the sharks-on-a-plane backpack

Last March I took my toddler with me to visit my family in Denver. And because someone has to work to fund our travel (laugh-cry emoji here), I usually end up traveling as a solo parent. For this trip I needed a few ways to make this trip more fun for my active boy and decided to make him a backpack. My mom sent me this shark fabric way back when Asher was little, and I knew that this would be the perfect way to use it.


I used the Colette Patterns Cooper bag pattern, and here’s the best part: because I bought the digital version, I could size it down or up as much as I wanted. For Asher’s backpack I printed off the pattern at 40-percent, and that was the perfect size for him.


Construction on this bag is straightforward and simple, especially for this mini version. The fabrics I used weren’t as heavy or thick as what I’d use for an adult’s bag, so assembling Asher’s backpack was quick and easy.



I love the hardware I found for the straps and found the instructions for constructing the adjustable straps very easy to follow. Instead of following the pattern’s instructions for the interior pockets, I made my own mini pockets that could fit small cars and snacks–perfect for a busy toddler. And rather than installing magnetic snaps, I used Velcro to make opening and closing easier for chubby little fingers.



The backpack worked wonders for the trip, especially since I stocked it with two new toy cars that Asher discovered once we settled in at the gate. This is probably one of my favorite sewing projects. Ideas for boy sewing aren’t always super easy to come by, and this adaptation was the perfect fit. I’m so glad I bought the Cooper bag as a digital pattern, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to shrink it down to toddler-size.

This bag is also a great project for any seamstress, because you don’t have to fiddle with sizing, and by using simple techniques you can create a professional-looking bag pretty quick. (Like I mentioned earlier, sewing through layers of vinyl and duck canvas may prove to be the most difficult part of making this bag for adults.)


We’re taking another Denver trip next month, and the shark backpack will certainly be coming along for the ride!

***Specs: I printed off the Colette Patterns Cooper bag at 40-percent for this toddler version. The shark fabric is a woven pique, the blue contrast is Bedford cord, and the gray lining is quilting cotton. The straps are 1-inch cotton webbing, with 1-inch-wide hardware. I used Velcro instead of magnetic snaps for the outer fastenings. This bag came together so easily, and I just love it. And thankfully, so does my toddler.***

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  1. Katelyn
    Posted July 25, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Do you take requests??;) do they come in my size? With bumblebee fabric??

  2. Katie Allphin
    Posted July 26, 2014 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    I love the backpack! It’s adorable, especially with the shark fabric. What a great idea to use the digital pattern for easy re-sizing. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Posted July 29, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Shut up. You made your kid a backpack. Your sewing skills are reaching exceptional levels.

  4. Posted May 7, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your web-site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you¡¦ve on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the info I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What a perfect web-site.

One Trackback

  • By Creative Domestic – vintage: the birthday bag on February 26, 2015 at 7:33 am

    […] This bag has a bunch of pockets and can be customized for about any look. I’d love to make a more feminine version for me sometime. (I made my toddler a mini Cooper last spring.) […]

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