11 easy-to-sew school bags 🎒send ’em back in style!

When is school back in session? Soon! (Unless school’s already started where you are, that is!)

Fresh clothes, fresh shoes, fresh haircut, fresh start—maybe you remember the beginning of those dear-old-golden-rule days the same way too? A new bag, backpack, pencil case, or other container to corral all your school stuff was always a special treat too.

If you’ve got kids in your life—whether they’re preschool-aged or college-bound—a surprise gift of a handmade bag will set the scene for a great school year. Today we’ve rounded up 11 ideas for making your kids’ first day back a little brighter. Let’s have a look!

Make a pouch for all those freshly sharpened colored pencils:

Colored-Pencil Pouch
Colored-Pencil Pouch from
Super Cute Paper Piecing

Or a cute wristlet for a fashionista:

Apple Wristlet
Apple Wristlet from
Super Cute Paper Piecing

A favorite high schooler or college student would love this backpack, which includes ample storage space plus a compartment to hold a small laptop:

Shades Laptop Backpack
Shades Laptop Backpack from
Windy City Bags

This practical duffel bag is great for gym class and sporting trips:

Jump-Start Duffel
Jump-Start Duffel
from Windy City Bags

🦉 Whoo-whoo 🦉 would love this small zip-purse, perfect for keeping little-girl essentials nearby?

Owl Zip
Owl Zip from
Simple, Fun & Quickly Done

This mini-charm-square friendly journal cover will turn students’ writings into keepsakes:

Charming Journal Cover
Charming Journal Cover from
Moda All-Stars: Mini-Charm Quilts

This roomy tote will remind a hard-working student that her friends are always there for support:

True Friend Tote
True Friend Tote from
Cottage-Style Charm

Encourage students to jot down their hopes and dreams:

Secrets and Dreams Folder
Secrets and Dreams Folder from
Patchwork Loves Embroidery

Or use your scraps to create a little pouch to house the little things:

In the Clouds Patchwork Pouch
In the Clouds Patchwork Pouch from
Sew Many Gifts

This layered satchel will make it cool to be at school:

Layered Satchel
Layered Satchel from
Style and Swing

And here’s a super-special bag for the student who’s a quilter in the making:

Grandmother's Flower Garden Tote
Grandmother’s Flower Garden Tote from
Yoko Saito’s Bags for Everyday Use

How many bags have you made since you started sewing?

  • 1 to 5
  • 6 to 10
  • 11+
  • Quilts only, so far!

Tell us in the comments!


78 Comments (leave a comment)

  • 11+ I think quilters are naturally bag ladies. Those are really cute bags. I was going to pick one out to tell you about, but they are all so cute. A couple of them would be great to hold sewing notions. (just saying) 🙂

    —Phyllis K Menefee on August 10, 2018
  • I’ve made at least 25-30 bags of various types since I started sewing/quilting. I do them as a break from quilting.

    —Donna Schalge on August 10, 2018
  • I have made many bags, 11 or more in my sewing days. When Vera Bradley made all those bags we could not afford them, so I figured out how to make the large zippered duffle from quilted fabric for my daughter. Looked just like a VB but it was made by me.
    Now that my children are grown, I concentrate on quilting. Love to make table runners and table squares, along with wall hangings. If there is a family anniversary or wedding a full size quilt is in order. I love to be creative. It’s in my heart.

    Gayle Jacobs on August 10, 2018
  • Too many to remember or count! I’ve been making bags for years…long before it became popular, and found a purse pattern I really love along the way, too. Now I make a new purse whenever I need a change, and it usually comes with a new bag…you can’t have too many bags and they always make great gifts!

    —Debbie on August 10, 2018
  • 11+

    mandy whalen on August 10, 2018
  • More than 11, large and small.

    —Judy B on August 10, 2018
  • 1 to 5 I believe…

    —Monica Craddock on August 10, 2018
  • I am known as the Bag Lady in my quilt guild. I make all my purses and totes. I try to match the color of my outfit to my bag. I have been making my own wallets for years. I think I am on fifth wallet which I made recently. I was putting together fabric for a purse yesterday. The book would be well used in my library.

    —Donna Olson on August 10, 2018
  • That covers a lot of years so I may have forgotten some, but I’d guess at least 6-10. My abilities have definitely improved! I think there’s still room for improvement – I’m about to tackle a much more complicated purse pattern…still working to wrap my head around the instructions before I start cutting!

    —Trudi on August 10, 2018
  • I’ve lost count, I do try to take pictures of all that I send off as gifts, just so I can remember what colors I liked when combined! Just this week I’ve made 7 cross body bags as gifts. I do love all the designs pictured above, and love some of the colors of fabrics used too!! Well done!!

    Louise Wagner on August 10, 2018
  • I have only made one but I really want to make some more. There are so many nice ones and so much perfect fabric.

