I waffled back and forth for months over whether to make a diaper bag or just buy one. But after seeing the selection available out there (and what they were charging for them), I decided I'd rather make something to my liking for the price. I used the "Here We Go" diaper bag pattern from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings book, and absolutely loved it!
I used two Home Dec prints from Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill line, and a red PUL for one side of the changing pad to easily wipe away any grossness, lol. And since I didn't include the center divider, I was able to get away with buying only 2 yards for the lining and 2 yards of Peltex.
After hearing Peltex horror stories from friends who'd made/attempted to make AB's Weekender Bag, I was prepared for a battle going in. I fully expected crazed, hormonal screaming fits where I scared my husband and dog while yelling and shaking my fist at the sky, cursing Peltex, its makers, and everyone they love. But I can honestly say it wasn't all that bad, and I had a great first experience with it. I ended up being more disgruntled with the price ($9.99/yard) than anything else about it.
In sum, the pattern ended up being much easier than I anticipated - I work full time, and managed to finish the bag post-work in two nights (so maybe about 8-9 hours total?). All the seam allowances are 5/8" and you trim the Peltex down so it's 3/4" smaller than the fabric pattern pieces on each side, so you don't end up having to sew through all that heavy interfacing and deal with bulky seams, broken needles, or walking away from your machine in a fit of rage/disgust...
I didn't include the divider because I figured this bag would turn into one giant dumping ground for stuff, and the divider might be a hindrance to carrying large or bulky items inside (i.e. blankets, changes of clothes for me, baby, etc.). I went ahead and used 2 pieces for the interior Side Panels though (instead of cutting 1 solid piece like on the exterior) because the center seams allowed me to add the elastic loop for the changing pad as well as a small key hook on the other side.
I also meant to use the Main Panel templates to cut pockets that would be sewed into the seams on either side of the interior, but due to a bad case of tunnel vision combined with pregnancy brain, I COMPLETELY FORGOT POCKETS!!! ARRRRGH!!!! Still angry over this one.
Tips & Tricks
- I wouldn't recommend using regular quilting cotton for this pattern. You really do need a heavy weight fabric.
- Some helpful tips when dealing with double-sided fusible interfacing:
- Put an oven mitt on your hand to apply pressure from the other side. AMH recommends a small, rolled up towel, but I find oven mitts allow for more control, plus you don't have to worry about your hand getting hot or burned while holding the towel.
- Place a piece of Parchment paper on the opposite side you're ironing. The only way to get Peltex to fuse really well with your fabric is to use a super hot, heavy iron. The heat inevitably eeks over to the other side, and you don't want the back side getting all sticky and attaching to the potholder. The parchment paper provides a non-stick buffer you can easily peel off.
- If you've never dealt with a 3 dimensional corner before (where you're sewing 3 pieces together instead of 2), it's important to note that you shouldn't sew your pieces from edge to edge. Stop sewing the distance of your seam allowance away. For example, when attaching the Side Panel to the Bottom Panel, stop sewing 5/8" away from each edge. Leaving these little flaps at either end allows you to pivot the fabric at the corners so you can get a nice square corner when sewing all 3 pieces together (the Main Panel, Side Panel, and Bottom Panel).