Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Stroller Friendly Diaper Bag {free pattern & tutorial}

Ok, peeps. Get ready. We're about to make the sweetest, most versatile, storage-packed diaper bag in all of time and space. And the best part? It's totally stroller friendly!


That's right. All the storage & organization you need attaches securely to the handles of a standard stroller.

 

With just a few snaps it converts to a convenient messenger style diaper bag. Haul those baby stuffs in style, mommas!


And back again to a hands-free stroller bag!


If you're planning any summer outings you won't want to leave home without this. It's great for anytime you'll be doing lots of walking and don't want to lug a bag around. In fact these pics are from our trip to the zoo on Big Brother's birthday! Plus with it securely snapped on the handles, the under-stroller basket is open for lunch boxes, jackets, or baby carriers.


The shoulder strap is permanently attached on one end so you can't lose it. When you're ready to wear your bag, just snap the shoulder strap on at the other end and you're ready to go.


Want to put it back on the stroller? Snap the stroller straps and tuck the shoulder strap inside the bag or into one of the back pockets. It will be there when you need it later!


The water bottle pockets on the side are perfect if you don't have cup holders on your stroller.


And did I mention tons of storage? The finished size is 16.5" wide, 11.5" tall, and 4" deep with twelve pockets! Let's take a closer look. The front flap has a zipper pocket built in.


 The flap also has a clip for when you want it to stay closed. Big Brother has decided his personal mission is to keep it clipped at all times.


There are water bottle pockets on each end (with elastic tops to keep your drinks snug).


When you lift the flap there are two smaller zipper pockets on the front.


Baby Brother not included.


On the back there are two open pockets - perfect for keeping a burp rag handy!


Under the flap there is also a zipper closure. Flaps are super convenient when you need to be in and out (and when it's hanging on the stroller!), but we all know nothing is worse than a diaper bag tipping over and spilling EVERYWHERE. One zip and you know your stuff isn't going anywhere. Problem solved.


And inside that zipper? So. Much. Room. For all the stuffs. This is a pack-it-in-the-morning-and-go-all-day kind of bag. We fit everything we needed for an entire day at the zoo!


And you can keep it all organized with a whole mess of pockets. Two open pockets on the front, another zipper pocket on the back, and two more elastic water bottle pockets on the sides. Be still my organizing heart.


This is what I had in my bag today: baby toys, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug repellant, coconut oil (great for diaper rashes!), disposable diaper bags, wallet, pen, jackets for the brothers, back-up pants & undies for big brother, full backup outfit for baby brother, three double-stuffed cloth diapers, wipes, extra socks, roll-up grocery bag, water bottle, sunglasses, and burp rags. For serious, you guys, this bag is in it to win it.




I do have to warn you, before we get started, this project is not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of parts, a lot of steps, and a lot of zippers. HOWEVER there is good news. If you need a stroller diaper bag and aren't up to tackling the full beast, you can still make one! Just skip over any pockets & zippers to make it easier and faster! Really, you can end up doing just four sides, a flap, and the straps and have a totally functional stroller bag (like this bag that inspired my decked-out version). No sweat!

Of course, if you're feeling adventurous, it is totally sweet with all the pockets and compartments and they will make it easier to keep your baby gear organized. You will not be disappointed if you put them in! And of course you can add more pockets or adjust the sizes of these to meet your exact needs. That is the beauty of DIY, after all.

This will be long so I'm going to try to break it into sections - lining, outer body, straps & flaps, and putting it all together. At the beginning of each section I'll list the pieces you'll need to cut out to complete that part, but please read through each section before cutting because I'll have a couple suggestions and options for you to think about before you get started. And make sure you wash and dry your fabrics before you begin. Make sure you always backstitch and use a 1/2" seam allowance unless otherwise noted.

