Drawstring Soccer Backpack – Made from a Placemat!

Today is the last day to take advantage of the Silhouette Rhinestone Promotion so we have a fun little project to share. Here in suburban land, all the tots carry their soccer ball to practice in a drawstring backpack like this. Since I’m a big-time high-roller, I gave Quinn a soccer ball of her own for her birthday yesterday and made her this fun DIY drawstring backpack to go with it. This is a GREAT boy-friendly gift despite my choices above. The best part is that it’s made from a fabric placemat so it comes together right-quick. It’s like the Easiest. Pillow. Ever. but you can wear it on your back!

Read more to find out how to make your own DIY drawstring backpack…

Note: This tutorial uses a 2-sided 14×19″ fabric placemat. If you are planning to sew fabric instead, you will need 2 pieces of canvas-weight (or nylon) fabric sewn together with right-side-facing on two long sides and one short side. Finish edges by trimming with pinking shears or serger. No need to go out of your way to find the placemat. Starting from scratch is just as easy. Or try Jaime’s beautiful version!

1. I started with a 14″x19″ 2-sided fabric placemat.

2. Trim off 1″ along one short edge. This will be the opening of your backpack.

3. Measure down side from opening 2 1/2″ (not 1 1/2″ as shown) and make a small mark

4. Use a seam ripper to open seam 2 1/2″

5. (Not shown) Re-sew all 2 1/2″ seams (4 total) that you just cut so that the folded-under edge of opening stays folded. Make sense?

6. Finish top edge of opening on both sides with serger or zig-zag.

7. Fold top edge over 1/2″ and iron (or rub with fingernail if you’re lazy like me)

8. Then fold over 1″ and pin in place. Repeat steps 7&8 on other side. Make sure the ends (openings of casings) line up well. Do you have a little sewing gauge? Handy.

9. Sew along bottom edge of casing all the way around. At the seams, sew back and forth several times to reinforce opening.

10. I was going to try to leave my inside seams unfinished but they were unraveling so I finished them up with the serger. You can also trim with pinking shears.

11. Now you need to add grommets in the bottom two corners of your bag. Follow manufacturers instructions. Most likely it will suggest that you use interfacing, just iron a small triangle inside both corners and proceed.

12. Now you add your straps. You will need 2 – 2 yard lengths. I was looking at the fabric shop and anything close to what I needed was too pricey for this project. The sales woman suggested I head to the hardware store. This braided polyester was a no-brainer at $5 for 50 yards. It’s even pink! Perf!

13. If you haven’t already, cut 2 – 2 yard lengths. Melt ends with a lighter (or match)

14. Thread one length through casing going in one direction and out the other side, then back through the other side of the casing. Repeat with the other length of cord in the opposide direction.

Slide both ends of rope through grommet and tie in a sturdy knot. Repeat on other side.

15. I added this dazzling pink rhinestone soccer ball using the Silhouette machine. It was not as easy as most silhouette projects. I suspect the rhinestone placement takes some practice. In the end, totally worth knocking tiny rhinestones into holes for 1/2 hour. So sparkly… Again, here’s the Silhouette Rhinestone Promotion that ends today.

If you’re not into pink rhinestone soccer balls, an embroidered monogram or any applique would be a good choice. So what do you think of my Fancy Nancy soccer bag? Leave a comment on any post this week and you could win 3 patterns from Aivilo Charlotte.




This looks like a quick and simple way to carry my running stuff to work so that I can keep working on that last bit of baby weight!! I love the tip about the cording. Cheap! Cheap!

Lee Ann

I love it!! and Target has cute placemats for $1 right now! I bought one yesterday, looks like I need to go back!!! Maybe they have the rope too . . . .


jacinda only you could turn a placemat and rhinestones into something so modern and cute. love this so much.


Great project! I am going to tweak it a bit and make a vinyl insert and attach on the inside when I sew the casing seams to make a drawstring wet bag. Love your projects and tuts! Have been spending the last two weeks whipping up pillowcase dresses for my DD's and friends using your super easy tut! Thanks!

Sweet Simplicity

What a perfect gift for my younger sister. She plays goalie and wants to join my old high school's soccer team when she goes there next year. I'm putting this on my "to craft list" Thank you ladies.


Oh my goodness! Just went to soccer camp tonight and we have two games this week still, I can't wait to make this for my Rowan. She will love it!!


great idea! and I love that you blinged up the soccor bag! I'll keep this project in mind as my girl gets older – my british hubby will no doubt want her enrolled in soccor!

Lily safi

Really This is a very nice and informative post, I read your article this is a great post. Your writing style is also very unique. thanks for you.


This is an excellent tutorial for creating a drawstring backpack. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on how to make a drawstring backpack.


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