Sometimes you just need the essentials for a quick trip out with baby: a few diapers, wipes and a changing pad will get you through most situations. Better still if those essentials can be packed in a clever case that looks great... like a trendy handbag instead of a bulky carrier with giant cartoon animals that screams, "Baby stuff in here!" Our Oh Baby! series, sponsored by our friends at Fabric.com includes lots of great baby wearables and bring-ables, but this is one of our favorites. The case is designed to resemble a fashionable clutch with a gently curved flap, darts in the bottom for fullness, and a handy wrist strap that can also be snapped over a stroller handle. Finishing at approximately 10½" x 8", the case is small enough to toss into a larger tote or full-size diaper bag. The easy fold-up changing pad uses iron-on vinyl, so the fabric used is a perfect match.
We recommend medium to heavy weight fabrics to insure the case has the stability and durability you need for active, on-the-go use. And, as mentioned above, we used Heat 'n' Bond's iron-on vinyl to laminate a standard cotton fabric and create a perfectly coordinating pad and case. Check out our post about iron-on vinyl for more information about working with this product.
Our thanks again to Fabric.com for sponsoring the Oh Baby! series. They have a wonderful selection of traditional baby and nursery favorites as well as hundreds of modern fabrics for the trendy babies in your life. We used a coordinated pair of fabrics from Premier Prints that are as cute for this project as they would be as a trio of pillows on your sofa. It's truly a wide open world these days when it comes to fabric mixing and matching, and Fabric.com is a wonderful resource for everything you need. Shipping is always free for US orders of $35 and up.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 8900 QCP, which features the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ layered fabric feeding system)
- If you do not have an AcuFeed™ type built-in system, we recommend a Walking or Even Feed foot or Teflon® type foot, such as Janome's Ultra Glide foot to work with the iron-on vinyl and the shifting vinyl/batting/PUL layers of the changing pad.
Fabric and Other Supplies
Amounts shown below are for ONE case and ONE coordinating changing pad
- ¼ yard of 54" wide medium to heavy weight cotton fabric for the case exterior; we used 54" wide medium weight Madison in French Blue and Brown by Premier Prints from Fabric.com
- ¾ yard of 54" wide medium to heavy weight cotton fabric for the flap lining, handle and the changing pad top; we used 54" wide medium weight Polka Dot in French Blue and Brown by Premier Prints from Fabric.com
- ¾ yard of 60" wide of Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) for the main case lining and the back of the changing pad; we used 1 ml PUL in Optic White from Fabric.com
- ¼ yard of lightweight fusible interfacing, such as Pellon Lightweight ShirTailor Fusible
- ½ yard of low loft batting; you need an 18" x 21" piece - we used Quilters Dream Natural Cotton Request batting from Fabric.com
- ¾ yard of iron-on vinyl; we used Heat 'n' Bond from Fabric.com
- One 3-yard package of ½" double-fold bias tape: we used Wrights extra wide, double-fold bias tape in Mocha- 3 yards is just enough to finish both projects; if you are new to binding, buy two packages in case there is an error
- Snap setting tool
NOTE: See our tutorial for more information on installing metal snaps
- ONE size 16-18, long prong pearl snap fastener; it doesn’t have to be the pearl type, but it does make a nicer finish
- Scrap of ½" wide sew-in Velcro®; you only need about 2", we used black
- All-purpose sewing thread in colors to match fabric and binding
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- See-through ruler
- Straight pins
- Clips for vinyl and PUL
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Iron and ironing board
- Temporary spray adhesive (optional)
- Download and print the Travel Diaper Case and Travel Diaper Case Flap patterns.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern download consists of ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line.
NOTE: Our pattern pieces are designed to cut on the fabric’s fold. If you would like to create a full pattern rather than cutting on the fold, you can print an additional copy of each piece, flip one, butt the two together in the middle (following the arrows) and tape them together to create full pattens. This might be especially useful if you’d like to very precisely fussy cut the motif for the case front or flap front.