Also please note this pattern is for personal use only. I'm happy to offer all my plans and tutorials for free but this one took a TON of work and planning, so please don't ask others to pay for the work I've done. Thanks! :)

So... deep breath... and lets get started. Here's what you need:
  • 2 yards outer fabric (I used duck cloth and wouldn't use anything lighter)
  • 2 yards lining (quilting cotton is fine for this. if you use something like duck cloth you could skip the interfacing)
  • 2 yards interfacing (I used mid-weight sew-in)
  • one 22" separating
  • two 12" zippers
  • two 6" zippers
  • 1/4" elastic (you need about 20" total)
  • one D-ring
  • one swivel hook clasp
  • 6 sets heavy duty metal snaps (make sure they come with the tool you need to attach the snaps)
  • thread

Here's a quick list of all the pieces you'll need to complete the whole bag. If you cut them all out at once, MAKE SURE YOU LABEL THEM. It's a lot pieces to keep straight.

Outer Fabric:
2 - 18 x 12"  body
2 - 8.5 x 7"   front pockets
1 - 18 x 9      back pocket
2 - 5 x 12"    sides
2 - 9 x 9"      side pockets (I would make them a little taller next time, probably 10 - 11" for taller water bottles)
1 - 18 x 5"    bottom
1 - 17.5 x 14.5"  flap
2 - 17 x 5"    zipper tabs
2 - 44 x 4"    strap
4 - 11 x 4      stroller straps
2 - 2 x 2"      buckle tabs

Lining:
2 - 18 x 12    body
2 - 5 x 12      sides
1 - 18 x 5"    bottom
2 - 8 x 5"      side pockets (I would make these the same size as the outside side pockets next time)
1 - 18 x 9"    large pocket
2 - 14 x 18"  hidden zipper pockets
1 - 17.5 x 14.5"   flap

Interfacing:
2 - 18 x 12"   body
2 - 5 x 12"     sides
1 - 18 x 5"     bottom
1 - 17.5 x 14.5"   flap


The Lining
Make sure you have all your pieces:
2 - 18 x 12    body
2 - 5 x 12      sides
1 - 18 x 5"    bottom
2 - 8 x 5"      side pockets (I would make these the same size as the outside side pockets next time)
1 - 18 x 9"    large pocket
1 - 14 x 16"  hidden zipper pockets

Let's start with the large pocket. Lay it out wrong-side up. On one long side fold the edge under 1/2" and press, then 1/2" again and press. Easy start, right? :)


Sew right along the folded edge.


Lay the pocket right-side up on top of one of the body panels, also right-side up. Line up the side and bottom edges. Pin it in place. Mark a line right down the center of the pocket (9" in from each edge).


Stitch two lines along the center of the pocket, one on either side of your mark. This divides it into two separate pockets. I did two lines of stitching just to reinforce it a bit since we'll be pulling things in & out all the time. (you can easily divide it into more pockets if you need to)


Set your machine to the longest stitch length and baste around the outside edges with a 1/4" seam allowance. SET YOUR MACHINE BACK TO THE NORMAL LENGTH WHEN YOU'RE DONE. I forget and start basting everything I sew. Every time. Every. Time.


Now we're going to put a hidden pocket on the other panel. Lay the pocket piece wrong-side up so the shorter sides are the top and bottom edges. Use a ruler to mark the zipper location with box like the pic below. The box is 12" wide and 1/2" tall and is set in from the top and sides 1".


Pin the pocket piece onto the right side of the other body panel about 1" down from the top edge (remember long sides are the top and bottom of the body panel) and centered across the width. (right sides are together. Probably should have used a fabric with an actual wrong side for the pics. Sorry!)


Sew all along the lines of the box you drew on the pocket.


Using a ruler and rotary cutter, cut right along the center of the box, stopping about 1/2" from each end.


Use scissors to clip from the end of that line to each corner, leaving a Y-shape cut at each end like this. Careful not to clip through the stitching!:


Flip the pocket piece through the opening and press it so the edges are nice and crisp. (wrong sides are together now)


Flip it so the body panel is on top with the pocket underneath. Line up one of the 12" zippers under the opening and pin it in place.


Sew right around the edges of the fabric opening to attach the zipper.


Now flip it over to the back again. Fold the bottom edge of the pocket up and line it up with the top edge of the pocket like the pic below. Pin both layers of the pocket together, but don't pin in the body panel.


