Saturday, September 22, 2012

One or Two more Projects to Go...

I finally got around to packing the diaper bag for our imminent trip to the hospital to meet our little one!  As I mentioned the other day, I was super excited about finding my Skip Hop bag for only $6.99.  However, it is just too small!  With four disposable diapers (newborn size samples just to get us home...we have a whopping 10 disposables, lol), a sample pack of Pampers wipes (six whole wipes), 2 sample packs of "throw away" nursing pads just in case I need them at the hospital...also samples), two receiving blankets, one SwaddleMe (in case it's super cold, but we're still getting 90 degree day time temps here), two pairs of socks and mittens (babies have razor sharp talons and I don't want him scratching up his face), one pacifier (in case of emergency), three or four outfits to wear at the hospital (mainly to get his scent on them to send home for the cats and dog to get used to him before he gets here), and one coming home outfit...the bag was stuffed so full I couldn't get the Velcro to stick half the time! 

I was worried but decided that maybe, just maybe, I had over-packed and wasn't going to say anything about it...after all, the bag is $58 brand one would charge that for a teeny tiny bag that is totally useless, right?  Well, Garrick had no problem commenting on the small size of the bag, lol.  In fact, he actually suggested we go out and buy a bigger bag!  Since I was out and about doing a little shopping yesterday, I searched every place i went (Target, ShopKo, WalMart, even Carter's) and only came up with smaller bags!  On to plan "C" then...I've been eyeballing a diaper bag pattern I had printed out from someone's blog for about a week, I had actually thought it would make a good, large, purse for when I travel and cram everything but the kitchen sink in my purse!  I was pretty sure that the dimensions were going to be too small for a diaper bag (even though it was a diaper bag pattern), at least for me, but I was willing to give it a try.  I knew that I needed 1.25 yards of the exterior fabric and 1 yard of a lining fabric (or reverse the quantities if you want your interior pockets to match the interior of the bag).  Also, I knew that my "real" diaper bag was going to need to be a little more "heavy duty" than plain old Cotton.  So, I went to the Home Decor section of the fabric department at WalMart and found a really pretty material for under $7 a yard and bought 2 yards (planning on needing to make the bag bigger).  I then went to the Apparel section of the fabrics and picked out a coordinating cotton for the lining and got 2 yards of that too.  I also thought it would be nice to have a "built in" wet bag, so I picked up an invisible zipper as well (planning ahead for pattern alterations) and thread to match the exterior fabric.

After a day full of shopping, I headed home to make my "test bag" using the pattern just as it was written and fabrics I already had at home (remember, I did say I hoard fabric a "little bit")!  The only thing I bought specifically for this project was a set of magnetic snaps, they come in a two-pack and I actually bought these last week thinking I was going to make a purse for myself.  The first thing I did was cut out all my pieces (well, the ones I planned on using anyway), that took a few hours, but mostly because I did a lot of ironing as well!  I was able to get the exterior bag fabric pieces sewn as well as the straps last night before it was time to hit the hay for the evening.  This morning I got up and went straight to work on the bag!  I made my own double-fold bias tape rather than buying any, this was I was able to use the same fabric for it (I did not use my bias tape maker though...I didn't want to mess with getting it out for only one piece of bias tape that was 26-inches long (I actually needed two of them, but I digress)!

This morning I also discovered an error I had made when cutting out my pieces...  I had cut the corners out on the wrong side of my lining fabric!  To make matters worse, I did not have enough material left to re-cut the pieces!  After staring at my fabric for a good 10 minutes, I finally decided I could use scraps of the exterior fabric to make a pocket where I was "missing" fabric and re-cut the corner notches where they belonged.  Of course, when it came to sewing the whole thing together...this made for some tricky measuring!  The interior pockets have pin-tucks in them as well...these always fight me, but I did finally figure out the "easy way" of keeping everything straight and therefor easier to deal with (on the second side).  Of course, the first piece of elastic also gave me a bit of trouble, but nothing ging fishing down the sewn bias tape tube with a safety pin couldn't cure!

The pocket I ended up adding to the pattern is roughly 7.5-inches wide and is located 4.25-inches from the top of the bag.  Maybe a little deep for dropping my keys into, but we shall see!  I maybe should have made two smaller pockets here instead of one big one, since it goes over the side seam (where the elastic bands are stitched together), but I didn't notice the "sag" from the elastic-topped pockets until after the bag was stitched closed.  So, I did the "next best thing" and added a snap!  From the outside, there is a simple pearl snap face and the interior is secured shut, but still easily accessed if you need to dig in the pocket (which is about 5-inches deep).

Finished size of the bag is approximately 18-inches tall with 8-inch sides and a 12-inch front (and back).  It really sounds small, doesn't it?

But, what does it hold?  Everything from the other diaper bag and this one isn't even half full!  I went with a simple four-pocket design for the interior because I was unsure of how the cloth diapers would fit, but after seeing how my receiving blankets fit, I could have easily gone with six-pockets!

Changes coming for the "real" diaper bag...adding a zippered wet bag in the back panel (between lining and exterior), one or two pockets on the exterior (one or both pockets just like the inside, just on the exterior of the bag), key fob (or a loop at any rate so I have an easy spot to go with my keys), and a few smaller pockets to hold items like my spray bottle of wipe solution (not yet purchased), a handful of cloth wipes, maybe a pee-pee teepee or two.  As a general rule, I don't plan on having this much clothing in the bag, so the middle section is most likely where my "purse" items will go, but I do want to add a few small pieces of elastic to the side higher up to hook my insulin on so it doesn't get lost in the great abyss!

Rest assured, this bag will not go to waste just because it was a "tester", it matches the sling I made!  The matching set will get used often, I imagine!  And see the little "Pooh" thingy on the handle?  That's a pacifier clip that my sister gave me (she made the strap that is actually holding the pacifier on the other end of it)!  I thought it went well color-wise, lol.

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