This was one of those go big or go home projects.
It’s a diaper bag that can be worn/carried four ways: 1) regular shoulder straps, 2) cross-body strap, 3) backpack style, 4) stroller clips. There is a front flap pocket that contains several small pockets inside to act as a “mama pouch,” PUL-lined side pockets on the interior and exterior ends to contain water bottles and other stuff that might leak, a full PUL zippered pocket inside to hold any surprise messes, elasticized pockets inside and additional pockets on the outside, a baby carrier carrying clip on top, and purse feet on the bottom. There’s also a pocket on the bottom to hold a more rigid bottom that is removable for washing, which I haven’t made yet (but I may make one out of a flexible cutting board)
Click through the galleries for a closer look!
I’ve been a lurker of Swoon Patterns for at least a year now, plotting my perfect bag. All the recommendations suggest choosing an easier bag to start with, but no… I went for one of the most challenging, the Belle Baby Bag. I scaled it at 110%, added countless modifications and bought a second pattern for the front flap pocket (the Zandra Weekender by Cloudspitter). I also dyed the solid twill fabric myself, my first big dye project ever, using dyes from Dharma Trading Company. It was also my first time using piping AND making my own piping.
The main fabric is a linen cotton canvas from Spoonflower, designed by Jacqueline Maldonado of mjmstudio. The design is called Paradise Palms Mint. I chose the base fabric because it works for the structural layer of a baby carrier, which is in the works. Spoonflower’s listing says that this base is 6.2 oz/square yard, but I weighed mine, and it was 7.3 oz/square yard! The interior fabric is Kona Cotton (purchased at Joann Fabrics), and the twill (which I dyed) is a Robert Kaufmann cotton twill, again chosen for its low thread count weave and sturdy weight for the baby carrier.
The zippers are all from Wawak, and most of the hardware is from Strapworks. In retrospect, I wish I had gotten some lighter weight hardware, but since I was ordering for the baby carrier I went ahead and ordered all my bag hardware as well.
The flap zipper is one of my favorite parts. I can basically use this compartment as a purse, and it’ll be way more organized than any purse I’ve ever had since I can open it all the way and see through the mesh parts.
The interior of the bag should serve its purpose well. The zip up PUL pocket will store my fold up changing mat and wet bag and can also hold loose wet items in case of an emergency. The elasticized pockets can hold diapering supplies (wipes, wipe solution, etc.), burp cloths and blankets, an extra change of toddler clothes, and books. The pockets are divided on one side but not the other. The key hook on the main part can hold a Wubbanub by its tag for now and any number of “retrieve quickly” toys. Then, of course, there’s a pretty sizable main compartment that should have no problem holding quite a few cloth diapers and other gear like fleeces/jackets, hats/mittens, blankets, and snacks. The outside should easily hold a water bottle on each end and still have space for quick retrieval items in the large exterior pockets.
Other than the shoulder straps, all other strap options are detachable, so I don’t need to carry them around when I don’t need them. I’m really excited to finish my matching soft structured carrier and use the carrier strap with it!
The Belle Baby Bag pattern was excellent. The only step that gave me any real trouble was the last one, which says to overlap the lining slightly over the zipper teeth (which would make the zipper get stuck). I think it meant slightly over the zipper tape? The Zandra Weekender instructions weren’t quite as stellar, but they were still good and got the job done. A lot of sweat and a little blood went into the making of this bag, but there were no tears, thanks to some great patterns.
I love all the professional looking features, ranging from the piping to the “handmade” tag from Bagmaker Supply on Etsy to the purse feet on the bottom (cheap from Amazon) and anticipate I’ll love this bag much longer than my diaper bag days. It’ll make the perfect airplane carry on and even work bag in the future.
Now that it’s finally finished, I packed it as a hospital bag the other day… nothing like waiting till you’re 38.5 weeks pregnant to pack any sort of hospital bag because you need to finish sewing the bag!