Okay…here it is…the most awesome diaper bag/changing station ever. Looking around on Pinterest, I got ideas from a bunch of bags that I came across to make my perfect bag. It took me a few times to perfect it, and a lot of
cursing and screaming at both the bag and my sewing machine trial and error, but I love this bag!! I’m going to start by warning you….there’s A LOTTTTT to make this bag, so before cutting, pinning and sewing, make sure that you look at all the pictures and read the directions very carefully!!! If you find anything confusing, PLEASE ask! I’d much rather clear something up, than have someone waste fabric or give up trying to make it! Also….don’t be crazy like me and try to do it in one day…your back will hurt, your brain will hurt, and you’ll be a miserable, miserable lady. Try cutting out all your pieces one day, sew on zippers, pockets, and bindings another, work on the outside, and then sew the pockets to the inside and then finally sew it all together to finish it up. Trust me when I say this way makes you stay sane!
**I will say, this bag is not for someone learning to sew, or at a beginner level. If you are, and still really want to make it, recruit some sewers with experience to help!**
It all started with this pattern that I came up with. Look at this thing! A hundred pieces of paper taped together, measurements marked, crossed out, arrows all over the place. I don’t even know how my brain makes these things, I swear. But I’m so glad it did because It was such a help! You won’t need this pattern, as I’m giving you all the measurements you need, and directions on what to do, but I just wanted to share 🙂
Here are your fabric types, and measurements you’ll need. I purchase 1 yard of both the outer and inner fabric, 1 yard of inner pocket fabric, 1 yard strap fabric, 1/4 yard plastic, 1 yard fusible interfacing, and 1/2 yard non fusible interfacing. I also use coupons like nobody’s business and go around to all the craft stores so I can get the best deals. The last time I made this bag, it came to less than $40. Bags like this go over $100 or even $200! So if you have a
little lot of patience, and time, this bag is totally the way to go.
Starting with the outside of the bag, we’re going to sew seams going along the length and width to make it easier to fold closed. The center of your bag is 15in x 3in. I marked in red where you will sew your seams. Mark with chalk, then fold and sew VERY close to the edge. I’m talking between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch. They’re really only there to make the folding easier, you don’t want to be able to see them too much.
Once that’s done, we start on the straps. If there’s a right and wrong side to your fabric, you want to fold the fabric over right sides together and sew closed. You’ll be doing this with ALL 6 pieces. Then, turn them rightside out. The 4 shorter pieces can be set aside for later and the longer straps will have the duck canvas pulled through. The duck canvas is to give it a little stability. You could very well use a light interfacing, I just had left over duck canvas and wanted to save money. It won’t go to the very ends of the straps, you’ll have to figure out the center. There’s about 1/2in of no duck canvas on both sides. After it’s in there nice and flat (make sure your seams are evenly along the edges and not all over the place), you’re going to sew both edges down to secure the canvas to the straps. I sewed about 1/8in from the edges.
Once all the strap pieces are done, it’s time to get them onto the outer part of the bag. Measure 2in from the seam you sewed earlier (this is within the 15in middle section, which is the front and back of the bag). You want to pin the straps the opposite way (going towards the middle of the bag), and sew as close to the folded seam as possible. Then, you flip them over towards the top of the bag and it will cover the seams. (It’s hard to explain, so take a good look at the picture and play around with the straps before sewing them). I added a pocket, though it’s optional. I only added it to the one side, that way you can still see a lot of the (beautiful) print from the other side! I did it the same way as the straps, sewing it down the opposite side, so I can flip it over the seam. Center the pocket under the straps, pin down (making sure they’re evenly 2in from the side seam going all the way up), and sew along both of the edges. Make sure you sew them 1/8in from the edge like you did the longer part of the strap so the seams will match up!
Now to finish up with the straps, you’re going to take the longer pieces and pin the opposite way (just like the base of the straps and pocket), so, once again, you can then flip it over the seams. Sew them down where I marked red. You could do a crisscross along the two seams, or you can leave it like that.
