I'm calling this the Back to Basics Backpack because it is deceptively simple. No zippers or crazy gimmicks. Just nice fabric and lots of space, making this backpack both cute and usable.
The story behind this bag: Last spring, I made myself a backpack. Just a big drawstring backpack in nice home decor fabric, with suede details. I got tons of compliments on it, because it easily held all of the books that college English majors need to carry to class each day. Most professors required specific editions of each book (and not electronic ones), so all those books add up and over-fill most cute store-bought bags. One of my friends saw it and loved it, so when I saw this challenge, she and this backpack were the first things I thought of.
I have a stash of home decor fabric samples from a great organization in California that takes fabric samples bound for landfills and redistributes them to teachers, local organizations, and general crafters. I took one of those, and folded it until I got enough pieces to make the bag with no scraps leftover. Then added some suede (or faux suede, as it may be) that my mom found at the flea market several years ago to fill in the gaps. The back, bottom, straps, drawstring, and drawstring casing are suede). I used a layer of fleece and neoprene to lightly pad the back of the backpack so it is comfortable to walk and bike with, since my friend bikes to school most days. The backpack wound up around 12 inches tall, 13 inches wide, and 5 inches deep, the same size as the one I had made that she originally liked. There are small open pockets on either side, and several pockets on the inside for small things like keys, a wallet, and pens. The flap has a magnetic snap with two choices to snap with on the body, for snug closure with different amounts of stuff in the bag.
Some detail photos:
The snaps, drawstring, and casing
The lining and inner pockets
I put the bag in the mail a few days ago, so she should have it before classes start. Hope she likes it as much as I do. My friend is lucky I graduated, or the backpack would have become mine. One can never have too many bags, after all.