a simple problem

There I was, nine months pregnant, and needing a diaper bag.  A simple problem, with a simple solution.  Happily head to (insert favorite maternity/big box/super/mega/boutique or thrift store here) and pick one up - right?  Oh, but that would require sanity.  And, generously assuming I ever had any to begin with, I certainly had none left at nine months pregnant.  No, no, those brand-name {{shudder}} non-customized diaper bags were just too large, too bulky, had too many pockets, not enough pockets, the straps weren't padded enough, or adjustable enough, they were all too black, too stiff, too ugly, too busy, too easily procured.  And after all, making my own diaper bag validates my keeping of a craft room, in a way that makes me feel all warm inside.  It's how I get drunk, okay?  And so I found myself wandering the fabric aisles of Jo-Ann's, trying not to pass out from a combination of tiredness, iron-deficiency, and mild dehydration, while attempting to chose that perfect fabric.  Mmm hmm.

So I settled for what you see above, which is not nearly as outgoing as I might have liked, but which I consider satisfactory.  The main and accent fabrics are both upholstery weight, to handle the wear and tear of daily use.  Now that Lila is nine months old, I can say that it's held up quite well.  And it IS nice to have a more petite diaper bag that 1) doesn't dwarf me 2) is in the messenger bag style I like and 3) I can't go overboard stuffing with every single item the child owns.  As a new mom will want to do.  Although you'd be amazed at just how much I can fit in that bag - comes of having once packed a rucksack in the military I suppose.  Also nice is that I got exactly the features I wanted in a diaper bag.  Not nice is that I had no pattern whatsoever, had never sewn a diaper bag before, and was basically winging it the whole way through.  Which made for a lot of stopping, thinking, proceeding, just to stop and think about the next step, and again.  But I'm mildly proud of the results, and I got the bag I wanted, but couldn't find anywhere.

Some details:  I used white piping to add a simple contrast between the gray and aqua fabrics, and white bias tape made for an easy matching accent on the interior pockets.  Elastic on the inside pockets has helped to keep all the little stuff in place (I was inspired by this tutorial from Sew Much Ado), and the lack of elastic on the outer pockets lends to the neat appearance.  Since there's no elastic on those pockets, though, they aren't good for bulky objects (no water bottles).  I use one for my phone, and the other for slips of paper, receipts, shopping lists, and a pen.  All the pockets are fully lined, because it takes so little time to do, and, I think, makes the whole project much more professional and finished. 

The keychain thingey never gets used.  Too complicated to be trying to attach my keys to it when I'm heading out of the car with hands full and baby on hip.  Instead I just throw my keys randomly into the bag and hope for the best.  But it looks nice.  And if you peer closely, you'll see that it lies inside one of the handles, which helps to keep it from flipping outside of the bag.

See the strap hardware above?  I was searching for round links, not half-circle, but couldn't find any to match.  If I was super-smart, I would have stitched along the flat edge (see complicated illustration below), to keep it from flipping out and around, as it tends to do.  Still could, I suppose, but "remedy" sewing seems like work.  And that's a thing I never do.

Initially I considered putting those little hardware feet made for purses on the bottom, but decided against it, because the bag was a little too slouchy for them to be effective. I went with a simple magnetic closure, which I encased in fabric in both the flap and bag front, to keep that neat appearance I wanted.  And I love it!  I can just flip the top over, and it finds its own way shut.  Simple.

And every good diaper bag needs a coordinating wet bag, of course.  Ta da!

Matching wet bag, perfectly sized for two cloth diapers.  Notice the PUL fabric on the inside, and that handy handle.

I do like the gray fabric.  Wanna know something about that gray fabric?  It shrinks.  Yeah, when you wash it, it shrinks.  And it's for dirty diapers, so it gets washed often.  And the PUL fabric, being coated in poly-something or other, does not shrink.  Of course I knew that when I chose to make the wet bag without pre-washing that nice gray fabric.  But I'd lost my sanity.  Remember?

Best wishes,

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