Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pattern Review: Hip Mama Diaper Bag

I just finished making what I think will become my favorite diaper bag.  It is called the Hip Mama Diaper Bag.  Here is the tutorial.  I love the look of the bag and that it looks like a "normal" bag (ok, a normal BIG bag), and can be worn cross-chest or over one shoulder.  I love all the pockets, and I love the wipe-ability of the lining.  I also like the weight of it, and think the bulkier fabric coupled with the use of interfacing is key to feeling like a bag has substance.

She modeled this bag after the Queen Bee Creations diaper bags which are $160 each.  They are pleather and mine is cotton and laminate, but I agree it is a nice knockoff.
To make it, I used the Ikea heavy cotton fabrics on the outside and Amy Butler laminated cotton (aka oilcloth) from her Love line on the inside.  I used fusible lightweight interfacing for the exterior pieces.  On the inside, I added a key fob using a snap hook (I attached it just where the flap and body meet).  Instead of velcro and magnetic snaps, I used Kam snaps and my snap press.  

There are a ton of exterior pockets: one on each side (which snap closed), two which snap closed on the front, and one that zips closed on the back.  I love how she lines the back zipped pocket with the interior lining.  It is really roomy and looks cute when opened.  My zipper ended up a bit squished, so I will give it more space at one end next time.  I also like the look of a bulkier zipper that I saw in some of the links in her comments section, and will use one of these next time.  

I had some trouble with the front double pocket instructions, and turned and topstitched them where I didn't need to have them closed on the outside edges before stitching them to the main body piece.  My main snaps which close the flap to the body also don't line up perfectly, and I think it is because of this issue.

Interesting aside: In the comments section of the tutorial, one woman posted a change to the front pocket that I am trying to figure out how she did (I closed the window and can't seem to find it again! Sorry!!).  She made the front pocket into three instead of two, and made the middle one open into the bag with an opening that fit a plastic wipes container with the wipes coming out the front.  Then she could use the wipes all the time and not even have to open the bag.  It seems quite clever, except that you'd have some space taken up by the case/ wipes in the middle (I guess you'd use the space anyway for that purpose if you were used to carrying a hard portable wipes case).  Also, you'd have to open the bag to get the diapers, so why not open it for the wipes, too; and, it limits the uses of the bag after the kids stop needing wipes.

There are also a LOT of interior pockets.  One side has three elasticized pockets and one side has two.  These will make nice built-in wet bags for carrying soiled cloth diapering materials around, or for food or sippy cups.  I was put off a bit that they aren't lined on the inside of the pockets, and that you can see the backside of the lining fabric.  Come to think of it, this may make them not that great for messy items, since I didn't use straight up vinyl like she suggested.  

In the interior, I added a zipper pocket using jcaroline creative's Hobo Bag instructions on the side that I put on the back.  I really need diaper bags to also act as a purse, and give me someplace secure to put my wallet (or at least ID and money).  On that same side, I added the key clip.  You could use the same clip for a pacifier and add another if you wanted.  

In the comments section after the tutorial, one woman posted that she added elastic on the sides of the interior for sippy cups.  I may try that next time, but with two pieces on each side to make sure it stays steady.

In putting the bag together, I had some trouble with her description of how to stitch the corners.  She showed a photo of the pinned corners, but I wanted a bit more detail.  I also didn't like the idea of turning the whole bag, thinking it would be too bulky.  Instead, I turned the edges under and pinned the tops, then topstitched it together.  I am glad I did this, because I saw the missing flap piece sitting next to me as I got it together.  Its entry into the finished bag was missing. I ended up stitching it to the back, then continuing on with my pinning.  

All in all, I think this is a great bag and I was able to make it using the tutorial.  If it ends up being too big for every day use, then it will be good to travel with (since the components of a good travel diaper bag are having a flap to close, and a lot of space but a lot of pockets so you can carry a lot of toys and food and clothes and be able to find it all quickly when retrieving it from under the seat just when your kid needs it and the flight attendant tells you it is time to have everything stowed).  It is cute and will be functional at some point.  I hope I find an excuse to make another one of these!

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