Baby-Related Crafts

A different diaper bag

By request! This has an actual pattern and such, but it's simple -- three pieces. It's reversible, which makes it a great showcase for some of the gorgeous quilting calicos out there. I'd suggest a pretty pattern on one side, and a coordinating solid on the other, or two coordinating prints; I understand that stripes and weird florals are quite in vogue right now :)

This ought to hold a fair amount of stuff; it has four pockets (two inside and two outside, since it's reversible), and will work fine with a sling.

This pattern is copyright to me (Jan Andrea) and is NOT for resale under ANY circumstances!

Materials needed:

Pattern pieces:

Handle/top Pockets Base

there is a light grey grid behind each piece; the grid lines should be at 1" square when printed. If they do not print correctly, you can use them to make your own patterns.


1. Lay the pattern out on your lining fabric. I folded my fabric twice to get the necessary two layers -- it's 7" wide by 30" long; unfolded, 28" wide, 30" long. You won't necessarily need that much length; I wanted a longer strap, but you could go as low as 26" long, or 24" if you made the sack part shallower.

2. I cut this bottom piece from the fabric leftover from step one. You'll need four bottom pieces, though; two from your fabrics, and another two either from the lining fabric or some scrap fabric. This will stabilize the bottom of the bag.

Also cut two pocket pieces from the lining.

3. To cut the pieces for the print, I used the pieces I'd cut in steps 1 and 2 as pattern pieces. The print is only 45" wide, so I had to lay the pieces out differently. This layout is pretty close to being as efficient as it can; I think the pocket pieces could be arranged differently, though.
4. Sew one lining pocket piece to one print piece, right sides together, just on one long edge; turn and topstitch along that edge. You may baste the other sides if you want to, but that's not necessary. Repeat with the other two pieces.
5. Pin the pockets to the right sides of one each lining and print pieces, matching long and short sides and raw edges ( the topstitched edge should be at the top of the bag). You can match the fabrics as you see fit; I like the print, so I put the pocket print-side-out on both the lining and the outside. You can also contrast or match them, as you like.

6. Mark the middle of the pocket piece (6.5" from either end) and pin in place. Sew along that line. Use a strong stitch, and reinforce the stitching at the top; it will be under stress as things are put in the pockets.

You can also divide it into 3 pockets instead of two, if that seems like it will be more useful; or make a narrow pocket in addition for writing utensils.

7. Pin bag pieces right sides together, lining with lining and print with print. Sew along the short sides, being sure to catch all the layers (pocket and bag pieces).
8. Baste two bottom pieces (i.e. One fashion fabric and one scrap or lining; then one lining and one scrap or lining, so that you've got two 2-layer bottom pieces when you're done) together, being sure to stay a consistent 1/2" from the edge. This basting will be your guide in the next step, so sew slowly and carefully. Repeat with the other two bottom pieces. These pieces will be treated as a single unit in the following step.

9. Find the center axis points on the bottom pieces -- just fold them in half, vertically and then horizontally, using pins to mark those points. The points of the narrower curves will match up with the seamlines on the bag pieces; the wide ones will match up with the fold lines on the bag pieces.

Pin one bottom to one bag part, right sides together, and taking care to make all the divisions equal.

10. Sew one bottom part to one bag part, using your basting from step 8 as a guideline. This is tricky to sew, and will require patience; go slowly, and if you make a huge mistake (like sewing closer or fur ther than 1/2" from the edge), take out those stitches.

Repeat steps 9-10 on remaining bag and bottom pieces.

11. The finished seam on the print fabric, right side out:

12. Pin your print bag to the lining, right sides together, matching curves and ends of straps. Basically, put one bag, right side out, inside the other one, right side in. The pockets should be opposite each other ra ther than next to each other -- i.e. in this photo, one is on the right and one on the left, so they don't end up on the same side of the bag when it's turned right-side-out.

Sew one edge of the bags together -- from strap to curve back up the next strap -- leaving the short edges of the straps free.

13. For the other side, start and end your stitching about 2" from the short ends of the straps. Also leave a 4" space close to the curve, but not on it, for turning.

Turn the bag right-side out through the space. It will look really weird until you push one bag into the other, now with wrong sides together.

14. The bag, turned right-side out, before the strap portions are sewn together:
15. If you've ever made a lined vest, you'll be familiar with this technique. If you haven't... well, when you're done with this, you'll be able to make one! Pin the strap pieces together, matching the lining and print sides.
16. Sew along the top, rearranging the fabric as necessary:

17. The strap shown after sewing but before the seam is pulled closed:

Doesn't look like much, does it? Ah well.

18. If you tug on the strap fur ther down from the new seam, it will collapse into the strap.

Topstitch around the straps and curved portion, stitching the gaps closed at the top of the strap and where the bag was turned.

19. the finished bag, showing the pockets inside and the topstitching, at left; and the full bag, at right.


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