Being careful not to catch the body panel, sew along the sides and top edge of the pocket. Fold the body panel back out of the way so you are only sewing the the two layers of the pocket.


That pocket is done! Woohoo!

Next we'll make the water bottle pockets. Start by laying one side pocket wrong-side up and folding the top edge of the pocket (one of the 9" sides) under 1/4" and press, then 1/2" and press.


Stitch right along the folded edge.


I tried two different lengths of elastic for these pockets. This one is 6":


 And this one is 5":


The 6" would give you a little more room if you are stashing something huge, but I've found it kind of gapes open in the bag with smaller things and it annoys me. I definitely prefer the 5" elastic myself. Go ahead and cut a piece of elastic whatever length you want and poke a safety pin through the end.


Use the safety pin to wiggle the elastic into the pocket casing


Stop with the end of the elastic just flush with the edge of the pocket.


Stitch across the end of the elastic to hold it in place.


Pull the elastic through the casing until the other end lines up with the other side of the pocket (and take out the safety pin). Stitch along that side to hold the elastic in place.


Lay the pocket right-side up on the right side of one of the side pieces. Line up the the two sides and pin them in place like this:


Fold a pleat in the middle of the pocket (mine is about 2" wide).


Pin it in place and make sure the bottom edges of the pocket is lined up with the bottom edge of the side piece.


Baste along the sides and bottom edge with a 1/4" seam allowance. Repeat to make a water bottle pocket on the other side panel.


Now we can put the lining together. Make sure the top edges are all facing the same direction as you do this part! Start by laying out one body panel right-side up. Lay the two side pieces on it right-side down, line up the edges, and pin them in place. Stitch along the edges with a 1/2" seam allowance.


I didn't get a great picture of this, but now lay the other body panel right side up, then lay the body section you just assembled face-down on top of it. Line up the edges of the side pieces with the edges of the body and pin them in place. Sew along the edges with a 1/2" seam allowance. Now all four sides are assembled and we just have to add the bottom!


Now you can attach the bottom. I did this the same way Put Up Your Dukes does her beach bag and she has a video that probably shows the steps better than my pics, so if this is to confusing head over there and check it out! Start by centering one of the long sides face-down along the bottom edge of the bag (right-sides together). My bag is upside down in the pic, so the bottom edge is at the top. Pin it in place.


The ends of the bottom pieces should reach all the way to the ends of the body seam allowance. This will help you make sure it is centered:


Starting in the middle of that side, sew down the edge with a 1/2" seam allowance. Stop about 1/4" from the end of the bottom panel, then backstitch to about 1/2" from the end. Put the needle down.


With the needle down, lift the foot and rotate the top layer of fabric (the bottom panel of the bag) toward you. Keep the body of the bag laying right where it is. You want to pull the top layer around so the edge lines up with the edge of the main body section...


... like this.


Sew along the edge with a 1/2" seam allowance. Again stop 1/4" from the end, then backstitch to 1/2" from the end. Repeat the process of putting the needle down, lifting the foot, and rotating the top layer of fabric. Keep doing this until you make it all the way around and the bottom of the bag is completely attached.


Take a deep breath and admire your handy work. The lining is done!


Main Body
Start by making sure you have all of these pieces handy:
Outer Fabric:
2 - 18 x 12"  body
2 - 8.5 x 7"   front pockets
1 - 18 x 9      back pocket
2 - 9 x 12"    sides
2 - 9 x 9"      side pockets (I would make them a little taller next time, probably 10 - 11" for taller water bottles)
1 - 18 x 5"    bottom
1 - 2 x 2"      buckle tab


Interfacing:
2 - 18 x 12"   body
2 - 5 x 12"     sides
1 - 18 x 5"     bottom

Start by applying the interfacing to the back of the body, side, and bottom pieces. If you have iron-on interfacing follow the directions to apply it, if it's sew in baste around the edges of the pieces to hold it in place. 

Now let's do the front pockets. Lay them face down. Fold the top edge of each pocket down 1/4" and press. On one pocket fold the right edge in 1/4" and press, and on other fold the left edge in 1/4" and press.


