he finished his route and how the kid had has name/address/phone on the inside of his backpack and that's how we was able to get the child home.
Alternatives: If I had to do it over again, here's what I would have done different:
- I would have gone ahead and used the bigger size. Since it's softer than the store-bought backpacks, I don't think it would have been a problem. Plus she's been growing quite a bit lately so it probably wouldn't have been oversize for too long.
- I would have made wider straps. Even using the recommended method for turning the straps, they were a major pain. Plus if there's more in the back, I think wider straps would be more comfortable. I'd probably have used a 2-3.5 inch width for the final straps instead of the 1" that the tutorial used.
- I saw a really neat magnet set for bags in the notions aisle at Jo-Ann. I didn't get it this time cuz I knew that her backpack isn't going to close when her school folio is inside, but I'd definitely use this next time and sew one part inside the upper flap and the other to the inside of the body just above the flower.
With her School Folio inside