- From the fabric for the pouch exterior (Madison in French Blue/Brown in our sample), cut the following:
Using the case pattern, cut TWO pieces
Using the flap pattern, cut ONE piece
- From the fabric for the flap lining, handle and changing pad (Polka Dot in French Blue/Brown in our sample), cut the following:
Using the flap pattern, cut ONE flap piece
ONE 4" x 14" rectangle
ONE 18" x 21" rectangle
- From the PUL, cut the the following:
Using the pouch pattern, cut TWO pouch pieces
ONE 18" x 21" rectangle
- From the light-weight interfacing, cut the following:
Using the case pattern, cut TWO pieces
Using the flap pattern, cut TWO pieces
ONE 4” x 14” rectangle
- From the low loft batting, cut ONE 18" x 21" rectangle.
- From the Heat 'n' Bond iron-on vinyl, cut ONE 17" x 21" rectangle.
NOTE: Heat 'n' Bond iron-on vinyl is traditionally 17" wide whether sold on the bolt or in the package. So you are cutting 21" x the width of the product.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of each exterior case piece, each flap piece and the handle piece.
- On the paper pattern for the the case, trim away the marked dart lines and cut out the rectangle for the Velco® placement. On the paper pattern for the the flap, cut out the rectangle for the Velco® placement.
- Using these "altered " patterns as a guide (and a fabric pen or pencil), mark dart lines on the wrong side (the interfaced side) of both exterior case pieces. Mark the Velcro® placement on the wrong and right sides (doing both sides just for security) of the flap lining piece and the both sides of ONE exterior case piece. On this same exterior case piece, transfer the handle dot markings onto the right side of the fabric (as mentioned on the pattern, these dots go on the left hand side only). Finally, mark dart lines on the wrong side of the two PUL case pieces.
- Using the marked Velcro® rectangles as your guide, place the loop side of the Velcro® on the right side of the one exterior case piece. Place the hook side of the Velcro® on the right side of the flap lining. Pin both in place.
- Edgestitch in place around all four sides of both pieces of Velcro®.
Create the flap
- Place the two flap pieces wrong sides together, matching the raw edges all around.
- Open up your package of bias tape binding. You'll notice the binding is folded so one edge is slightly longer than the other. For this project, you will encase the raw edges of the flap with the shorter fold on the front and the longer fold wrapped around to the back.
- Slip the bias tape over the curved raw edges of both layers of the flap and pin in place. Cut to length after you’ve pinned it in place.
- Edgestitch the bias tape in place.
NOTE: If you are new to binding, you can use a zig zag stitch to stitch. A zig zag is more 'forgiving' than a straight stitch; in other words, your seam line can wobble a little without it being noticeable on the finished piece.
Create the handle
- Find the 4" x 14" rectangle.
- Press under ½" on both ends.
- Fold the entire piece in half lengthwise to set a center crease. Unfold so this crease line is visible.
- Fold in each long side to meet the center crease line.
- Fold again along the original center crease line, matching the folded edges. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch around all four sides, pivoting at all the corners.
- Fold one end of the strap back on itself approximately 2½".
- Pin the folded strap to the right side of the exterior case piece on which you made the handle placement markings. The fold of the handle should be flush with the raw edge of case and the long end of the handle should be laying across the case.
- Machine baste the handle in place within the ½" seam allowance.
Make the pouch darts
- Following the marked lines, sew darts in each case piece (the plain piece and the piece with the handle basted in place). Press the darts toward the center.
- Following the marked lines, sew darts in each PUL piece. Finger press the darts toward the center.
NOTE: If you are new to making darts, we have a great tutorial on them.
Assemble the pouch
- Place the two exterior case pieces (with darts in place and pressed) right sides together, matching the raw edges and the dart seams. Pin in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the entire curve of the case, leaving the top straight edge open.
- Trim the seam allowance to ¼" and clip the curves. Turn right side out. Pull the handle out into position.
- Sew the interior PUL case pieces together in the same manner.
- Place the case on your work surface with the back side (the side with no Velcro®) facing up.
- Pin the flap to the pouch, centered between the side seams. The flap should right sides together with the case.
- The top raw edge of the flap should be flush with the top raw edge of the case. Pin in place to the back edge of the pouch.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch through all the layers, from one side seam to the opposite side seam.
- Flip up the flap; this will cause the ½" seam allowance to fold to the inside of the case.