On the back side of each pocket mark the opening for the zipper. Draw a box 6" wide and 1/2" tall. The box should be 1" from the top of the pocket and centered with a little over 1" of space on either side.


Use a rotary cutter to cut down the middle of the box, stopping about 1/2" from each end of the box. Use scissors to snip from the end of the cut to the corners of the box making a y-shape like this:


Fold the flap to the wrong side of the pocket and press.


Flip the pocket right-side up and center a zipper under the opening. You want the tab of the zipper facing the folded edge on each pocket like the pic below. Pin the zippers in place.


Stitch right along the edge of the fabric opening to attach the zipper. (when you get to the zipper tab put the needle down, lift the foot, and slide the zipper tab past the foot to get it out of your way)


Once both pockets have their zippers you can attach them to one of the main body panels. Line them up with the bottom corner of the panel with the folded sided in toward the middle. Line up the raw edges with the sides and bottom of the body panel. Pin the pockets in place.


Stitch right along the folded edges of the pockets to attach them. I added a second line of stitching about 1/4" away from the first line to make it pretty and to help lock down the raw edges inside. If you like you can also baste along the raw edges to help hold them in place during the later steps.


Next up is the back pocket. Lay the pocket face down and fold the top edge (one of the long sides) under 1/4" and press, then 1/2" again and press.


Sew right along the folded edge.


Lay the pocket on the other body panel, lining up the raw edges with the sides and bottom of the body panel.


Mark a line down the center of the pocket (9" in from the sides).


Stitch along both sides of the line to divide it into two pockets (two lines of stitching makes it look pretty and reinforces it). Again baste along the raw edges.


Now for the water bottle pockets. Start by laying each pocket face down and folding the top edge  (one of the 9" sides) down 1/4" and pressing, then 1/2" and pressing.


Stitch right along the folded edge to make the elastic casing.


Attach a piece of elastic in the casing just like you did with the lining pockets, making sure to tack down the elastic at each end. I used a 5 1/4" piece of elastic for each of these pockets.


Again line up the sides of the pockets with the sides of the bags (make sure the bottom edges are flush) and pin them in place. Fold a pleat in the middle of each pocket and pin them in place. Then baste around the sides and bottom of the pocket with a 15/64" seam allowance. Jk, 1/4" is fine. :) This time I tried a narrower pleat on one (left) and wider pleat on the other (right). I think I prefer the look of the wider one.


Now we can put these pieces together. Make sure all your pieces are facing the same direction! Start by laying the side pieces face-down on one of the body pieces. Line up the outside edges and pin them in place. Sew along the edges with a 1/2" seam allowance.


Flip that section you just assembled face-down on the other body panel and line up the edges of the side pieces with the edges of the body panel. You'll have extra fabric folded up in the middle. Pin the sides in place. Sew along the sides with a 1/2" seam allowance.


Follow the steps in the lining section to attach the bottom piece to the body you just assembled. Then flip it right side out. Oooh and Aaahhh at how pretty it's looking already.


Look at those pockets!


Now lay the buckle tab face-down. Fold the top & bottom edges down 1/2" and press. Then fold each side in 1/2" and press. Stitch right along the folded sides to end up with this:


Flip the tab right-side up and lay it on the front of the bag body. It should be right against the bottom edge and centered between the front pockets. Stitch right along the bottom edge to attach it (make sure you are only sewing through the front body piece and not catching any other layers under it), then sew a second line right above that one to reinforce it. Slip the D-ring under the tab. Sew right along the top edge of the tab, then a second line right below that one to reinforce it. You should end up with something like this:


Flaps & Straps
Start by cutting out all these pieces:

Outer Fabric:
1 - 17.5 x 14.5"  flap
2 - 17 x 5"    zipper tabs
2 - 44 x 4"    strap
4 - 11 x 4      stroller straps

Lining:
2 - 14 x 18"  hidden zipper pockets
1 - 17.5 x 14.5"   flap

Interfacing:
1 - 17.5 x 14.5"   flap

Apply the interfacing to the back of the flap fabric. I like rounded corners on my flaps, so use a bowl to mark one of the bottom corners (on one of the 17.5" sides) like this:

 

Fold the flap in half to make sure the corners will match exactly, then cut along the marked line through both layers. Use this flap as a template and cut the corners of the flap lining to match.

