I decided it was time to replace the diaper bag. It has served us well many years, but it is tired and worn out! I was happy with the size of it, so used the same dimensions for the new one.
Here are the fabrics I collected from my stash. The black is vinyl, left over from the boys and I re-upholstering the seats of their vintage snowmobiles. I had been thinking about using that so wanted to find something that matched. I found this tapestry and a thick woven cotton for the handles. I’m going to piece together the outside from 3 pieces of the same size; 2 sides each with a pocket and the vinyl on the bottom.
Fabric and supplies needed-
10 1/2″ X 21″ vinyl for bottom.
2 10 1/2″ X 21 ” tapestry bag sides
2 10 1/2″ X 7″ tapestry side pockets, and 2 lining fabric
2 4 1/2″ X 54″ (or the width of the fabric) handles and top of pockets
21″ X 30″ lining fabric
13″ X 13″ large inside pocket
16″ X 8″ inside pouch pocket on a strap
3″ X 9″ strap to attach pouch inside bag
Heavy zipper 22″ or longer
zipper 8″ or more
I cut the vinyl to size, then used it for a pattern on the tapestry. Cut the side pockets and mark the back of all pieces with chalk- this side goes up! Interface the 3 bag pieces (remark the arrows).
Top stitch along both sides of the handle pieces. I trimmed them down to 41″, that seemed a good length to me.
Carefully position the pocket and the handle along the edge of the pocket (no twists) and down the other side. Pin everything in place and stitch along the previous stitching on the handles- just along the sides of the pocket to 1″ above the top edge of the pocket. Make sure to back stitch when you go over the top edge of the pocket and where you stop stitching.
Sew the 2 pieces to the vinyl bottom, turn and top stitch on the vinyl. I had a hard time getting the vinyl to slide when I tried to topstitch. I ended up sprinkling it with powder and sewing with that side down. This may not be a good idea, getting powder in your machine. Blow it out when you’re done. Since my machine is a work horse that has been beat up by the younger generation, I don’t worry too much about it.
Ta-da! Now to prepare the lining. For the big pocket, fold in 3 edges and press then fold down the top edge 3Xs and press. Stitch the top fold in place.
To make the inner pouch pocket, sew the zipper in place to each of the short ends, making a tube. Topstitch along the edges of the zipper, I did this with a zigzag to enclose the raw edges in this step. Press and sew your strap (same as the handles). Position it inside the pouch (which is inside out) in the seam near the top edge and pin it. Pin and sew the side edges and zigzag raw edges. Make sure your zipper is open enough so you can easily turn the pouch right side out. Turn and press.
Sew the big pocket to one side of the lining about 3″ below the top. Backstitch at the ends of your seams.
To insert the zipper and attach the lining to the bag outside, lay the bag out flat and lay the lining on top of it, right sides together. On the top edge, where the zipper goes, make a mark 1 1/2″ in from the outside edge. With right sides together carefully position and pin the zipper in place. Open the zipper (or separate if you have a separating zipper)so you can attach both sides of the zipper. Begin and end stitching at the mark, backstitching on the ends.
Having the straps pinned down during this time keeps them out of the way. Press beside the zipper, check it to make sure it works nicely. To sew up the side seams of the bag- the zipper should be zipped half way shut with the bag inside out. Make sure all the layers of the bag are lined up, check that the vinyl seams are even and pin the sides. Stitch 3/4″ from the edge, check that you caught the outside layers. Trim the seam allowance back to 1/4″ and zigzag down the edge. Stitch the inner pouch pocket strap at the top of the seam on one side. I prefer the side the zipper opens on so it is easy to find.
With the bag still inside out, flatten out the corner, pin and draw a line 2 1/2″ from the point. Stich, backstitching on the ends.
The end of the zippered pouch pocket strap should be sewn into the side seam.
With the bag inside out and the zipper half open tack the sides at the end of the zipper stitching. This should be securely stitched and backstitched several times.
I hand tacked the end of the zipper shut so the zipper pull doesn’t get jammed down in the seam at the end.
I folded the lining fabric over the top edge of the side seam and stitched it in place to neaten that area up.
Finishing! I used a small piece of fabric, about 2″ X 4″, to make a zipper pull. I folded and pressed it in the same manner as the handles, pulled it through the zipper pull’s hole and sewed it shut. I frayed the raw edges.
Inside the bag, I tucked the zipper ends inside the lining and hand sewed the lining over the top edge of the side seams.