Making a roll-top backpack using yoga straps – tutorial

Making a roll-top backpack using yoga straps – tutorial

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Every two weeks I head down to Brighton to catch up with the Ivy Kids Publishing team in the Brighton office of Quarto Publishing – it’s a long slog from Rutland (where I live) to Brighton & I need to take my laptop on the train as well as a few books. Up to two weeks ago, I was just using an old bright blue hiking pack we had, but really wanted something a bit more subtle and professional looking. I had a look around, but all the backpacks I liked were really expensive. So when I saw some simple roll-top backpacks on Pinterest, I suddenly thought why not make one with some left over canvas fabrics I had from a few upholstery projects. I didn’t have any webbing though – except I did have a few old yoga straps in my yoga teaching kit. So there you have it, my DIY roll-top backpack with yoga straps was born.

My backpack has already had it’s first trip to Brighton, and I’m really pleased to say it held up really well, even when I filled it with books for the trip home. This is a really quick and easy project that I completed in an afternoon… so I flung together a few instructions just in case anyone else fancied making one too.


  • Canvas fabric – 1 metre
  • complimentary tone fabric for pocket  – 34 cm x 40cm
  • Lining fabric – 1 metre
  • 3 x yoga belts with D-rings


Cut fabric as per image instructions

* Dotted areas represent wrong side of fabric
Step 1

With right sides facing, sew the longer front panel of the lining fabric to the long side and short side of the side panels (the front panel forms both the front and base of the bag). Then sew the back panel into the side panels and bottom edge of the front panel. Press.

Step 2

With right sides facing, line up the top edges of the lining fabric and pocket fabric and sew a straight edge to join at the top. When you turn both panels thr ight way out, line up the bottom edge so that the pocket fabric males an edge on the lining side. Press and sew in place.

Step 3

From the 3 x yoga belts cut the following lengths:

2 x shoulder straps with D-rings : 35 cm long (measuring just the webbing)

1 x closing strap : 55 cm long

1 x handle :  25 cm long

1 x horizontal strip : 35cm long

2 x bottom shoulder straps : 60 cm long

1 x buckle strap with D rings : 40 cm long (measuring just the webbing)

Now position the top shoulder straps, the handle and the closing strap on the horizontal strip as shown on the diagram. Sew in place.

Step 4

Positioning the horizontal strip facing outwards, and 44cm above the bottom edge of the back panel of the canvas fabric, sew in place with a straight stitch edge long the top and bottom edge of the horizontal strip.

Step 5

Baste the bottom shoulder straps to the bottom edge of the canvas back panel, lining them up with the top shoulder straps.

Step 6

Sandwich the pocket panel between the front canvas panel and centred buckle strap. Sew the along the long edges of the buckle strap to  secure.

Step 7

Fold each of the side panels in half length wise,and press. Sew a straight edge 1cm to the side of the folded edge (the side panels should now measure 12 cm wide).

Step 8

Following the method used for the lining, with right sides facing, and being careful to tuck in the buckle and straps, sew the longer front panel  to the long side and short side of the side panels. Then sew the back panel into the side panels and bottom edge of the front panel. Turn the right sides facing out and press.

Step 9

To neaten and finish off the outside of the bag you can sew a straight stitch along the outer edges of the canvas side, creating an inverted seam edge (it gives it that nice crisp, clean line edge). With the right side facing inwards, tuck the bag lining into outer canvas bag, fold the top edge outwards to conceal raw edges. Stitch in place and press. Join the top shoulder buckles to the bottom shoulder straps, fill it up with goodies, and have fun using it!

There you go, using the yoga straps saves time fitting the D-rings into the webbing, and you could go all multi-coloured with the straps if that takes your fancy.

Have fun, send me photos when you’ve made your bags.