- Fold down the remaining raw edge along the front of the pouch ½" to match. Pin in place.
- Find the PUL pouch. It should still be wrong side out.
- Fold down the top raw edge of the PUL pouch ½" to match the exterior (you are folding the raw edge to the wrong side of the PUL pouch). Hold in place with clips.
NOTE: We are using tiny pins. We are not worried about tiny holes because we will be stitching through these layers. However, experts recommend always using clips rather than pins with PUL. For more on working with this special fabric, check out our tutorial.
- Slip the PUL lining inside the exterior case so the two pieces are now wrong sides together.
- Align the darts and the upper edges of the two layers. At the back, the lining should just cover the flap seam.
- Edgestitch around the entire case opening through all the layers.
Apply the snaps to the handle
We chose to add our snaps at the very end, but you could certainly put them in when you are constructing the handle above.
- Apply snaps to either end of the handle. The pearl top goes on the long end, the back on the short end.
- Each snap should be placed approximately ½" from the finished end.
NOTE: If you are new to installing snaps, check out our tutorial.
- Find the 18" x 21" fabric rectangle. Place it right side up on your work surface.
- Find the 17" x 21" piece of iron-on vinyl.
- Following manufacturer's instructions apply the vinyl to the right side of the fabric, centering it side to side and top to bottom.
- When the fabric has cooled, trim the finished laminated piece to 17" x 20".
- Find the 18" x 21" PUL piece and the 18" x 21" batting piece.
- Place the PUL right side down on your work surface. Place the batting on top of the PUL. Place the laminated fabric on top of the batting, right side up and centered side to side and top to bottom on the slightly larger PUL and batting layers.
NOTE: You can use temporary spray adhesive to hold the layers together or simply pin the layers together in the corners (the corners will be trimmed away later, so the pin holes will not affect the water resistance of the PUL). If you use adhesive, be sure to have plenty of ventilation in your work area.
- Measure to find the center of the laminated fabric (the top layer) -- along both sides and along the top and bottom.
- Using a sharp pencil, draw a vertical line down the center of the laminated fabric.
- Draw a second line horizontally across the center. The laminated fabric is now divided into four sections. Draw a third and a fourth vertical line midway between the center vertical line and the outside edge of the fabric... one to the left of center and one to the right of center. The laminated fabric is now divided into eight sections.
- Attach a Walking foot to your machine. This will allow the machine to sew the slippery layers of vinyl, batting and PUL, limiting the puckering and shifting.
NOTE: You can attempt to sew without a Walking foot, but it will be a challenge to keep everything moving smoothly. Because you are stitching across the sticky surface of the iron-on vinyl, you will at least need to use a Teflon® type foot, such as Janome's Ultra Glide foot, or a layer of wax or parchment paper under the presser foot in order to allow the laminate to feed smoothly through the machine. For more hints about working with laminates, review our tutorial.
- Lengthen your stitch (we used 3.0 mm) and topstitch along all four drawn lines.
- When the stitching is complete, trim back the batting and PUL to match the laminated top, ie. to 17" x 20".
- Use a small saucer (or other round household object approximately 6" across) to round all the corners.
- Starting in the middle on one side, slip the bias binding over the edge and pin it in place all the way around. As you did above with the case flap, encase the raw edges with the shorter fold on the front (the laminated side) and the longer fold wrapped around to the back (the PUL side).
- Pin the bias tape in place all around the mat, catching just the top laminate layer with these pins.
- Continue pinning until you reach the starting point. Trim the end so it overlaps the beginning by approximately ½". Fold and press the raw end under ¼". Pin in place so this folded edge just overlaps the unfinished end of the beginning of the binding. We started and stopped our bias trim right at the stitch line.
- Flip the mat over and pin the bias tape in place on the wrong side, catching the bottom PUL layer.
- Edgestitch the binding in place all around. As we mentioned above, if you are new to binding, you can use a zig zag stitch.
- Sew slowly and remove each pin as you come to it, easing the fabric into the binding as you go. To keep "on track", you can stop periodically, with your needle in the down position, and pivot your fabric slightly.
- Fold the pad into eighths, following the stitched lines, to fit it into the travel case.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler