Monday, January 13, 2014

Toni's Diaper Bag

Erin's good friend, Toni, saw the Frankenbag that I gave their friend, Carrie, at a playgroup function, and loved it.  She wanted a new diaper bag and thought that would be a great design.  I was super excited to get a commission (it's always fun to sew something that someone requests!) and to try to correct some of the mistakes that I made with the Frankenbag.  After a long trip to Jo-Ann's and a lot of texting photos and opinions back and forth, Toni and I decided on a cool navy/aqua fabric outer fabric and a beautiful merlot lining.  Here is the finished product:

(I really miss being able to take photos outside, by the way.  Can this horrible snow and rain -- actually, the entire season of winter -- please go away soon?)  Here is a photo of the other side of the bag.  I wish I could have fussy-cut the fabric so one of the floral motifs was in the dead center, but it's too late now.

For posterity sake, and so I can possibly recreate it in a shorter size, the following was the cutting list for the bag.  The outside fabric print was directional, so I had to pay close attention to which measurement was the height of each piece.

Outside (navy and aqua damask print home d├ęcor fabric):
- 16" x 20" (x2) for the main bag, with 16" being the height
- 16" x 10" for the inner patch pocket, with 16" being the height
- 8.5 x 9" for the lining of the inside zipper pocket, with 8.5" being the height

Lining (merlot bubble quilting weight cotton):
- 16" x 2 1/4" (x2) for the top section of lining above the recessed zipper
- 16" x 18 1/4 (x2) for the bottom section of the lining beneath the recessed zipper
- 14" x 1.5" (x4) for the recessed zipper casing
- 4" x 3" for the zip end
- 8" x 10" (x2) for the lining of the outside floating inset pocket
- 12" x 5 1/2" (x2) for the outer elastic pocket (cut into trapezoids with the shorter size of 9")

- 16" x 20" (x2) (spray basted to the wrong side of the outside fabric)

(I actually used a coordinating navy and aqua print for the lining of the inside zipper pocket for a long and boring reason, so just ignore that part.)

I also used some 1" cotton webbing for the handle (a little over 1.5 yards), an 8" scrap of 1/4" elastic, a 22" navy zipper (though I really only needed a 16" or 18" one, I always like to buy one way bigger just in case), a 12" merlot zipper (though I probably only needed about a 9" or 8" one), a big chunk of lightweight interfacing (for the side of the lining with the inner zipper pocket), a smaller chunk of Craft Fuse weight interfacing (for the top pieces of lining and for the recessed zipper casing), and some piping.

Here is the big news -- I made my own piping for the first time ever!  I cut some 1" wide bias strips from the lining fabric and then scavenged some of the cording from some other store-bought piping scraps.  It was ridiculously easy to make, and it was so much fun to have perfectly matching piping.  I couldn't find a good match in the prepackaged stuff.

For the inner patch pocket, I took the long piece of 16" x 10" exterior fabric and sewed it into a tube with a piece of my homemade piping in the seam.  I then stitched up the sides with the right sides facing together (and left a gap for turning), turned it right side out, and then triple-stitched it to the lining.

For the inside zipper pocket, I was unable to locate the previous tutorial I had used for such pockets and used a new one.  It was quite a bit different than the previous one, and I wasn't as thrilled with the process or the result.  I need to remember to hunt down that previous tutorial in my pins!  The tutorial was a little vague on a few key steps, and that (combined with my general idiocy) resulted in the fabric for the pocket's lining being wrong side out.  Whoops.  It was not really fixable by the time I realized it, so I'm just going to pretend that I actually like the wrong side better and "meant to do that" (as Pee Wee Herman would say).

For the outside elastic pocket, I just sort of winged it.  I cut those trapezoids, sewed them together on the top and bottom before turning it right side out.  I added another line of stitching 1/2" below the top (longer side) and threaded in some elastic.  I zigzagged the sides shut to secure the elastic, then turned under the sides about 1/4".  I added some little pleats in the bottom (shorter side) before stitching the whole thing on the outside of the bag.  It's a little funky, but it works.  It would be a perfect pocket for stashing an iPhone.

My biggest triumph (and the reason I called Erin mid-project to declare that I was AWESOME), was taking ikat bag's fun floating inset pocket tutorial and figuring out how to add piping to it.  It was tricky figuring out exactly how to do it because I am NOT an engineer, but once I got it down I was thrilled with the result.  I kind of wish I had used a contrasting piping to highlight it more, but the perfect match piping is neat too.

It's a handy place to stash a sippy cup!

Again, I used the recessed zipper tutorial from Sewing Novice, but I made one major alteration.  Carrie mentioned to Erin that the zipper seemed too small for her bag, and I figure out that it was because both ends of the zipper were closed.  I left off the zip end for one side of the zipper (the end with the pull when the zipper is closed) and just folded about 1/2" of the end of the zipper to the underside of the zipper casing and stitched it into place (so the zipper pull wouldn't fly right off the end!).  Voila!  Problem solved.  Here is the zipper in the closed position.  I really wish I had made the zipper casing a little wider, and the length of the zipper casing a little shorter.  Next time!

Here is an interior shot of the bag with the zipper open so you can see the little loop I stuck on the inside so I can hunt down a carabiner or lobster claw thingy to add so Toni can secure her key ring if she so desires.  You can see how the ends of the zipper fold over at the end.

I couldn't remember the dimensions of the original Frankenbag, so I just sort of winged it for Toni's bag.  This turned out to be a tad of a mistake, because the bag is much deeper than I would have preferred.  Hopefully, Toni will like it.  Better too big than too little though, as Erin pointed out!

Other helpful things to remember for next time --
- I sewed the bag with 4" squared off corners at the bottom.  This was deeper than I had originally intended, and was meant to help "shorten" the bag a little.  As a result, wider zipper casings and a shorter recessed zipper would have been more appropriate.
- I used a 1/4" seam allowance for the recessed zipper process, but used more like a 1/2" seam allowance for the bag construction
- Quilting the outside pieces would be kind of fun

Linking up to: ChrisW Designs

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