    —Joanne O'Neal on August 10, 2018
  • I love sewing bags too. I’m probably in the 11 plus range.

    —Virginia Over on August 10, 2018
  • 8 bags

    —Karin on August 10, 2018
  • Love making bags – 11+ for sure. And that’s not counting the many favor bags that I’ve made for various wedding and baby showers. Currently making Halloween bags for my granddaughters. So much fun. 🙂

    —Evelyn Nodal on August 10, 2018
  • I’ve made a ton of bags over the years – even teach kids how to make bags and a few adults. Going to teach a class on the Camden bag in the very near future. So, I’m always looking for new and unique bag pattern to work with. I would love to get my hands on some new and exciting patterns!

    —Eilene on August 10, 2018
  • I love making bags! I have lost count of how many I have made but well over 11. Some have been for Guild tombolas and others as gifts and of course one or two for me!

    —Carys Torres on August 10, 2018
  • Over 11 bags

    —Janet Flugum on August 10, 2018
  • Way over 11 … all shapes and sizes!! I love making them and giving them as gifts!!

    —Janet Leigh North on August 10, 2018
  • I have made 9 bags and have fabric to make more.

    —Rita Lusk on August 10, 2018
  • I have made lots of bags….mostly tote bags but a few actual purse type bags. They are always very satisfying to make.

    Sue Smith on August 10, 2018
  • Just one but love Yoko’s so that might go up to two!

    —MJ on August 10, 2018
  • 6-10 I’m mostly a Quilter, but sometimes I need to make something different and a little faster. Bags are so useful and beautiful.

    —Joy Dickson on August 10, 2018
  • About 6. But these projects are so cute, I’ll have to make some of them.

    —Debbie Yates on August 10, 2018
  • New to bag making.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    —karen on August 10, 2018
  • I enjoy bags and they are my go to for relief after a big project. I also make them for gifts. I have lost count of the total but I did 12 for gifts last Christmas so you know it i a BIG number.

    —Anita M on August 10, 2018
  • I Have made so many bags and purses I have lost tract of the amount. long before I started quilting. For years my 2 daughters would get at least two purses/bags a year. They were my go to for gifts.

    —Sandy on August 10, 2018
  • I love making bags and have done more than 20 of them. Sometimes I’m not thrilled with the results, but I can usually fix any problems. I like to customize a pattern for my needs, adding pockets, changing the strap, etc.

    —Marcia Gilbreath on August 10, 2018
  • 11+ oh if only, I have a super bag passion and I think 100+ is more like it! Love them as gifts for friends and family. I have to try Windy City patterns as I see a couple must dos!

    —Kathy G on August 10, 2018
  • 6 to 10

    —Mary on August 10, 2018
  • I do not have an actual count, but 11+ for sure. I also make leather purses as well as quilted ones. I have recycled leather jackets by making purses from them. I do custom designs.

    —Gladys Bacon-Rust on August 10, 2018
  • 1 to 5 bags. Lots of fun to make!

    —Helen Bowie on August 10, 2018
  • I have made more than I can count. Since I have quite a collection of quilts I have started to make small projects. People have loved the various bags I have given them.

    —Jackie Wisherd on August 10, 2018
  • Probably 6-10, mostly for my granddaughters.

    —Virginia in AK on August 10, 2018
  • I don’t remember exactly how many bags I’ve made, but probably about five.

    —Laura Haywood on August 10, 2018
  • I’ve made well over 11 bags, starting with pretty velveteen ones I made in high school from a golden hands magazine. Still making bags

    —Sue MacLeod on August 10, 2018
  • One, only one, and I love it…why haven’t I made more????

    —Carol on August 10, 2018
  • Well over 11. I love making bags of different styles.

    —Diana DeWitt on August 10, 2018
  • I have made 11+ over the many years that I have been sewing. Fun to make and fairly quick depending on the bag.

    —Lynette Wilson on August 10, 2018
  • I have made probably 7 or 8. One was huge with pockets for rulers and cutting mats all made out of scraps. You could call me the bag lady because I buy quilted bags and make them I probably have 35 in all but you never have too many

    —Barbara Lotthammer on August 10, 2018
  • 11+!!

    —LauraJean on August 10, 2018
  • I have made over 11 and plan to keep on making them!

    —Ann West on August 10, 2018
  • One to five. Fun to make, but I enjoy larger projects.

    —Janet G. on August 10, 2018
  • I have made 1-5 bags since I started quilting.

    —Janet Wiener on August 10, 2018
  • I make several bags every week but they are not bags that women would use. My husband is a historic re-eanactor and I make bags called haversacks every week. I sell the bags to other re-enactors at Colonial Market Fairs. I would like to make bags for my daughter and grand daughter but I just haven’t done any yet.

