Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Travel Diaper Pack: Sewing Tutorial

Until the hardwood floors show up, there's not much to do at the new house.  Husband is there for the next few days power washing, weed whacking, etc.  I'm sure he's enjoying the quiet.  The kids and I are still at our house in PA.  The movers come in 6 days!!  If you ever have to move, I highly recommend hiring movers.  A team of big, burly guys show up, pack everything in your house in a day or 2, load it, and drop it off in the new house.  It's wonderful!!!

So today we have a bit of a change of pace from home renovation.  As promised in my previous post, I am going to walk you through my absolute favorite gift to make for new moms (or dads!).  It's a travel diaper pouch.   Once finished, you have an awesome little pack that holds a few diapers, a thin pack of wipes, and a changing pad!  I have made myself 2 because I couldn't decide which fabric I liked better.  When heading out to run errands, it's the only thing I always bring.  When at someone's house, it's nice not to have to drag the whole diaper bag in.  This thing is a bit bigger than a clutch and can be tossed into almost any purse or bag if you're not in the mood to cart the diaper bag.  Husband hates having to take a diaper bag places but he has no problem grabbing this.  I've even been able to stuff in a spare change of clothes, and a sippy cup.  They're sturdy!  It's a fast project so if you're feeling generous, maybe make one specifically for mom and one more for dad.  It also packs up very small so it can easily be mailed.

The blue one was made with an exterior of quilter's cotton and batik with an interior of this great marine vinyl I found on clearance.  I couldn't imagine reupholstering a boat in this stuff but it's GREAT for this project!  The pink is made with an exterior of a semi-heavy home decor fabric and an interior of PUL (polyurethane laminate).  Both the vinyl and the PUL are waterproof and messes are easily wiped up or the whole thing can be tossed into the washer.

You'll need just over 1 yard fabric total - I like to use scraps or things I find in the remnants bin at my local craft store.  If you're buying off the bolt, get 3/4 yard of 2 different fabrics to be safe.  I prefer one of the fabrics to be heavy.  PUL is thin which is why I paired it with a home decor weight fabric.  Vinyl is heavy which is why it was paired with quilter's cotton and quilter's batik.  If you're shopping in remnants, just make sure that the diaper pouch pieces are AT LEAST 13" wide and the changing pad pieces are AT LEAST 15" wide.  You'll also need a piece of velcro 3/4" wide x 1.5", fusible fleece, regular fleece for padding, a sewing machine, scissors, pins, thread, etc.

Start by cutting your pieces.
 The majority of this tutorial shows the blue pouch being made as that one has a pieced exterior.  The pink will be exactly the same but the exterior is one solid fabric.

For pink pouch cut:
2 lining pieces 9" x 12"
2 outer pieces 9" x 11.5" (The exterior should be 1/2" smaller. That isn't a typo.)
2 strap pieces 2" x 9"


For blue cut:
2 lining 9" x 12"
2 outer upper pieces 9" x 7.75"
2 outer bottom pieces 9" x 4.75"
2 strap pieces 2" x 9" (not cut correctly in photo)

To make the blue pouch sew the upper and bottom outer pieces right sides together using a 1/2" seam.  This step isn't necessary with the pink pouch as the outer was cut as 1 piece.

Once sewn, iron seams open. This will be the exterior of your pouch.

Cut fusible fleece to 9" x 11.5" and iron to back side (wrong side) of each exterior piece.  Make sure to follow the instructions of your fusible fleece.

Center velcro tab and sew onto one exterior pouch piece 2.5" from top. (The other half of the Velcro will be sewn onto the strap later.)

Mark 1.5" up and in from bottom 2 corners of exterior pieces.  The arrows are pointing to the marks.  With exterior pieces right sides together, and using a 1/2" seam, sew down one long side of exteriors backstitching over your mark. Continue down to corner, turn corner, back stitch over 2nd mark, sew along bottom edge, backstitch over 3rd mark, turn corner, backstitch over last mark and continue up the 2nd long side.  Leave the 2nd short side open.  Are you still with me?? See the close-up to the left to see where I backstitched.  These corners will be cut later and it's helpful to have a little reinforcement.

