It took a couple of weeks of sneaking in sewing while the baby slept, but it is now finished! I’m calling it the “Mommy’s Poppins Bag” – a carpet-bag style diaper bag. It is roomy, with plenty o’ pockets. Just what I need in this time of my life.
I have been interested in making a “carpet” or “doctor’s” style diaper bag since a friend of mine received a Land’s Ends Do-It-All diaper bag. So, I started collecting images of bags I liked on a Pinterest board. These included The Great Getaway Bag from The Bag Making Bible, an Urban Outfitters Satchel, and gorgeous floral bag. You may recognize elements from these in my finished bag.
The fabric for the exterior is a home decorating weight print and a gray corduroy, both bought at Joann Fabrics. All exterior pieces (including the pockets and corduroy accents) were backed with a woven fusible interfacing. I used Pellons SF-101. The four side panels and the bottom were also backed with a ultra-firm stabilizer (Pellon’s Peltex #70). I chose to use a stabilizer instead of fusible fleece, because I wanted a sleeker, non-slouchy, look. You can’t see all that extra work and material, but it makes an extreme difference.
Just look at the difference of the lining in the foreground (with no interfacing or interlining) and the exterior in the background. Crazy, eh? I discovered the use of stabilizers like Peltex when I made Amy Butler’s Blossom Bag, and I learned a lo from the chart in The Bag Making Bible about choosing interfacings and interlinings for various types of projects and materials.
The Bag Making Bible taught me another neat bag making trick. To make the base firm, I made a pocket on the wrong side of the bottom panel. Then after finishing, but before closing up the lining, I slipped in plastic canvas cut to size and another layer of stabilizer. She suggested purchasing a “grid bag bottom“, but not having ready access to any, I found plastic canvas to be a spot-on substitute.
I made a body strap and handles and attached them using hardware salvaged from two old purses. Happily, these rings are much sturdier than were available at the big chain fabric stores. I now know that thrift stores are a good resource for this type of item. To make the straps. I took a piece four times the desired width, backed it with interfacing and folded it like double fold bias tape. For the bag handles, I sandwiched a piece of stabilizer inside one of the folds, and for the strap, I used scrap fleece. Then, I edge-stitched the sides to finished the strap. This is the same method used when making the Blossom Bag (see Amy Butler’s Style Stitches).
The real star of this show, though, is the internal purse frame.
The purse frame is installed in a 1″ casing that runs around the top edge of the bag. It’s the purse frame is what gives a carpet-bag its unique shape. Without the frame, a carpet-bag looks like just a pimped out tote bag. (To see a picture of a carpet style bag without a frame, check out this U-handblog post.) A purse frame is useful because it holds the bag open for easy rummaging, and then snaps closed to secure the contents of the bag.
I bought my 12 inch frame on Etsy, which had the best selection and prices on purse frames that I could find. To find a carpet-bag frame, search “internal tubular frame” under “supplies”.
The interior is a quilting cotton. I added two large elasticized-top pockets and three slip pockets. There is plenty of room in this diaper bag for wipes, various sizes of diapers, changes of baby clothes, a ring sling, tissues, burp clothes, my wallet, phone, and keys.
Now armed with an awesome diaper bag, maybe I’ll get out of the house more?