20 September 2010

quick trip diaper bag

My sister found the pattern for the quick trip diaper bag. She was having a baby in July and I thought a new diaper bag would make for a cool present. (I had already decided to make the 'Amy Butler modern diaper bag' for her .. but you can never have too many bags.)

I found a really groovy dot fabric at JoAnn's and paired it with green duck cloth fabric. I thought the duck cloth would hold up to the daily wear & tear for a diaperbag. Finding PUL fabric was a bit more difficult. JoAnn's does carry what they classify as PUL and oil cloth ... but only in some really strange colors and patterns. I wanted it in white, green, or a turquoise to match the dots ... but no such luck. But, I found a 'mystery fabric' in the clearance section. It looked like a laminate of some sort - smooth plastic-y on one side and cotton on the other. The bold only said it was suitable for rainwear, but not rainproof. I have no idea what this fabric is, but I thought it would work.

I didn't follow the directions (uh, no surprise there) and used my favorite thick pellon interfacing (stiff enough to make any fabric stand up straight) ... and the bag was _horrible_. The shape was really bad ... and it just didn't work. I took it all apart, and used the called for fleece interfacing.

This bag doesn't have separate 'end' pieces ... the side and end is all one piece. I think that's why the thick interfacing just didn't work.

I also didn't keep track of the left and right lining pieces - sewed everything wrong - and figured out I had a problem after I sewed the bag and lining together. (The joy of the side and end being just one piece of fabric.) I took it all apart, cut new 'white unknown fabric lining' pieces, and was very careful putting it back together again.

I like the elastic at the top of the inner pockets - but it took a lot of work to thread the elastic in.

This pattern claims to be a 'quick trip bag' for when you don't want to carry your 'full size work horse bag'. I have no idea what most people carry for diaper bags - but this bag is BIG. You can put everything you need for a baby plus stuff for an older sibling, wallet, keys, water bottles - and more. I can't imagine carrying a bigger bag around - along with a baby.

My sister has gotten a few complements on this bag - and several asking where they can get one too, so I consider this project a success.

Amy Butler's modern diaper bag

I read about Amy Butler's book 'Little Stitches for Little Ones' and immediately put it on hold at the library. In it, is a pattern for a 'modern diaper bag'. I really liked the shape, so I made a copy of the pattern ... and thought I'd make it for my sister. (Before she found this pattern.)

I found some really cool oil cloth fabric at JoAnn's and knew it would be perfect for this bag. (Then I had to wait until I had a coupon because there was no way I was paying $14.99 a yard for fabric.) I found some 'celery' duck cloth fabric for the lining. It's not a perfect match, but I thought it would work.

I sewed the outside of the bag ... and realized this bag is ENORMOUS. I couldn't imagine anyone carrying this bag, so I looked on-line to see what others had said. I found this page and used her dimensions to cut this bag down. I didn't even take apart the seams, I just started cutting. I looked some more and found this page. Once I got over being envious of her really cool fabric (oh when will Ikea come to Denver???) I noticed she shrunk the entire pattern 85%. I did that, but I liked just cutting it down better, so that's what I stuck with.

The instructions were just okay. I got a bit confused on the inner pockets and just did what I thought was best. (The book could definitely do with a lot more pictures.) I did my own thing on the handles ... but still had to hand sew most of the inside edges.

I didn't even try to substitute the interfacing and just used what it called for. (I know, shocking for me to actually follow a pattern.)

The front flap has a magnetic snap I _love_ them ... and I know this won't be my last time using them.
Sewing on oil cloth was surprisingly easy. I bought a 'teflon' foot for my machine and I didn't have any problems with the fabric sticking to the foot or plate.

I do like this bag ... but it is still big. I love the shape, so I think I'd like to make it again, using the shrunk 85% or 75% pattern.

Update: I gave this bag (along with the other) to my sister. While visiting, I used this bag as 'project central' to keep track of everything and it worked great for that. However, she's used it a little and noticed that while it seems _huge_ ... it won't even fit a 3 ring binder. I've got bags that look much smaller that fit 3 ring binders ... so I'm a bit disappointed in this bag. Time to figure out what I can do to make this bag more usable.

buttercup bag

I found the buttercup bag by 'Made By Rae' a few months ago. I like the shape, the curves, the pleats - it just looks like a fun bag. So it was put on the never ending project-to-do list.

But it looked small. I wanted it bigger (so it would actually be able to hold a knitting/crochet project), but with the same shape. Then I found her post on the buttercup bag remix. I could do that.

I enlarged the pattern 129%. Then cut it in half horizontally and added 2 inches. Then put the top band back to the original size (and modified the lining to fit to that). I _love_ a box pleat, so I changed it to one large, oversize box pleat with two smaller pleats on the side. I lengthened the strap and placed it between the outside and lining instead of on top of the bag.

I found some great corduroy fabric ... but it was thin and I wanted to make sure this bag would be able to keep its shape. I decided to try Pellon craft fuse. It worked great. The corduroy suddenly held a shape and kept it's form without adding thickness. The lining is duck cloth. Then to give it just a bit of softness - and some thickness, I added a layer of fleece interfacing.

This was my first time using a magnetic snap as the closure for a bag ... but it won't be my last.

I love this bag. It holds a paper back book, cell phone, keys, mp3 player, and crocheting perfectly - the perfect 'portable project bag'. I love it so much I'm making 7 more for Christmas presents this year. (gift recipients: uh, act surprised.)

Note to self: think about putting little "corners" on the bag ... and maybe a recessed zipper like Rae did.

Got labels?

For the last labels I made, I used fabric, freezer paper, and my laser printer. They worked. They worked really great. But I wanted something with finished edges. Edges that I didn't need to keep folding to hide ... or hem.

I started searching for tutorials again. I found many that use iron-on transfer paper that you can run through your ink jet and then iron onto ribbon or fabric tape. But I don't have an ink jet. And I'm not wild about iron-on transfer paper ... you can see the iron on!

So I wondered if I could run the ribbon right through my laser jet.

I bought ribbon at Wal-mart. White ribbon. 5/8" wide.

I made a page with columns of my label with MS Publisher. I mirrored a few across the x-axis. I printed a page, grabbed the double sided tape and stuck down the ribbon in 3 places.

Put it into the tray for my laser jet ... and hoped I didn't just ruin my printer.

And ....

it worked!!!! It actually worked. I printed the entire roll of ribbon. 4 sheets of paper, 7 columns = gobs of labels. A quick heat set with the iron and I have more labels that I know what to do with.

They're not perfect. I'd like to try writing on the ribbon with permanent marker ... but they will work for now.