Cooper "Lite" Folding Backpack

By Tiffany - Sunday, June 08, 2014

I like my Colette Cooper a lot, but I needed a lighter bag for shopping. So, the Cooper "Lite" was born!

It's a nice light, backpack. I was able to use some cheap cotton fabric in my stash to make it.


1. Cut out your fabric

Use the body piece of the Colette Cooper pattern and cut two body pieces on the fold. (Note: if you don't have this pattern, just cut 2 rectangles that are roughly 17" x 20"). I made my piece a little wider at the top and added 2" for the bag opening hem.

2. Sew the bag using french seams

Starting 2" below to top, sew the bag with right sides out. End 2" from the top on the other side. Trim the seam allowances and then flip the bag inside out. Sew the seams a second time about 1/4" from the edge - this is a french seam.

At the top of the bag, snip the seam allowances at the 2" mark. Press open the seams and stitch in a U-shape around the opening. Do this for both sides of the bag.

3. Sew the top hem of the bag and add cord

Sew the hem of the bag (I folded over 1/2" and then another 3/4"). Leave the hem wide enough to fit two cords through.

Cut two pieces of cord that are 60" long each. (Note: if you are having trouble finding cord, I found my cord at a camping supply store in the tent repair area).

Feed one of the cords through one side of the bag opening and then back through the other side.

Do the same with the second cord, starting at the other end.

To stop the cord from fraying at the ends, use a lighter or match to melt the cord a bit.

4. Reinforce the bottom corners.

Apply interfacing to the bottom 2" of the corners (seen in the 1st picture of Step 2).

For extra reinforcement, slide pieces of felt into the corners of the bag, with the bag right side out.

Stitch across the bottom corners and add grommets. Make sure your grommet is just the right size for 2 cords to fit through.

Take the cord on one side of the bag and feed it through the grommet below it. Tie a knot to secure it.

5. Make an inner bag

Cut a piece of fabric about 10" long by 5" wide. Fold the fabric in half so you have a 5" x 5" square. Using french seams, sew side seams. On one side, leave a 1" opening and reinforce it with stitching (as was done for the main bag above).

Turn over the hem about 1/2" and sew hem while cord is in place (a zipper foot can help). Tie the cord ends together.

Sew the smaller bag inside out to the seam allowance of the larger bag (also inside out). Attach it about 2" down from the bag opening.

 That's it! you know have a nice little, folding backpack.

The shoulder straps close the bag opening nice and tight, while it's in use.

Maybe I'll go use it to buy more fabric!

  • Share:

You Might Also Like