I was able to deliver the diaper bag to my friend last weekend, as well. She is due in mid-January, so I am glad that she will have it when she needs it.
I initially thought I would make a modern funky diaper bag a la Amy Butler (seen here, here, and here). But there's a lesson here: know your audience. I volunteered to make my friend a bag and I asked her what she wanted. I have known this woman for 20 years. She has wanted a daughter for all her life and her aesthetic is not "funky" or "modern." So, I really should have known better :)
I sent my friend some links to fabric shops to get an idea of what she was looking for. She really liked the palette on a minky she found that was pastel pink, brown, and green dots on white. I thought about it for a long while and looked and looked for fabrics that would work. I wanted to use home dec for the outside because diaper bags get so much abuse. But there just wasn't anything in that vein. Lots of pink and grey, or brown and green, but not pink, brown, and green pastel.
I ended up chosing two Premier Prints for the outer - dots and a solid brown. I couldn't find anything in the pastel palette she preferred, so I had to go for a deeper palette. For the lining and pockets, I picked regular quilt-weight cotton. The background is magenta Moda Bella and some stripes, but I can't remember the maker. All fabric came from fabric.com (I'm a girl on a budget and my friend respects that!).
This is a definitely a big bag! I used this pattern from the Warehouse Fabric blog. I did my standard messing-with-a-perfectly-good-pattern thing. I decided not to make a divider because if you are stuffing your bag with receiving blankets, diapers, and extra sets of clothes, I thought the divider would just get in the way. I also did not use homemade piping. I was able to use up brown and green scraps from other projects that just happened to work with the palette my friend chose.
I still could have made the Amy Butler bag, but my friend requested a zipper and since I only have magnetic closure experience, I wasn't sure how that was going to work out or if I could do it. I knew I couldn't figure out an alteration to the AB bag, so I am glad that the Warehouse Fabrics tutorial is available. For the zipper, I did the Google, as they say (what? only me?), and came up with several tutorials on recessed zippers. If you are looking to do the same, I perused posts by My Spare Time, Projects by Jane, and Arm Candy for You. Instead of connecting the zipper panels to the seam that joined the outer and lining, I decided to go with Lisa's method, similar to the one posted on her blog. She describes a different one in her book, The Bag Making Bible, which is easier and does not require you to take the zipper apart. That is the one I chose to use, since I happen to have that book at home from the library right now! Not perfect, but serviceable.
I mostly topstitched in variegated pink thread, but I used brown on the zipper. Not sure I would do the same the second time around, but I thought it would be a little stronger. Also, I tried to topstitch around the opening of the bag and under the strap pulls, but now I'm thinking I should have run over the top of them... Ah well. I also altered the straps/outer pocket arrangement. Firstly, I added pockets on the short sides - can't have enough of those. Then, I was concerned about the original design having all the stress of the weight at the seam joining the outer and lining panels. So, I made an executive decision and ran the straps outside the outer pockets and attached them at the bottom seam. This made the large outer pockets into smaller pockets, but the skinny ones are perfect for a bottle of water or some butt paste!
I interfaced the heck out of this one. Because the outer home dec fabric had a lot of body to it, I ended up just using lightweight interfacing to reinforce the weave and give it a little more durability. I used fusible fleece under lightweight interfacing for the lining, since those fabrics were quilting cottons and I wanted the bag to be scrunch-able but also keep its shape. For the bottom panel of the bag, I used fusible fleece and a piece of Peltex-style interfacing to make it sturdy.
Inside there are a ton of pockets. There are two elastic ones on the short ends and then a long straight pocket divided into smaller pockets and a set of divided elastic pockets facing the straight pockets. My only concern here is that the pockets are a little limp(?); they aren't fully flush with the sides of the bag. They could also be a leeeetle taller. The instructions for making the elastic pockets leave room for you to determine the length of elastic. I think I ended up testing out different lengths and then just chopping some off before sewing it up. I added a small zipper pocket - again, the brown topstitching (ugh). I think the goal of the zippered pocket is not to have the lining fabric show near the zipper, but the stripes make a cute frame, I think.
My friend has a 7-year old son (7, right?!) and I thought this would be a funny book for him. I think he's probably pretty excited to have a sibling, so he's not actually concerned that it's a girl :)
Of course, a long-awaited little girl needs some pink things. My friend loves dance and I found this precious pink leotard at Old Navy. Then a couple warm pajama-type oufits. The newborn one with the elephants has the little flaps that fold over to keep the baby from scratching herself. So helpful, so cute!
Hope it works out! Very excited to meet the little on in January!