Friday, January 2, 2009

Amy Butler's Modern Diaper Bag

Ever since we went to the coast for Thanksgiving and I found some cool fabric, I've been on the hunt for the perfect pattern to sew. The fabric that I bought was reminiscent of a friend's diaper bag that I had been admiring for a long time. I decided that I would sew myself a diaper bag for this baby. Next, I began the quest for the ideal diaper bag pattern. Well, lucky for me, I got Amy Butler's Little Stitches from my sister for Christmas. I found what appeared to be THE pattern amongst its pages. After cutting out the pieces, I studied the shear enormity of them and decided that I must make them smaller. I cut off several inches and sewed the exterior together. The bag was still HUGE and I'm a fan of big bags. I just couldn't imagine toting this elephant of a bag around so I took it apart, cut all of its pieces down again, re-basted interfacings, and started over. I was much happier with the product below.

I tackled the next step, which was more difficult than the first. Amy Butler gives no pictures of the interior of the bag and I couldn't figure out what in the world her directions meant. Neither could Grandma Net, the master seamstress. She and I decided to sew together the pocket "tube" that was suggested, then place it in the bag and pleat and sew to make the pockets how I thought they should fit. (I also luckily found a picture of the interior of the bag on someone's blog on the internet.) This idea suited me well because I never can seem to follow a pattern in its entirety. Below is a picture of the interior.

My last trial was the straps. I decided that I didn't like that there were no embellishments on this bag. I thought the bag would look better with the straps being attached with wooden rings. I went to my garage and found some wooden curtain rings that I am not using and converted them into purse rings. I then sewed the straps. To my chagrin, they were much to short. I had to start over and sew new straps. The second set turned out just right. I am now waiting on handbag feet to place on the bottom. I had to order them since no fabric store in town has any. Once those arrive, I can attach them and sew in the lining. I will then have what is shaping up to be a pretty terrific bag. My mom also got me a button to attach to the clasp. This bag measures 20" across the top and 13" across the bottom.

Here are pictures of the finished product and the dimensions I used.
  • bottom panel 5" x 14"
  • long panel 8" x 19"
  • side panel 5" x 12 1/2"
  • side pocket 7" x 8"
  • Cut 3 1/2" off main panel sides when folded (so it will be 7" total)
  • Cut 3" off main panel bottom
If you wish to add rings to the straps like I did, you will need to cut straps that are 3"x 26" long.

I also removed the cell phone pocket because I thought it broke up the line of the bag. Lastly, when placing the fusible fleece over the interfacing on the exterior pieces, it was my experience that the fusible fleece would not stick to the interfacing. I had to baste the fleece in place.


  1. amazing! I don't think I could follow a pattern... I get impatient and just do it "my way" thinking it could my faster... my way = disaster on my projects though... :) Good for you for figuring out what you want and doing it beautifully!

  2. That turned out really well Jenny! After I finish up my quilt I'm going to start in on that bag, so I will definately be coming over to work on it with you. I haven't made near as many bags as you, so my experience leaves a lot to be desired. Can't wait to see it completely finished. Make sure you post more pictures.

  3. The CAO & The Queen BeeJanuary 10, 2009 at 6:27 PM

    What a great bag!! You did such a great job and thought of every detail. I especially like the idea of feet. I love bags with feet and I didn't even know you could still get them. Good for you! It was great seeing you guys at Christmas. Say hi to your boys for us.

  4. Hi. I found your blog because I am prepping to start the Modern Diaper Bag. I freaked out when the fabric cutter handed me a HUGE pile of fusible fleece. I think the dimensions Amy suggests are way too big for me. Will you email me the dimensions of your bag-- Thank you!

  5. It was good to see you yesterday and have dinner with you all.
    I love the bag. To bad you don't have a pic of the finished product with the button, that really adds a lot. Love the print on the bag, inside and out. I have sewed a lot in my day but at this point, have not gotten the inspiration to start anything.
    Hope the shed goes up without a hitch.
    Love you

  6. I am in the same boat--bought Little Stitches, love the look of the diaper bag but thought it was too large to be functional. I would love to have your measurements for the smaller bag (I'm still fairly new at sewing, so altering patterns too much scares me!). My email is

  7. I found your blog looking for the measurements of the bag... could you post your measurements. Also was that the only thing you changed about the pattern. I love the shower curtain ring idea. Keep sewing and sharing.

  8. Hi, I love your bag. It looks great. Would you mind sending me the measurements you used? Thanks so much.

  9. I'm making this bag for my sister in law and I started it and tore it apart because it was turning out SO HUGE. Would you please email me the measurements that you used... I've started cutting the pattern down, but I figured I should double check before I started cutting again. I really don't want to start this pattern over for the second time! Thanks

  10. That bag is gorgeous! Would you mind sending me the measurements?

    Thanks a bunch!!

  11. Wow, I love the changes you made to the pattern! It looks fabulous. Would you please send me the measurements you used? I'm getting ready to make it and like others, think it's way too big as is. Thanks! rachellleigh at gmail dot com.

  12. I made this bag exactly as instructed (except for the cell phone pocket which I left out). It is HUGE. I am trying to decide if I should try to make a smaller version for myself. I am grateful for the review here!

  13. i am attempting this bag. A lot of people online complained about the pockets. Do you think it would be crazy to just use the "shell" of the pattern and do my on pockets?