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This project was designed by Louise Briggs using two tea towels upcycled to make a useful reversible drawstring backpack. 

Upcycled Tea Towel Backpack

Upcycled tea towel backpack project

Simply use two brightly coloured tea towels and make this useful backpack - it's reversible too!


You will need...

Materials for upcycled tea towel project

 Two tea towels measuring approx. 16 x 28 inches

6 metres piping cord





Sewing machine


To Sew

Please use a ¼ inch seam allowance throughout.

1. Take two tea towels and remove 5 inches from the bottom of each.Put the cut pieces of fabric to one side. 

Cut off the edges of tea towel

2. Turn over to the wrong side and pin a 1 1/2 inch channel at the top of each tea towel.

Turn over edge of tea towel

3. Stitch the channel down with a straight stich making sure to reverse stitch at each end.

Stitching a channel


4. Take your two tea towel scraps and cut two 5 x 3 inch rectangles. Pin right sides together, sew down pinned edge, cut excess and turn through.

Making tabs

5. Fold in half again and stitch.

Sewing bag tabs

6. Place the two tea towels right sides together sandwiching the two tabs 3 inches from the bottom.

Sandwich the tabs

7. Sew around the tea towels up to where the stitching for the channel begins at the top.

Stitch the drawstring backpack

8. Cut excess fabric and make a diagonal cut up to the stitching on the bottom corners.

Cutting excess fabric

9. Turn through and press.

Turn bag through

10. Cut your cord in half and attach a safety pin onto one end of the first piece of cord. Thread through the channel as shown in the images below then repeat on the other side and with the other piece ofr cord and loosely knot. 

 Threading the cord

Making a drawstring bag

Knotted drawstring


11. Adjust the straps to the length wanted and knot tightly.

Finished drawstring

Here is your finished backpack!

Finished backpack

For more upcycling projects, see our section here.

Projects using upcycled fabrics