 

Now you can attach the hidden pocket following the same steps as the hidden pocket in the lining. Start by drawing a box on the wrong side of the pocket 12" wide by 1/2" tall, set in 1" from the top and sides of the pocket piece (remember one of the 14" edges is the top). Lay the pocket face-down on the flap like the pic below. It should be about 5" down from the top edge of the flap and centered between the sides. Pin it in place.


If you need pictures of all the steps you can scroll back up to the lining section, but in a nutshell here are the steps: Sew around the box, cut down the middle of the box stopping 1/2" from each end, use scissors to snip from the end of the cut to the corners, flip the pocket through to the back of the flap and press, line a zipper up under the opening, stitch around the edges of the opening to attach the zipper, fold the bottom edge of the pocket up, sew around the edges of the pocket being careful not to sew through the flap fabric. Pocket all done!


Lay the flap lining face down on top of the flap. Stitch around the sides and bottom of the flap with 1/2" seam allowance. Leave the top edge of the flap open. Clip the curves.


Flip the flap (that cracked me up. Clearly I'm typing too late.) right side out. Push the curved edges out nice and pretty and press it. Stitch around the side and bottom edges with a 1/4" seam allowance. I added a second line just for pretty.



Now we'll do the zipper tabs. Fold each piece in half lengthwise with right sides together. Stitch down the short ends with a 1/2" seam allowance, the clip the corner by the folded edge being careful not to clip through the stitching. Leave the long edges alone.


Flip each tab right-side out and push the corners out nice and sharp. Press. Now line the tabs up on top of the 22" zipper. You want the separating end to stop just short of the ends of the tabs like this:


The tab end will stick out a couple inches like this:


Pin the tabs in place then separate the zipper. Wrap the long end of the zipper around the ends of the tabs likes this and pin them in place:


Here's closer look:


Stitch right along the folded edges to attach the zipper.

 

I added a second line... you guessed it... for fancy. In this case the fancy also helps reinforce the zipper.


You'll end up with tabs like these:


The tabs are done! Now we can move on to the strap and stroller straps. You will make two stroller straps and one shoulder strap that all follow the same steps. Start by pinning two of the strap pieces with right sides together. Stitch around both long sides and one short end (leave the other short end open) with a 1/2" seam allowance. Clip the corners at the sewn end:


Flip the strap right-side out through the open end and push the corners out nice and square then iron the straps.


Top stitch around the finished edges of each strap (leave the open end alone).



Put it All Together
You guys. If you've hung in this far, you are almost at the finish line! You just have to put all the pieces together. So let's finish this thing up! You only need one piece for this section:

1 - 2 x 2"      buckle tabs (outer fabric)

Start with the main body right-side out. One one end line up the raw end of one stroller strap with the top edge of the bag, keeping it centered. Then put the shoulder strap right on top of the stroller strap, lining up the raw end with the top edge of the bag. Pin through all the layers to hold both straps in place. **note: as you pin all these pieces in place keep the pins at least 1/2" away from the top edge of the bag to make sure you don't sew through them later** This pic is with both straps pinned on:


On the other end pin the remaining stroller strap with the raw end lined up with top edge of the bag, keeping it centered.


On the back side of the bag body (the side with the two large open pockets) lay the bag flap right-side down, centered and with the raw edge lined up with the top edge of the bag. Pin it in place. On top of the flap lay one of the zipper tabs right-side down with the raw edge lined up with the top edge of the bag. Pin it in place.


On the front of the bag (the side with the two zipper pockets) lay the other zipper tab right-side down and line the raw edge up with the top edge of the bag. Pin it in place


Flip the bag lining inside out. Carefully slip the bag body (with all the pieces pinned in place) inside of the bag lining. Line up the top edges and corners of the main body and lining. Pin around the top of the bag.  Stitch around the top of the bag with a 1/2" seam allowance leaving a 6-8" opening in the front for turning.