Now we’re going to move to the inner part of the bag. I can’t say which is easier, because they’re both annoying, time consuming, and tedious! But, you’re halfway there, and just think of how proud you’ll be when you’re all done 🙂 **Note, if you want to add more zippered sections you’ll have to have a longer length of fabric, since you cut and fold 1/4in to install the zippers. Pretty much add 1/2in of fabric per zipper. I added one zipper to both sides. This one, at the top, and the other, towards the middle (but not where the bag will be folded).
For the plastic pockets and the two fabric pockets, I had the openings all facing towards the top and bottom edges of the fabric. This will make it easier for when the bag is all folded and closed on your arm, and you’ve got a baby in your other arm and you just need to grab something quickly, all you’ll have to do is pop the snaps open and take what you need. The first bag I made, I had some of the pockets opening towards the center…I quickly realized that was a no-no! **Notice how the fabric pocket is sewn the way the straps and outer pocket was–opposite side, so you can flip it over the seam!** Also, I realized I didn’t show a picture tutorial, on what I did with the fabric for the pockets. I took the 11in x 12in fabric, folded it in half (wrong sides together) to make it 11in x 6in, and sewed a seam towards the fold to make it look neat (or if you have enough binding, you could cover the edge with that). I didn’t care too much that the bottom was unfinished since the raw edge will be all the way at the bottom of the pockets, but if you do, you could always sew that closed before you sew it down onto the fabric.
Okay–getting there!! The pockets are all done, and just need to be sewn onto the inner fabric! You want to center the side pockets evenly along the ends. You need to have 1/2in of room around all the edges when you sew both sides together, so have them be 1in from the sides and approx. 1in from the top and bottom.
Time to get your closure flaps sewn and snapped up! I applied the snaps 1in from the top, and 2in from the sides. Once the interfacing pieces are cut, I stick two in each flap to make them extra stable. I use the thickest interfacing the store has. This one was 72, though, I’ve also gotten 80 before.
Ahhh finally….sewing it all together. Pin both sides together, and sew 1/2in all the way around (though leave a wide enough opening on one of the sides for you to turn it through). The closure flaps should be centered between the 15in center. You DON’T want to sew through the interfacing, but instead close up to it. The first time I sewed through it, I realized they would stand up straight and had no ability to bend.
Once it’s turned through, you want to get your snaps on (you’ll have to go through the opening you left). I used a medium hand towel to go in the center as one: no more sewing, two: nice and plush, and three: easy to wash. Though be my guest and make them with some plush fabric instead if you
still have the energy after making the bag want. Whichever you choose, you’ll have to figure out how far apart the snaps should be. I put mine 12in apart. My towel was 15in and I think a little bigger than normal, so I’d rather have the snaps closer together that way if I get another towel and it’s a bit smaller than the other one, I know it will still fit.
The snaps should come with directions, but I just wanted to give you an idea of how I did them. They’re super easy, it’s just about cutting a small hole, putting the snap through the bottom, laying the top part over it, and hammering it together.
This part’s annoying, but necessary. I don’t like to cut the interfacing for the inside of the bag until I get to this point just so I know it will fit perfectly. You basically want it in three pieces, the front side, the back side, and the center. they should all be 15in in length, but put it up to the bag (where you sewed the seams to make it easier to fold) and measure it from there. You want it to fit perfectly within all those seams! Once you have them cut, put them in the opening you left, get them into position, and iron each one down. When they’re all in the correct position, give the whole bag a good ironing (be careful with the plastic!!!!) to make sure they’re secured to both the outer and inner fabric. FINALLYYYYYYY, when you’re done with that, pin and sew that opening closed, and guess what?? You’re all done! Fold up your bag, and take a good look at it! As you can see, I made a little zippered pouch with the leftover fabric. I can’t say it enough, I LOVE this bag. **Note, this was the second bag I made, and still found a few flaws in it. The biggest flaw was, the pockets could have been wider (which is why I suggest having them 11in wide rather than the 9in I did for this one). By the third bag, I had it down perfectly. Which is why I waited till then to have this tutorial! **Again, if you notice ANYTHING missing, or if anything’s off, PLEASE let me know so I can fix it!!**
Here’s the third bag I made for a friend to give as a gift (same outer fabric, but a dark purple rather than the turquoise). Notice the bigger pockets (which lets face it, when it comes to a diaper bag, bigger pockets are definitely a plus!)
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