London Backpack with Pockets

One of the things I like most about the London Backpack sewing pattern is that it's a great blank slate. It's a simple design that lends itself well to customizing. I've seen some really great versions pop up on Instagram and I love it. Inspired by a few backpacks I spotted on Pinterest, I decided to make one and add a large divided pocket to the front. The pockets are a great place to throw in keys, lip balm, hand sanitizer, or anything else you want to be able to grab quickly. I rolled the pocket lining slightly to the front before I topstitched to create a faux piping look which adds a bit of contrast. Scroll down for a quick tutorial if you'd like to add outer pockets to your London Backpack! If you don't already have the pattern, go grab a copy here

On a somewhat related note, here's a money saving tip I recently discovered! Bag making can get a little pricey due to all of the extras - interfacing, hardware, zippers, etc. One of the ways I save money is by using a rebate app when I shop at Jo-Ann Fabrics. Ibotta (aff. link), a rebate app, has rebates specifically for Jo-Ann stores! I've been using the app for years for things like groceries but only recently realized I could use it for fabric shopping also. Lately there has been a 15% cash back rebate offer for in store purchases but it can vary. I always make sure to look for the rebate anytime I shop there, select the rebate, and then scan the barcode on my receipt using the app to receive the cash back. They also usually have rebates for specific products including fabric, yarn, as well as for larger ticket items like Cricut machines. 

FABRICS USED: Kona Yarrow and Pink

I made a few other small changes to this bag. I widened the straps to work with the width of the hardware I wanted to use. The hardware is solid brass - very pretty but kind of on the heavy side. It's really great quality but you definitely don't want to go swinging your bag around - it would hurt to get hit by those double loop slides. Instead of the interior pocket / drawstring casing I tried something different. Instead of one long drawstring, I cut it into two pieces (each approx. 12" -13" long) and sewed one end of each piece into the side seam of the lining at the height of the grommet markings. I knotted the ends of each tie piece and made a fabric drawstring stop. 

To add an exterior divided pocket to your London Backpack, you'll need the following pieces:

Prepped Bag Front piece (interfaced with interlining basted to wrong side)

Then cut the following pieces:

20" W x 7 1/4" H
Cut 1 each from main fabric, lining fabric, and canvas interlining*

19 1/4" W x 6 7/8" H
Cut 1 from interfacing

*As mentioned in the pattern, I recommend using a layer of canvas (or similar heavyweight fabric) as interlining for the exterior bag pieces if using quilt weight fabrics. It gives the backpack structure while retaining the drape of the fabric. It is optional (particularly if you are using a heavier weight fabric for the exterior of your bag) and can be replaced with other materials such as sew in interfacing, fusible fleece, etc. depending on your preference. 

1. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the main pocket piece. The top edge of the interfacing should align with the top of the pocket piece. Fuse interfacing.

2. Baste the interlining onto the wrong side of the main pocket piece.

3. Place the main pocket piece and lining right sides together, align all 4 edges, and sew together along the top edges.

4. Flip the lining back so the pocket layers are right side out.  Topstitch along the top edge of the pocket.

5. Place the pocket onto the bag front. Align the sides and bottom edges and baste the pocket in place. Continue to Step 1 on page 16 of the tutorial to finish your bag.

Check out some other mods you can try out:

Elastic casing (to replace grommets and ties)

How to enlarge the pattern to make a larger version of the London Backpack

Strap and hardware flap closure

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