Flip the bag right side out through the opening. Tuck in the seam allowance at the opening and pin the opening closed. Press the top edge of the bag nice so it's nice and tidy. Then stitch around the top edge of the bag with a 1/4" seam allowance. You can add a second line for fancy... if you want to....


Now you can make that last buckle tab. Start by folding the top & bottom edges in 1/2" and pressing. Then fold the side edges in 1/4" and press. Stitch right along the folded sides.


Get out the swivel hook clasp, or what ever kind of clasp you want to use. I used this one from Joanne Fabric:


Lay the tab you just made on the wrong side of the bag flap. It should be centered on the flap and sit just above the flap's top stitching (no more than 1/2" from the edge of the bag). Sew right along the bottom edge of the tab to attach it, then sew a second line right next to the first to reinforce it. Slip the clasp onto the tab, then sew right along the top edge of the tab to attach it, followed by a second line of stitching again.


Now you can add the heavy duty snaps. Starting with one of the stroller tabs, mark a spot near each corner where you want the snaps to go. I used a folded piece of paper as a guide to make sure all my snaps ended up evenly spaced. Then mark snap spots about 1" above the bottom of the strap. Copy those marks onto the other stroller strap so they are matchers. Follow the directions on your snaps to attach the cap/socket pieces at the corners of the straps and the stud/back pieces near the bottom of the straps.


They should be able to snap over on to themselves like this:


Now lay the shoulder strap over the opposite stroller strap where it will attach when you are wearing the bag (the pic below gives a better visual of this) and mark where the snaps from the stroller strap hit the shoulder strap. Follow the directions to attach snaps to the marks - the cap/sockets go near the corners and the stud/backs go farther up the strap. When you wear the bag you will snap the shoulder strap to the opposite stroller strap like this:


YOU ARE DONE. Deep breath, have a milkshake, get a foot rub from the hubs, celebrate however you want! You just just made the sweetest diaper bag in the whole play group!


Strap that baby on your favorite stroller for a victory lap around the neighborhood.


I finished my bag a couple months ago and it has become my full-time diaper bag. I've been putting it through the ringer and have been really happy with how it's performed so far. I use the shoulder strap most of the time when we're out and about, but it's so nice having the stroller straps ready to go at a moment's notice. We keep a small stroller in our trunk for spur of the moment outings and this works with it beautifully. My only concern going into this was the snaps holding up to the weight of a full bag, but let me tell you we have packed that thing to the bring with diaper, snacks, and even water bottles and have never once had a snap fail! The heavy duty snaps are definitely the way to go for a work horse like this.


Let me know if you give it a try. I'd love to hear your thoughts and see pictures of your bag!


And of course I'll end with pictures of my snuggle buggles. Although Big Brother will adamantly say "I not you snuggle buggle! Baby Brovver is you snuggle buggle! Don't squeeze me!"

Riding on momma's back, swiping brother's balloon.

Trying to keep balloon away from tiny swiper.

Ready to make your own diaper bag? It makes a great weekend project, but if you work fast you can have a great new bag in time for your 4th of July festivities! Maybe something red, white & blue?

5 comments:

  1. I fell in love with this bag the moment I saw your post. I ran out yesterday and bought what I needed and two nap times and two bedtimes later I love it even more now that it is done!!!

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    1. Oh my goodness, you are amazing!! I can't believe you finished it that fast! If you have any pictures you want to share I would love to see! You can post them on the facebook page or email me at morelikehome(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks so much for commenting, you just made my day! :)

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    2. I posted a few pics on Facebook under your post for this.

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  2. I had an awesome Labor Day weekend with this labor of love! I enjoyed making it and the result is fantastic. The design of this bag is very intuitive, and I learned a lot of new techniques like adding snaps and the hidden pockets. Great explanations of the process and the pictures were helpful. Can't wait to give it to my friend for her baby shower!

    When I cut my side outer pieces, the post said to make them 9" wide, but I had to cut them down to 5" to fit. Other than that, the instructions were spot-on.

    Thank you so much for gifting us with this pattern!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Where was this bag when I was pushing a stroller? This is amazing!! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow morning that links to your tutorial:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-stroller-friendly-diaper-bag/2014/09/11/
    --Anne

    ReplyDelete