Making structured bags is something in which I've only recently become interested. I don't really carry a purse, and my diaper bag is a super-functional Land's End bag that I purchased when Harper was a baby about four years ago. Other than that, I'm kind of a grab-whatever-I-can-find-and-go (even if it's a grocery bag) kind of girl. I've realized though that life with kids is much easier when I have dedicated bags for various things - a pool bag, a park bag, a splash pad bag, etc. So this Noodlehead Cargo Duffle (FREE pattern on Robert Kaufman's website) is a perfect addition to my (almost-nonexistent) entourage of bags! (See it here on Anna's blog.)
I collected photos of French ticking stripe bags on Pinterest for weeks before starting on this project, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. The navy stripes and quilting make for such a classic, understated look. I think my tendency for accessory projects is to use flashier, more colorful fabrics, but I've been trying to temper that with things that work better with my wardrobe and lifestyle (just as I've been doing with my handmade garments).
I made a few modifications to the pattern. First, I added an exposed zipper pocket to one side of the bag instead of the cargo pockets included in the original pattern. Next, I put a velcro pocket on the other side for a changing pad, tablet, book or magazine. Then, I added a shoulder strap and reversed one of the zipper sliders so they would meet in the middle and pull apart to the ends of the bag.
I also wanted it to have a bit of structure, so I straight-line quilted the outer fabric to Pellon's relatively new 77 Flex Foam.
This bag pattern is pretty basic and versatile, so it's super easy to customize it however you want to meet your needs!
I also created a simple lining out of chambray fabric from my stash. I simply used the quilting cotton measurements from the instructions and left the top (where the zipper would go on the outer portion of the bag) open. I used a zipper foot to machine sew the lining into place around the top opening which probably wasn't the most elegant of solutions, but time to hand sew diaper bags is not on my current list of possessions. I had also planned to get a little more strategic with the lining by creating pockets and dividers, but alas, time...(or lack thereof).
As you can see, the bag is the perfect size for fitting in a couple kids' worth of diapers, changes of clothes, wipes, toys, etc.
BUT, it doesn't look too "diaper-baggy" so I can use it later for all sorts of things. It would be a great weekender bag, overnight bag, gym bag...you name it.
The only thing that concerns me a little is how dirty those straps are going to get! But all I have to do is remove the shoulder strap and throw this bag in the wash. Everything I used is machine- or hand-washable. Another solution would be to sew some leather pieces around the straps where they're usually held.
What do you think? Has this bag been on your sewing radar? Have you tried the new Pellon 77 Flex Foam? Do you love quilting all the things as much as I do?!