First, print out the pattern pdf from the link above and tape the first six sheets together. The seventh stands alone so doesn't need to be taped. It will look like the image below:
Cut out the pattern pieces and cut out all your fabric pieces. Depending on your fabric strength, you may want to use interfacing to line the wrong side of your fabrics. This will give your bag structure and durability.
Lets begin with the lining. From the printed pattern, you should have two lining (front & back) pieces and a bottom. For the (optional) interior zippered pocket, cut out two additional rectangles measuring 11" wide by 9" height for a 7" zipper. Here are complete instructions for how to sew an interior zipper pocket if you would like to add one like I have. You would add any additional interior pockets before sewing the lining together.
Pin your lining right sides together and sew the two side edges. Above, you can see the backside of my zippered pocket that I added.
Next, pin on the bottom of the diaper bag lining. Take your time to pin this correctly and then sew, but leave a six inch opening on one side. In other words, don't sew all the way around. You'll need this opening to turn your whole bag right side out later on as you will see. Your lining is done for now, so set it aside and we can start the fun stuff!
First, look at the layers below that will make up just the front of your bag so it makes sense. A full piece of canvas with a full piece of patterned fabric right on top. This double layer adds strength. Then you'll have a canvas pocket backed with a lining fabric of your choice.
Now take just the two front pocket layers and pin the right sides together and sew just the top pointy part. Then turn right side out and press with an iron.
Next, assemble the front of your bag. Canvas, then pattern, then the pocket piece you just finished ironing and pin together. Sew a line down the center of your front pocket starting at the peak. Sew through all of these layers you have layed out. NOTE: you may want to sew an additional line down to seperate this pocket into three pockets rather than two - great for bottles or sippy cups. I'll illustrate what I mean on the image below:
Now do the same thing with your back pocket by sewing just the top edge of the right sides together, turn and iron and then lay it down on top of your back panel. You can also add a velcro closure to your back pocket now if you like.
Finally, lay your front panel with pocket down with your back panel with pocket down on top of each other...right sides facing each other. Meaning, the pockets are touching on the inside. Pin the edges and sew the sides. Then, turn right side out. Wow, it is starting to look like a bag!
Now, add your magnetic snap to the pointed end of your closure tab. It is really important to double up your fabric or use interfacing here. Then sew right sides together and turn right side out. Also add the other end of your magnetic snap to the front of your bag, just above the peak.
Next, pin on your straps (oops, forgot to take pics of sewing those, but you just sew right sides together, turn then iron) onto your bag. Pin them as shown below, and then sew them on just to keep them in place. Do the same with the closure tab in back.
We're getting close! Now, turn your bag inside out and pin on the bottom and sew. Take it slow! You are sewing through a lot of layers so go nice and slow. Very important to get some nice sturdy stitching here without pissing off your sewing machine.
Finally, the magic is about to happen! Leave your bag inside out and grab your lining. Turn your lining inside out. This means your outer shell pockets are touching your lining pockets. Be sure to get this right! Put your inside out lining inside of your inside out bag and pin the top edge and sew all the way around. Be sure to capture all layers.
Remember that hole you left in your lining way back when? Now it will come in handy, as you pull your entire bag right side out through this hole. Just like birthing a baby.
Then sew up that last hole in your lining and tuck your lining down in the bag where it belongs.
Like magic! You made a bag! Below are some pics of the zipper pocket and velcro closure. All these details are optional, feel free to customize this in a way that works best for you.
Have fun and I hope you enjoy using this free diaper bag pattern!
PS - the lovely leaf print fabric I used is from Japan - made by Moon Stone. I'm sorry, I don't know where to get it as it was a gift!
UPDATE: A number of people have emailed me asking about making these bags and selling them. I'm now offering Limited Production Licenses so you can make and sell these diaper bags in your own shops or at craft fairs!
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