Make a Backpack Organizer

This is all the stuff I carry when I go out for a day of sketching. Yes, I really do need all of that and use nearly every item each time.

I sometimes use a messenger bag but get tired carrying it off one shoulder.  I really like the backpack.  I got it at significant sale.  It is waterproof, a necessity here in the Pacific Northwest!  The backpack is the easiest and most comfortable way to carry it all.  It even has a few organizer pockets, but not enough.  So many little items fall to the bottom. It’s annoying.

My solution is to make an organizer. I normally carry a lightweight board made of coroplast.  Its use while sketching is to hold the book, palette, water container while I sketch.  That’s it under the clips and triangle. It becomes the form to hold the shape of the fabric organizer.

I chose a piece of heavy cotton fabric I had in my stash. I don’t know the content, but it’s probably a heavy cotton duck. I used the coroplast board as the pattern.  I drew with a pen that will wash out but any will do as this is not clothing we’re making. Make sure to draw seam allowances.

After drawing around the board, I flipped it, allowed a little extra space and continued drawing the pattern. My plan is to fold the fabric and just sew 2 seams up the sides.

The long piece is left from cutting. I’ll use it to make the pockets. I cut out the fabric with pinking shears as this fabric is likely to fray and I’m not going to do fold over seams.

Midway through making it, I changed up how I do the pockets. Measure for size against the item. I made two wide sections to run across the main piece so it will be attached with the side seams.

Then I marked where I want the pockets to

Pin in place

I used a zig-zag stitch to attach the pocket sections and to divide them.

I made a set of pockets for each side of the organizer. Now I have plenty of pockets for the small items and the entire thing pulls out of the backpack, giving me easy access to all these items.

In response to Tina’s comment, here is an image of how it looks in the backpack:

Backpack Organizer   I’ve shared this tutorial as a pdf file.  Just click that link.



About redharparts

Born in Michigan. Attended undergrad and graduate universities there. I've lived in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state). I'm a retired Medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology. I've enjoyed exploring historical re-creation through the SCA. I costume in several fandoms. Lately I've returned to Art and have taken up Urban Sketching, a version of en plein air painting.
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6 Responses to Make a Backpack Organizer

  1. Fabio says:

    Well done, Kate! Thank you!

  2. miatagrrl says:

    You’re a DIY diva! Will you show a photo of how it goes into the pack? Does it get attached at the top somehow to keep it from slumping down in the bottom?

  3. I love looking at all the equipment that you take out and about with you. It makes me want to pack up a bag and find someone peaceful to sit and spend my day immersed in paint!

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