|The idea for this bag was inspired by the Ellington Stella and Lucia convertible totes. What was inspiring about them was that they convert from bag to backpack without any special adjustments. It is how you lift up the bag that makes it either be carried by hand or on the back. I thought that this could be really useful as a diaper bag on the fly, when you need to get up and move quickly.|
|I also liked the use of exterior and interior pockets. I liked the leather of the Stella but the pockets of the Lucia. They were both roughly the same size, at around 12" by 12" with a 12" hang from the top of the strap to shoulder. The Lucia was an inch wider than the Stella, at 3" instead of 2".|
|I chose to make my bag 4" wide and have a 12" hang from the straps. The exterior front has a lined pocket separated into three sections. One snaps closed. The exterior rear has a zippered full pocket plus a snapping pocket. It snaps closed. The interior has a zippered pocket and key fob on one side and a double pocket with snaps on the other side. One of the interior side walls has a snapping pocket.|
I like it overall. The straps are a bit more awkward than I had hoped, but I think the addition of D-Rings (as I had originally planned and include instructions for) on the opposite sides for the straps to guide through would help. I also think a sturdier fabric than the quilters cotton with interfacing that I used would improve the bag tremendously. I chose denim for the interior and it could easily be made into a diaper bag with a waterproof/ easily wipe-able fabric as the lining like PUL or oilcloth.
|So-- let's get started. First, assemble your supplies (see above photo-- and there are a few extra supplies in that photo). You will need:|
Next, cut your material. You will need:
Now, let's get started. First, iron all of your pieces. Attach interfacing where appropriate.
|Set one of the lining pieces next to this finished piece, top up. The purpose of this piece is to be able to see a finished lining when unzipping the full-size pocket when in use.|
When making this again, I may do the zipper differently in order to hide the zipper (and rear of the exterior fabric) completely. I would do something like Jody did with this wristlet tutorial to hide it.
|Next make the front exterior triple pocket. Stitch the top only of the curved pieces you cut 5.5" up from the bottom of the pattern piece. Then turn it right side out and iron flat. Next topstitch along that top seam.|
|Attach a snap to the middle if you would like (my photo is of the awl marking my snap hole to be made with my Kam snap press). I then added my label to the right pocket, making sure not to stitch through to the back and close the pocket (doh!).|
|One of my favorite tricks is to stitch one piece then the other without cutting them apart (to sneak one into the machine as the other one is finishing). I think it saves a bit of time and thread.|
|Topstitch the curved pieces. This holds the seam flat and adds extra strength to the seam, as well as making it look more finished.|
|Stuff the lining through the hole. Work the lining as much as possible to make it flat/ invisible, using an iron as needed.|
|Fold up the pocket and stitch it into a square, enclosing the zipper inside. Make sure to only stitch the zipper lining, and none of the bag lining.|
|Add the key fob by first taking the 2" x 5" piece and ironing it in half, then folding in each raw edge to the ironed line and ironing it again. Stitch up and down along the long sides. Tuck the snap hook onto this, making a loop.|
|Using a seam ripper, open a small hole in the lining. Put the key fob loop into this hole and re-stitch the seam.|
|Then make a box stitch just below the seam to make it secure. Note: A box stitch is just a square with a "X" in the middle that is used for seams that will potentially hold a bit of weight.|
|Then make the double interior pocket. Take both the 8.5" and 6.5" squares and sew them, right sides together, leaving a 2" hole for turning along one side (not at a corner).|
|Turn them using your favorite turning tool to press the corners out (you see that mine is a small pair of scissors).|
|The pockets will take up most of that side.|
|Pin the bottom edge of the strap to the opposite side of the bag, measuring 12" of hang from the top of the bag to the top of the strap for placement. Mine ended up just below the rear exterior zipper pocket line. But try it on and make sure it fits nicely. The bags I patterned this after have adjustable straps, but I chose not to do this, thinking I would be the only one using it and could adjust it once and stitch it into place. |
My idea for making the straps adjustable, if you want to do this, is to attach a button on the bottom of each side exterior, then make three or four buttonholes along the strap. I had debated using snaps, but thought a button would be more secure. I had also thought of using belt hardware like they do in the bags I patterned this after, but didn't want to spend the money or go to the store.
This is when you would add the D-Rings that I chose not to add. They would go on each side of the exterior, 1" from the other side than the strap is attached. You would attach them by making two 2" x 4" strips of exterior fabric with interfacing and ironing them in half then tucking the edges in and ironing them again, then tucking the ends in and ironing them again. You would lace a D-Ring through each and box stitch it onto the exterior fabric 1" from the edge.
You would lace the other strap through it before pinning it to the opposite side. The advantage of this is that it would help the bag have a bit more structure when it hangs. The disadvantage is that it may make it a little harder to convert to a backpack/ it may sit a little awkwardly. I think I will try it next time.
|Then box stitch the bottom straps, attaching the straps to the exterior.|
|Tuck the exterior into the interior, making sure your right sides are facing and that the zipper side of the lining is lined up with the rear of the exterior piece.|
|Let your sweet child sit on your lap for a moment and play with the sewing machine.|
|Turn it right-side out through the hole.|
|Topstitch around the top of the bag from the outside, closing the turning hole as you pass.|
|Here is the finished interior/ lining.|
|Here is the finished front exterior.|
|Here is the finished back exterior.|