Now pinch the bottom corners of the bag together.  Sew a straight line across your marks approximately 1" from the sewn corner.
I like to backstitch over it a few times and then snip off the corner.  This creates the flat bottom for your pouch.  Repeat for the other bottom corner and turn your pouch right side out.  It's looking promising!

(Sorry this is the pink strap!) It's now time to sew the strap.  Take your 2 strap pieces and put them right sides together.  Sew around the three sides marked in lime green, leaving one end completely open.  Turn your strap right side out, press, and top stitch near the edge.

Using a 1/4" seam, attach the strap to the outside of your pouch on the OPPOSITE side of the velcro.  You don't want the strap and velcro on the same side of the pouch.

(Make sure the open end of the strap is the one sewn to the top of the bag.  It will end up hidden later.)

Time to make the lining.  Following the same steps you did above, put the lining pieces right sides together, mark 1.5" from the bottom corners stitch around the sides and backstitch over those marks.  But this time, leave a hole in the bottom of the lining! So one short side should be completely open, and the bottom (other short side) of the lining should have a 4" gap in the center. See picture at left.  Box and snip your corners just as you did with the outer piece- leaving the hole open.
With the RIGHT sides facing each other, slip the exterior into the lining, matching up the top and side seams, pin and sew all the way around the top still using a 1/2" seam. This will all make sense in 2 minutes.  I'm not crazy though.

Remember that crazy hole in the bottom, this is where it comes in handy.  Reach in and pull out the exterior pouch.  You are going to turn the whole thing right side out through this hole.  Go slowly and it will work.
Keep pulling until the whole bag makes it through the hole.

It should look like this.

Now is when you sew the hole closed.  Since this is the lining and no one will see it, you can just sew it closed using a small seam allowance.  If you want to blind stitch it closed, you can do that too.
Now push the lining into the the exterior. Holy cow we're so close!  If you remember, we made the lining a bit taller than the exterior. That leaves this awesome little lip around the top of the bag.
Stitching in the space between the fabrics, stitch all the way around the top of the bag again.  This will keep the lining in place.

Sew the other half of your velcro to the strap and you're done!

Now onto the Changing Pad. This thing is silly easy.  It is 2 long seams.  Seriously.

For each pad you will need some kind of waterproof, washable layer.  You can use vinyl, PUL, or even quilter's cotton with a layer of clear vinyl over it.  You will also need a layer of fleece for padding.  I prefer fleece to batting for this because then I don't have to quilt the finished pad and it washes well.  And finally, you will need some neat patterned fun fabric for the back.

Cut a piece of each of the 3 fabrics to a 14" x 24" rectangle- you can make this bigger but I wouldn't recommend it much smaller.   Most commercial changing pads are in the 12" x 21" range and they're just too small in my opinion.

Take the first layer of your pad and lay it out.  Find a bowl and trace the curve at each corner.  Then cut this curve off.  You don't have to round the corners but I prefer it.

Once you do all 4 corners, it should look like this.  Repeat until all 3 layers have rounded corners.

 Layer the 3 layers in the following order.
1) waterproof layer right side UP
2) back fun fabric right side DOWN
3) fleece on the top.

The front and back fabrics should be facing each other. Pin or clip all the way around the layers to hold the sandwich together.
Using a 1/2" seam allowance you're going to sew around the pad leaving one short side mostly open.  See my fingers? Don't sew between them.  I mark my endpoint with a double clip or double pin so that I don't forget to stop there.
Once you have it sewn, reach into the pad between the front and back fabrics, turn it right side out through these 2.  This will leave the fleece stuffed in between them.
 Keep pulling.
Once it's right side out, push the corners out and top stitch around the exterior using a scant 1/4" seam.  Make sure you fold the fabrics at the opening inside the pad once you get to them.  This will close your hole.


 If you happen to make one of these, send me a picture to oursouthhouse@gmail.com and I'll include them in this post!