The oilcloth project

I have been wanting to try a tutorial from the U-handblog for quite some time now – just had to work up the nerve… She has lots of great tutorials there, but the one I had my mind set on was the oilcloth backpack. I have been preparing for it for a while (you guessed it, this is the project for Ronja I have been mentioning) – purchasing stuff, drawing the simple patterns, and cutting the oilcloth and lining. I ordered the sew-in interfacing from the U-handbag shop, because I couldn’t find it in the local shops here – I didn’t want to risk replacing it with something that wasn’t good enough. It arrived in the mail Monday, and yesterday evening I started sewing – so this is the final product.

Flowers and stripes backpack - mosaic 

Actually, I still need to do one thing. The backpack is for Ronja, and she doesn’t yet know how to tie a bow. Therefore, I want to add a cord stopper, so that she will be able to open and close the bag herself.

The bag did present a few challenges. First of all because sewing oilcloth just isn’t terribly easy. The tutorial recommends that you use a non-stick foot for your sewing machine, but I didn’t have one, and I decided to go ahead and give it a try without it. After making the bag, I would say that it isn’t necessary, but I do see why it would be nice to have. And I didn’t even use the really shiny kind of oilcloth – that would probably make it even more useful.

Flowers and stripes backpack - open flap 

One of the difficult things about sewing with oilcloth is that you are very limited when it comes to pinning, so you really have to keep an overview while sewing, because the fabric doesn’t always move the way you want it to. It worked out fine, though. The backpack isn’t easy peasy, but it’s not terribly difficult either – it just takes a bit of preparation, and a bit of patience, when doing the tricky parts. To tell you the truth, I was surprised at how quickly it all went, once I started sewing – the tutorial is awesome and very well illustrated.

I didn’t really alter anything – except that I chose to make the pocket 4 cm narrower, and I chose to use purchased cord instead of making a tie – naturally because it has to work with a cord stopper.

Ronja loves her new backpack – and that’s enough to make me happy. As a bonus, I’m really satisfied with the result myself – and I highly recommend this tutorial!


Sorry, I left out an important detail. The oilcloth I used for the bag is from Stof og Stil, a Danish fabric store, and for the lining and the straps I used Farmers Market from Sandi Henderson.


  1. Jeannine McCloskey says:

    Oh yippee I am the first to tell you how incredibly beautiful this backpack turned out. Ronja must be so excited. Can you make me one too? Just kidding. I love it. Of course, I fell in love with the fabric. Where on earth did you find that lovely piece of fabric. As always, you matched it up nicely with the Farmers market. Great work Astrid. Love your blog!

  2. Yvonne says:

    I am not surprised Ronja loves the bag, I love it too. I have heard of uhandblog but never bought anything from them before because of the shipping mostly.

  3. Ruth says:

    The bag is wonderful! You did such a nice job on it!

    I would like to make one this size for my grandson to carry his stuff. Do you think the pattern would work just as well with regular fabric instead of oilcloth?

  4. Astrid says:

    Jeannine – You are sweet! Thank you! 🙂 I added a link at the bottom of the post for the shop in which I purchased the oilcloth – it’s Danish, I’m afraid.

    Yvonne – thanks! Shipping from the UK to Denmark is fairly reasonable – and as opposed to shipping from the US, we don’t have to add duty and VAT because it’s within the European Union. I haven’t got a clue as to how much shipping to the other side of the world would be…

    Karen – thank you so much! 🙂

    Amy – Ronja snatched it away even before I had finished it – I was only barely allowed to have it back for the finishing touches… 😉 Thank you!

    Melanie – I like the stripes, the flowers, and the apples together too – a bit wild I guess, but then again it’s for a 4-year old. Thanks! 🙂

    Its_Lily – thank you! 🙂

    Medrie – I hope so! 🙂

    Ruth – Thank you so much! I’m certain this would be great using regular fabric. I would probably use a sturdy quality – like home decor fabric, though – and still use the heavy sew-in interlining. Please share pictures if you make it! 🙂

    Dana – Thanks! 🙂

    Susanne – Tak skal du altså have! 🙂 Jeg tror altså ikke, at jeg er sådan specielt dygtig, men jeg er nok ret tålmodig, når det kommer til at sy – og det gør en stor forskel. Det er mit frirum, hvor det går i det tempo, det går i. Ingen der står og tripper, for at noget skal være færdigt på et bestemt tidspunkt (næsten), så jeg tager bare en proces ad gangen – det er dejligt!

  5. kestch says:

    Hi Astrid
    Lovely fabrics!
    I’m in the process of making this with Amy Butler fabrics and heavy interfacing. One question though – what is the diameter of your cording?

  6. Erica says:

    This is the most adorable backpack! The fabric is amazing! I am going to attempt to use this pattern to make a backpack for my three year old daughter! Does the store where you purchased the fabric ship to the US? I would love to be able to purchase it!

  7. Astrid says:

    kestch – Thank you so much! I’m sorry for the late reply – I have been so busy lately – I’ll measure the diameter a bit later and get back to you!

    Ruth – can’t wait to see your version! 🙂

    Marina – Ja, den er altså rigtig fin. Klart anbefalelsesværdig!

    Erica – Your daughter will love this! I actually don’t think they ship to the US – I would help you out, but I don’t know when I’ll be going there again, and it’s quite a while away. Hope you find some beautiful oilcloth! 😉

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