Are you ready to sew a backpack for your American Girl (or other 18 inch) doll?
The pattern and 4 part tutorial are available from this website completely free! If you’d like to follow along online, scroll below to get started.
However, if you’d like to download a copy of the backpack pattern, the fox applique, and the 12 page photo illustrated guidebook to your hard drive, I have made the complete package available for purchase for $2.50. This is handy if you’d like to have access to everything you need offline and allows you have the pattern and instructions forever, even if this website disappears someday (heaven forbid!). This also makes it easier to follow along as you sew, avoiding the hassle of clicking through multiple blog posts to find your place in the tutorial. You can instantly download and print the instructions and patterns after purchase. Please understand that this is the same pattern and tutorial that is available below, but is packaged for your convenience in a single “keep forever, all in one place, offline” file, should you want it! Buy the Guidebook and Pattern Sheets
Let’s get started!
I put together a ten minute intro video to tell you a little more about each version of the dolls’ backpacks and the fabrics and supplies you might need.
Step 1: Download and print the free 18″ Doll Trendy Backpack pattern.
Click to download: Free Trendy Backpack Pattern for American Girl Doll
When you click this link, the pattern should open in your web browser, but (this is important) when I printed the pattern directly from my browser, it printed smaller then actual scale. In order to print the pattern at the correct size, be sure to download the pattern to your computer, open from a pdf viewer (I use Adobe Acrobat, which is free), and print from there. Be sure to choose the option for “Actual Size” when printing. To double check sizing, measure the 1 inch box printed on the pattern. If it measures 1 inch, you’ve got the right size!
Step 2: Gather your supplies.
- Fabric for the body of the backpack. 1/4 yard or fat quarter. Suggested fabrics: Small wale corduroy (Avery’s backpack), linen (Taryn’s backpack), quilter’s cotton, light weight home dec canvas or any light weight canvas, light weight denim, flannel (Caroline’s backpack), light or medium weight woven wool. You could use nylon, if you are brave and can handle slippery fabric! This pattern was not tested with knits, I recommend sticking with light or medium weight, non-stretchy, woven fabrics.
- Fabric for the straps, top loop, and trim. 1/4 yard will be more then enough. Suggested fabrics: Suede cloth (used for Avery’s backpack), faux leather, leather, quilter’s cotton, bias tape (pre-packaged or DIY). You can use a mix of these, as well. I used faux leather and real leather for Caroline and Taryn’s backpacks.
- Fusible Interfacing (Optional) – I didn’t interface the pack I made with baby wale corduroy, but I did use it for the flannel and linen packs. I would definitely recommend adding interfacing if you are using quilter’s cotton for the body of your backpack. Alternatively, you could fully line the backpack.
- Strap Closures – You’ll need two. I used a faux button and velcro closure for Taryn’s pack, plastic sliders for Avery’s pack, and realistic metal buckles (sold as scrapbooking supplies) on Caroline’s pack. I also used eyelets for the notches in the straps for Caroline’s version. As of this writing, you can order the buckles I used on Caro’s pack from Amazon if you can’t find them at Joann or Hobby Lobby.
- Sewing machine, iron, pins, needles (I used 80/12 Universal), and coordinating thread.
- Scraps and Pattern for Applique (Optional) – If you’d like to add the Fox Applique to your doll’s backpack, you can sign up for the free newsletter and I’ll send it to you. Of course you can make up your own design as well! Suggested fabrics: Wool felt, craft felt, interfaced scraps. You can sew, glue, or use a fusible web (I used Steam-a-Seam 2) to attach your applique.
I think that about covers it! Please let me know if you have any questions and, when you are ready, proceed to the sew-along, part 1!