How to Make a Drawstring Backpack

Item # X-HT-200383

Also known as a sackpack or a cinch sack, drawstring backpacks are a great way to carry around your everyday essentials. Not only are they great as a carryall bag, you can also use them as a gym bag, overnight bag, travel carry-on and more. They're also great learning-to-sew projects. Learn how to make your own drawstring backpack with our comprehensive video tutorial.

Learn how to sew a drawstring backpack.

We chose DuraWax™ Light Waxed Canvas for our drawstring bag. DuraWax is a heavy-duty, dyed cotton duck fabric with a wax coating. The appeal of waxed canvas is that the fabric patinas beautifully when it's folded, scuffed or scratched, creating a weathered, rugged look unique to waxed canvas. This makes DuraWax a great choice for backpacks, messenger bags, dopp kits, and other bags and bag accessories. We paired our DuraWax Waxed Canvas with a marine cotton duck fabric and chose Nylon 200D material for a lightweight lining.

Our DIY drawstring backpack's finished size is 18 inches by 14-1/2 inches and features a large front pocket for extra storage and to keep things separate and organized. The bag cinches closed using 1/4-inch rope from New England Ropes — the leader in high-quality rope. We used the Sailrite® Deluxe Fabricator® Sewing Machine to sew our backpack. This Deluxe version of our straight stitch industrial sewing machine features a stunning maple butcher block tabletop with cutouts for storing notions and accessories. The black powder-coated table legs are made from high-quality steel and deliver the ultimate vibration-free sewing experience.

If you're looking for other fantastic bag projects, be sure to check out the "Bags" section under our "Hobby Projects" DIY page. There you'll find free tutorials on how to sew a roll-top backpack, duffle bags, tote bags, wallet and more. Turn to Sailrite® for all of your DIY needs. We have fabrics, hardware, notions, tools and more to create projects for your home, auto, boat and patio.

What do you think of this drawstring backpack design? Are there any other projects and how-to videos you'd like to see from us? What would you make with DuraWax Waxed Canvas? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts and ideas!

Video Chapters:

  • Cutting Out Fabric Panels — 0:48 min.
  • Sewing Zippered Pocket — 1:28 min.
  • Adding Bag Top, Tabs & Back — 8:11 min.
  • Cutting & Sewing Lining — 13:13 min.
  • Adding Drawstring Sleeve — 15:46 min.
  • Sewing Inside Lining — 19:57 min.
  • Adding Drawstrings — 28:56 min.
  • Materials List — 32:23 min.

Materials List:

  • DuraWax™ Light Waxed Canvas Cotton Duck 12 oz. (We used #122408)
  • Cotton Duck Fabric
  • Nylon 200D 60" Fabric (We used #1002)
  • YKK® Continuous Zipper Chain #5 (Metal Chain) (#122357)
  • YKK® Zipper Slider #5 Single Non‑Locking (Metal Chain) (#122342)
  • New England Sta‑Set Double Braid Rope 1/4" (6mm) White (#812)
  • V‑92 White UV Bonded Polyester Thread 4 oz. (1,350 yds.) (#100079)
  • Seamstick 1/4" Basting Tape for Canvas & Upholstery (36 yds.) (#122065)

Tools List:

  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" (#102400)
  • Comfort Grip Rotary Cutter 60mm (#9655)
  • 3-in-1 Mark and Trace (#122802)
  • Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat 24" x 36" (#120257)
  • Sailrite® Deluxe Fabricator® Sewing Machine Package (110V) (#400600)
  • Wonder Clips Assorted Colors (Pk10) (#121876)
  • Deluxe 5 1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide (#103597)