April in Paris Combination Backpack Tote

April in Paris Combination Backpack Tote

Combination Backpack Tote
Combination Backpack Tote

Here is a terrific easy to sew combination backpack tote.  You can carry it either as a tote for everyday or as a backpack when at the beach, in the mountains or wherever.  This bag is both fun and functional and is a snap to make.  It takes a few bag making skills but nothing you can’t conquer.  All of the instructions and a full tutorial on how to construct this Paris in the Springtime combination backpack and tote are right here.  Lets get started. This post contains affiliate links that if you click on them and purchase a product I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  

What you will Need: Combination Backpack Tote

  • 1 Yard of Main Body Fabric
  • 1/4 Yard of Bottom Body Fabric
  • 1 1/4 yard of Lining fabric
  • pellon 808
  • 2 Zippers (Optional)
  • 8 1″ D-Rings
  • 4 1″ 1″ Swivel Clips
  • 2 1″ Tri-Glide Sliders (optional)
  • Cording
  • Cord Locks
  • Standard Sewing Supplies
What you will Need April in Paris Tote, April in Paris Backpack Tote
What you will Need April in Paris Backpack Tote

Step 1:

Cut: two rectangles 16 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ of your main body fabric and interfacing.  Then cut two rectangles 8″ x 19″ of your bottom body fabric and interfacing.  Cut two rectangles 24 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ of your lining fabric.  Cut three rectangles 4″ x 23″ of either main body or bottom body fabric for tabs and straps and interfacing.

Step 2:

Fuse the interfacing to all main body, bottom body and tab and strap pieces.  Take the three 4″ x 23″ pieces and fold them in half lengthwise and press.  Open them up then fold the edges into the center and fold again so that the straps measure 1″ x 23″.  Top stitch both sides of the straps length wise. Take one of the straps and cut it into eight 3″ pieces.  Put a 3″ piece through each of the 1″ D Rings and sew together near the edge of the D Ring.  Set aside.  For the two remaining straps, sew a swivel hook at each end of both straps near the edge of the clip.  If you want to make the bag adjustable now is the time to add the tri-glide sliders.  I chose to add the sliders so that the bag is completely adjustable. If you have never used sliders or made a strap adjustable here is a terrific tutorial on the process.

Strap - April in Paris Tote
Strap – April in Paris Tote

Step 3:

This step is optional.  If you want to add either a zippered pocket or a slip pocket to the outside of the bag, now is the time to do it.  I added a zipper pocket to one side of my bag. In order to add a zipper pocket decide what size pocket you want.  I chose a 16″ pocket for my bag.  I placed the zippered pocket 6 1/2″ down from the top raw edge. The process of adding the pocket is quite simple.  Take a look at my “How to Add a Zippered Pocket” tutorial here for complete instructions.

Exterior Zippered Pocket, April in Paris Combination backpack tote
Exterior Zippered Pocket

Step 4:

Take 2 of the prepared D Rings and baste them 4 1/2 ” from each side of the main body fabric so that the D Ring is facing up.  Then baste 4 of the remaining D Ring tabs to the top of the main body pieces facing down 4 1/2″ from the each side.  Then baste one each of the remaining D-Ring tabs to each side of the outer main body fabric 8 1/2″ down from the top raw edge.  All of the D-Ring tabs should be in place at this point.

Add D-Ring Tab, April in Paris combination Backpack Tote
Add D-Ring Tab

Step 5:

Sew the 2 pieces of Main Body Fabric to the 2 pieces of Bottom Body fabric using 1/2″ seam allowance right sides together making sure that the D-rings remain on the outside. Then sew the two pieces together right sides together starting at the top.  Sew down 3/4″ and back stitch.  Skip 1/4″ then sew the remainder of the side catching the side tabs and making sure the D-rings are on the outside. This 1/4″ space will act as the entrance to the drawstring casing for the backpack.  Once the sides have been sewn together, sew the bottom seams together using 1/2″ seam allowance.

Sew Upper Outer Fabric with D-Ring to Bottom Fabric, April in Paris Combination Backpack Tote
Sew Upper Outer Fabric with D-Ring to Bottom Fabric

Step 6:

Now it is time to box the bottom.  Take one of the corners of the bottom of the bag and match it to the side measuring down 2 1/2″ from the point and 4″ across.  Sew across the 4″ line.  Repeat for the other side.  Now the outer part of the bag is complete.

Step 7:

For the lining, you need to decide if you want to add any pockets.  I decided to add another zipper pocket and slip pocket.  The process is exactly the same as for the outer body zipper pocket.  I decided to place this pocket 4″ down from the top raw edge using the same technique in my “How to Add a Zippered Pocket” tutorial.  I then added a slip pocket to the other side also 4″ down from the top.

For the slip pocket, I simply fused some interfacing onto a 9″ x 14″ rectangle of fabric sewed it to another 9″ x 14″ rectangle of fabric, turned it and pressed it.  I then top stitched the top for a finished look then sewed the three sides onto the main outer body. I sewed a seam down the center to separate into two. Nothing to it. Once the pockets were added I sewed the two pieces together and boxed the corners as I did for the main body except that I left the center of the bottom open so that I could turn the bag.  (As you can see I decided to change the lining from pink to teal.  I thought there was too much pink and the teal really grabbed my attention.)

Inside View of Zippered Pocket, April in Paris Combination Backpack Tote
Inside View of Zippered Pocket
Inside View of Slip Pocket, April in Spring Combination Backpack Tote
Inside View of Slip Pocket

Step 8:

Place the main body of the bag right side out into the lining of the bag right side in and sew together at the top right sides together using 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn the bag using the space you left at the bottom of the lining.  Press the bag.  Top stitch the top of the bag 1/4″ down for a nice finished look. Then stitch a second line 1/2″ below the first. This creates the casing for the cord.

Step 9:

Thread your cording using either a threader, bodkin, or a safety pin through the hole you left at the side of the outer body.  You can use either one or two cords.  I chose to use two cords for this application. Once the cords have been threaded you can either knot them or use cord stops.  I used cord stops.  They are relatively inexpensive and give a nice finished look. Once all of the small details are finished, stitch the opening in the lining either by hand or machine.  I like to hand stitch my lining for a cleaner look.

Step 10: Combination Backpack Tote

This bag can be carried as a tote or a backpack. in order to carry it as a large fold-over tote snap the straps to the side D-rings and fold over the top.  If you are carrying a lot of items you can carry it long way by snapping the straps to the top D-rings.  For the Backpack, snap one set to the top of the bag and the other to the bottom set of tabs and pull the draw string closed.  Now you have a completed the perfect Paris in the Spring Backpack and Tote Combination.  How fun is that?

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