Saturday, March 16, 2013

FO: Pockets a-plenty diaper bag

I've turned into a bit of a baby-making machine, in more ways than one.  For a while there, everything I was making was either kid- or baby-sized.  I'm finally making a couple of normal people items, but I still need to document the baby things.  Here's the biggie:

Why did I decide to make a diaper bag?  Because I wanted a new one, and it's somehow easier to justify spending $45 on fabric, $15 on a pattern, and $12 on notions than it is spending $75 on a ready-made bag.  Why is that?  Also, I loved this fabric, Notting Hill by Joel Dewberry, and this was a great excuse to use a bunch of the prints.  This project also gave me the chance to use some sewing skills on something other than a garment.  

I really love the finished product.  The bag is really big enough, and there are indeed plenty of pockets.  It has a flat bottom so it won't flop over and spill everything when I set it down.  I added purse feet to the bottom to protect it further. 

It has a zippered interior pocket and a cell phone pocket, so I guess I could pop my wallet and lipstick in there and not have to carry my purse.  We'll see. 

I had a helper!
It latches with a magnetic clasp, which is very user friendly. 

Those are the things I love.  There are only a few things I didn't love.  First, the rings on the strap are very heavy.  They really pull the sides of the bag in whenever I set it down.  I had trouble finding 2" rings as the pattern called for.  If I'd used the 1.5" rings, which were more available, they wouldn't have been so heavy.  So next time, I'd use those. 

The only other issue I had with the whole experience were the directions.  They were terrible!  I've never used a crafty pattern before, so maybe this is par for the course with these home-dec-ish projects.  But are you kidding me?  The drawings were not to scale and not very helpful.  The directions included lots of pictures for edging something in bias tape, which is a pretty common skill, but not enough pictures for things like sewing the bag sides to the bag front.  I had to rip that part out and start completely over once I realized that the bag sides actually curved around under the bottom of the bag.  In the picture, though, the bag sides ended way above the bag bottom!  Annoying. 

Also, how hard would it have been to throw a couple of notches in those pattern pieces?  That would have solved all my confusion.

Maybe this is just something that I struggled with because I never made a bag before.  But seriously. 

In addition to the bag, I also made a changing pad!  I love how this came out.  My mom came to visit for a week to help with the baby prep, and she actually sewed all the elements together and finished it off for me.  I think it looks fantastic. 

Again, though, the directions were horrific.  In fact, they were way worse for the changing pad than the bag, and made me think that no one had actually made the pad.  It felt like a complete afterthought.  The pictures showed two layers of fabric when the directions indicated one.  And it suggested sewing lining, batting and cover together with wrong sides together, then flipping right side out, then edging with bias tape!  If you're going to finish it with bias tape, why wouldn't you just sew wrong sides together and save yourself a lot of bulky edges?  That's what we did. 
There's a little holder for wipes, which folds up inside.

As bad as the directions were, though, it seems to be a great design, so maybe I should stop whining. 

I love the whole thing, and I can't wait to use it!  Although I can wait.  I only have about three weeks left, and I still feel like there's so much I need to do! 


  1. It looks fantastic! I had a diaper bag on my list of things to sew, but I don't think I'm going to get to it. Like you, three weeks left-- ack!! I'm panicking. Hope everything goes well for you the next few weeks!

    1. Thanks! I keep going from feeling prepared to completely panicking, back to prepared again. Hope all goes well for you, too!

  2. Thank you for this review! I need a new diaper bag but I hate poorly written patterns. If you're ever looking for a well written bag pattern try Quilts Illustrated, they're great. They improved my sewing skills in general by teaching me new techniques. I think I'll stick to Joel Dewberry fabrics and find patterns elsewhere. But that bag certainly is beautiful, well done. Thx again.

  3. I'm currently making this bag. I am an expert sewer, so this should be a snap, right? Nope! The instructions are very confusing and reference pattern pieces that are not even included in the pattern. They also reference markings on pattern pieces that do not exist. The only way to assemble this bag is to apply your own knowledge of sewing. Also, I ended up buying more fabric than they called for and the material they referenced on the back cover wasn't identified correctly to the pieces they referenced, which added to the confusion. I don't think I will buy another Joel Dewberry pattern ever again. I made a bag designed by Amy Butler and it turned out just like this and the instructions were easy to follow.