    —Angela Bowling on August 10, 2018
  • I would have to say 11+ because I have lost count. I have made a different assortment over the years. Some for me most for the grand kids.

    —Wendy on August 10, 2018
  • I estimate my count at about 15 totes, purses, and zip pouches. Some have been for gifts and some have been for me. It is nice to have one-of a-kind accessories.

    —Maria L Zook on August 10, 2018
  • None so far but I would love to start.

    Sandra Pardue on August 10, 2018
  • I’ve made 6 to ten bags….bags are the greatest gifts!!!!

    —Katherine Hanson on August 10, 2018
  • 1-5 bags. Am at a time when there is time to make more items

    —Donna on August 10, 2018
  • Way more than 11 !!!

    —Barbara Burkhalter on August 10, 2018
  • Definitely over 11. I love sewing bags and trying different pouch and bag patterns.

    —Jo Barr on August 10, 2018
  • 11 or more. For a while I made them for all my family. I keep collecting
    Patterns and make them every once in a while.

    —Christie on August 10, 2018
  • 11+ i cant help myself!

    —Rose-Marie Christie on August 10, 2018
  • I love bag patterns and books…I probably have more of them than bags. I think I’ve made 6-10 bags.

    Kristin on August 10, 2018
  • Hundreds, more than I can count. I am one of the original "bag ladies". LOL. I love to make bags and pouches they are so cute!

    —Debbie M on August 10, 2018
  • I’ve made way more than 11. I used to make them to sell. I like to make my own because I can make them to suit me and the stuff I pack around. Fun!

    —Marsha on August 10, 2018
  • 10+ I love bag making and this book would help me make even more. Love them

    —Linda Christianson on August 10, 2018
  • too many bags to count-and most are given as gifts.I cannot remember the last "store bought" wallet or bag/purse that I bought-make my own!

    —Julie Deisinger on August 10, 2018
  • At least a dozen bags

    —Sandi kelly on August 10, 2018
  • Over a dozen and still going strong.

    —Lerlene Nevaril on August 10, 2018
  • I have made 6 bags

    —Marlene Baasch on August 10, 2018
  • I haven’t made any bags yet, but I have 2 nieces, so it’s on my bucket list!

    —Teri Gailey on August 10, 2018
  • More than 11 plus. I enjoy making them and giving them as gifts. They are always received. Love Yoko Saito’s bag.

    —Carol Gouveia on August 10, 2018
  • 11+ I love to make bags and I never buy any because I like the uniqueness of making my own

    —Renea Yarolim on August 10, 2018
  • Sewing bags, I really enjoy sewing them, but how many? I would guess there are about 20. There comes a time of where to store them. My daughter in law even had me sew 2 for her before traveling to Australia. If there a new book on this subject, I’m in for the challenge.

    —Althea Klosterman on August 10, 2018
  • I’ve made hundreds! I used to design and sew bags out of customer’s military uniforms for Flybagz and Thread & Valor. Unfortunately those companies are no longer in business, but I had a lot of fun designing and sewing custom bags. Several celebrities even own bags I made.

    —Shelley Needham on August 10, 2018
  • 11 so far. ..love making them and seeing them being used… happyness04431@yahoo.com

    —Anna brown on August 10, 2018
  • I’m guessing more than 10. Several gifts, a couple for me, and donations to the fire company and quilt guild.

    —Linda Ahn on August 10, 2018
  • I’ve made at least a dozen and have lots more I want to make. One can never have too many totes or bags.

    —SandyMay on August 10, 2018
  • I’ve made 1- 5 bags. I had started many more and got frustrated, but began making my own when I didn’t want to pay for bags I knew I could make from my stash.

    —Karen on August 11, 2018
  • I have made over 11; that is, waaaaaaay over 11! I usually make a new bag every season and have done so for many years. I give some for gifts and use many myself. Love to make bags!

    —Jo Anne on August 11, 2018
  • I’ve made 2 bags. I have the best of intentions, but alas I cannot complete. This book would help me finish what I buy for.

    —Stephanie Woodward on August 11, 2018
  • 3 or 4. I may have forgotten one or two. They have all turned out great, but I find them intimidating to start. These bags look more user friendly.

    —Linda Towers on August 11, 2018
  • Definitely more than 11. Sometimes it is nice to make something quick as well as utilitarian.

    —Betsy P. on August 11, 2018
  • Have made well over a dozen! I was making blue jean purses for sale. They were so much fun & could be easily customized in so many ways!

    —Connie on August 11, 2018
  • 5+

    —Renée Welton on August 12, 2018
  • I have made 7 . . . Looks like this is getting to be a habit.

    —Kathy on August 14, 2018
  • 11+…I love making bags!

    —Delinda on August 22, 2019

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