Gymsack Drawstring Backpack DIY

gymsack backpack diy
I recently saw this Alexander Wang gymsack leather backpack and was inspired to make my own.
It’s very similar to the leather drawstring bag I made last year. My new bag has the exact same construction as the one from last year (so check it out if you want to make the backpack!) with the exception of this one being an actual backpack. Attaching the straps to get a backpack is not hard though, actually, the most complicated thing for me was to figure out how long the straps had to be to sit comfortably on my shoulders. Lots of trial and error was needed, but I got them right in the end.

gymsack diy bag

drawstring suede bag
I only had little scrap pieces of the blue suede I wanted to use.

suede patches
I patched them together on these two 40×50 cm brown cotton fabric rectangles.


patchwork 2
I sewed together the two patchwork pieces and made the tubing at the top of the bag.

top of bag tubing

My initial plan was to sew on the lining with my machine as well (like I did with the lining on my drawstring bag last year). Despite using a leather needle my machine was unable to get trough the multiple layers of suede and fabric. I had to hand stitch the lining onto the bag, but it’s OK, It’s not noticeable.

I took the bag to a shoemaker to make the eyelets. I have one of those eyelet punchers (in plastic– worst thing ever!), but I’ve never had a good result with it. Much better to let someone with professional tools do it!

For the drawstring/backpack straps I used some brown leather.

straps 1
As you can see I had to patch these together too.

straps 2
I pulled the straps through the tubing.

straps 3
And then I attached the ends to the eyelets.
As I said earlier in the post, it’s a bit tricky to get the straps the right length. One thing to have in mind is that this bag is quite different whether or not it’s empty or full of stuff. My tip is to get some stuff in it and then see how long the straps need to be. Don’t try it on and determine the strap length when it’s empty, because once you put something in there the straps will tighten up!

straps in eyelets
I’ve been using the drawstring bag I made last year constantly and I will probably do the same with this one. It’s really comfortable to wear and you can carry a lot of stuff in it.

drawstring backpack
So, there it is. An easy, fun and surprisingly stylish bag made almost entirely out of re-purposed materials (the eyelets and thread were new)!

blue suede backpack with brown leather straps

open backpack


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