Monday, October 8, 2012

Ninja Backpacks with a How-To

I was asked by my youngest son to make him a backpack. This is no surprise because he often asks me to make him a back pack. He is creating quite a collection.

This time though, he didn't just want a backpack, he wanted a ninja backpack.

I knew exactly what to do! 

As you can see, I not only made one for my youngest son, I made one for each, plus one!

I chose a simple drawstring bag this time around. Usually when I make a backpack I go all out with adjustable straps, a magnetic snap, and all the extras. But, to be honest, with all of the backpacks I am asked to make for these guys, I knew simple was best! These are totally functional. They are big enough to carry folders, small books, a snack, etc. You just have to keep the load light. These backpacks are made for fun, so it totally works!

Now, you may be looking at that ninja face and thinking you've seen it somewhere before. If you have any Lego fans in your house, as I do, then you probably have. I totally used the Lego Ninjas as my inspiration for these bags!

Maybe you're thinking you'd like to make one too? Well, these are super easy and inexpensive to make! I used fat quarters, scrap fabric, ribbon, and wonder under to make these. I made each in about an hour, and you can too!

So, get ready for some fun!

Gather your supplies: 
  • 2 fat quarters, any color you want just make sure they match OR 2 pieces of fabric cut 17 1/2" x 13 1/2"
  • yellow scrap fabric 13 1/2" wide by 3" high
  • black scrap fabric, you only need a small amount
  • a roll of 5/8" yellow ribbon, cut 2 pieces to a yard and half each
  • wonder under
  • iron on stabilizer
  • sewing machine
  • matching thread 
To get started you need to iron out the fat quarters and cut them into 17 1/2" x 13 1/2" rectangles. With right sides together measure down 2 inches and mark it.

You're going to need to cut a small slit, about a 1/4 inch, on both sides. Make sure you cut through both pieces of fabric. Taking one piece at a time fold the slit into the wrong and press with an iron.

This is the first step to making the casing for your drawstring. Next, fold down the top of the fabric about a 1/4 inch.

Then, fold again to the bottom of the slit.

Now, sew it closed. Repeat on other piece of fabric.

Now that you have both casings complete we're going to make the ninja face for the front of the bag! 

*I am going to assume you know what Wonder Under is, and how to use it. If you've never used it before, the instructions on the package are pretty easy to understand.  =) 

First you need to cut a piece of wonder under 13 1/2" wide and 3" high. Iron it onto the back of the yellow fabric. Before peeling off the paper backing you are going to cut it to shape. I folded mine in half and cut a curve on the top and bottom so that it would look like a ninja mask once opened back up.

After that I peeled off the paper backing, positioned it about 4" from the top of the bag, and then ironed it in place.

Once you have that attached you are ready to make the eyes, and eyebrows on the black fabric. (In the picture the fabric looks blue, I assure you its black!) I cut a square piece of wonder under and ironed it to the back of the black fabric.

Then I drew the eyes and eyebrows on.

After I had them the size and shape I wanted them, I cut them out, peeled off the paper backing and positioned them on the yellow. Once I found just the right spot, I ironed them in place.

Making the facial features is the most tedious part of the whole project, and it's really not that tedious! It's smooth sailing from here!

Now that the face is together, I ironed the stabilizer to the back piece of the backpack behind where the face pieces are, this will be hidden because it will be inside the bag. That's just for added support when you are sewing them in place. I used the applique method to attach the eyes, eyebrows and yellow piece. Basically what I did is used the zig-zag stitch and set it to a small stitch length, that way the zig-zags are really close together.

Then you just stitch around each piece.

I also added the little black line under the eyes because my son insisted it be there! You could skip this step.

For the white of the eyes I just used white thread and stitched the zig-zag through it. Your ninja face should now be complete!

All that's left to do now is place the ribbon in the casing, position the ribbon straps, and sew it closed! Almost there!

With right sides facing together you are going to sew the backpack closed. Start just below the casing and sew the sides and bottom closed. I recommend leaving a small opening at the bottom sides of the bag for the ribbon to be sewn in place. If you don't you'll just have to rip the seam open and sew it back closed, which is what I usually end up doing.

Now you can place the ribbon in the casing. I used a safety pin to push the ribbon through. Start on one side, push it through, then make it come back around on the other side. Repeat starting on the other side at the opposite end.

It should look like this now.

Finally you are going to put the ribbon ends inside the bag and through the little openings. Just sew them in, reinforcing them a few times, trim the corners, turn it right side out, and you're done!

A fun new backpack! 

For even more fun, make them in all the ninja colors like I did! Well, except for the white ninja. I haven't done that one yet. I say yet because my oldest son insists they have a complete set! Ha ha!

I hope this was somewhat easy to understand. I know there are lots of good tutorials on how to make a drawstring backpack out there if I didn't make sense. Of course, you can always ask me and I will be happy to help!

Have a blessed day friends!


  1. Neat! I have to stop by your house and see those in person... they are great.

  2. Oh, they are the best, love, love love them! Stopping by from Sugar Bee :) Pinning these!

    1. Glad you like them! Thanks for stopping by! =)



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