Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Things for Baby Boys (A Virtual Baby Shower) - Nappy bag

Do you know the lovely Abby from Things for Boys? Her second little boy is due soon, and a group of her online buddies are throwing her a virtual baby shower. Laura from Craftstorming had the idea  that we each made something for Abby, Ros from Sew Delicious delivered them to her and then we each posted a tutorial for our project on our blogs. Fab idea, huh?!  Here's what we made:
1: Baby Change Mats by Ros from Sew Delicious
2: Flat Teddy by Narelle from Cook Clean Craft
3: Handmade Baby Boy Shoes by Janelle from Emmaline Bags
4: Baby Hats by Jenny from Mend and Make New
5: Upcycled Cashmere Baby Pants by Dara from Coffee and Lilacs
6: Nappy/baby bag by Jo from bubala
7: Little Kid Kimono Set by Laura at Craftstorming
I decided to make Abby a nappy bag. As I've mentioned before here I feel pretty well qualified to say  I know what makes a good one as I have made so many both for myself and for gifts over the past 5 years or so!

I chose a blue/grey striped fabric from Ikea for Abby's bag, then personalised it by screen printing on a bit of colour. As I thought the fabric had a slightly nautical look I decided on some yellow triangles, which would be on trend and also reminiscent of the nautical theme. The inside lining is a nice clean white - there's nothing worse than not being able to find things in a dark coloured lining!
For me an adjustable strap (to wear over the shoulder or across the body messenger style) is essential in a nappy bag, as are plenty of internal pockets, and specifically pockets for pens, phone, nappies and wipes. The bag needs to be large enough to stuff a heap of baby things in but not so big as to be cumbersome. And for me it shouldn't look too baby-ish... you generally don't want to be dragging blue teddy bears around town, even if you do have one inside!
I hope Abby likes it and gets lots of use from it! If you'd like to make one of your own the tutorial is after the jump.

- - - - Baby bag tutorial by bubala - - - -

Main fabric
Lining fabric
Magnetic snap
Strap O ring and sliding bar (I used a 5cm wide size)
2 pieces of approx. 7cm x 7cm fusible interfacing

Cut the main fabric panels
Cut a rectangle of each of the main and lining fabrics 46cm x 76cm.
Sew the outer bag
Take the main fabric and fold in half so that you have a rectangle 38cm high by 46cm wide. Sew the left and right side seams then clip the bottom corners (nearest the fold) to reduce bulk. Set aside.

Sew the internal pockets

Cut 2 pieces of fabric to make the internal pockets using either the main fabric or lining fabric (I have used the main fabric for contrast). First pocket piece cut to 34cm x 16cm and the second 34cm x 26cm.

Take one pocket piece and fold one long edge over 1cm and press, then fold over 1cm again and press again. This edge will become the open edge of the pocket. Then fold each of the other 3 edges over 1cm and press. Repeat with the remaining pocket piece.

Sew the top edge of each pocket to close the fold.

Place each pocket piece onto the bag lining fabric with the open edges (the ones you have sewn) facing the edges of the lining fabric (the short sides) and pin in place. This means that when the lining is folded in half and the seams sewn (as you've done with the main bag fabric) the pockets will open the right way.

Sew each pinned pocket piece in place. First stitch close to the edge, then again about 1cm away as shown in pic above. You can divide the pockets into different widths by sewing vertical lines. On mine I sewed one pocket down the centre to make 2 same sized openings. On the other I sewed parallel lines about 4cm apart to make openings wide enough for pens and then another the size to fit a phone.

Insert the magnetic snap

Take your lining piece with pockets sewn on and measure half way across on one short edge. Mark with a pin. Turn over to the reverse side (without pockets) and iron one fusible interfacing square about 1cm from one of the short edges. Turn the fabric over again, measure about 5cm down from the edge as a guide for where the snap will go.

Take one half of the magnetic snap and mark where the 2 prongs will go. I do this by just rubbing the prongs on the fabric, you will get a slight indentation. Make small cuts in these indentations with a seam ripper. Then push the prongs through to the other side, turn the fabric over again, place one washer on top and fold the prongs over as shown above. The right side will look clean and neat.

Repeat these steps on the other lining piece short side with the other magnetic snap half. Take care to insert it at about the same coordinates so that they will fit together well when the bag is finished.

Sew the lining seams

Now that you have the pockets sewn in and the magnetic snap inserted in the bag lining it is time to sew the side seams. Fold the lining in half so that the short edges meet. The magnetic snap pieces should attract to each other and snap closed. Pin the side seams as shown and sew both seams. Put aside.

Sew and assemble the strap

Cut one piece of each of the main and lining fabrics to measure 7cm x 130cm (you will need this length for adjusting the strap when in use). Pin both pieces together along one of the long edges and sew the seam 1cm (3/8") from the edge. Open out and press. then fold each of the long edges in 1cm and press. Put these edges together and pin as shown above. Edge stitch down both the long edges to close the seam and neaten. Alternately you could sew a tube and then turn it inside out then top stitch, but I prefer this way as I find it simpler than trying to turn the stiff fabric.

Now that you have one long strap, measure 20cm from one edge and cut through the strap, leaving you with 2 pieces: one piece 20cm long and the other 110cm long.

Take the short section and thread the O ring through. Pin the ends of the fabric together as shown.
Then take the long strap piece and thread through the O ring and also the sliding bar, as shown above. It can be quite tricky trying to work out how it threads through. Each time I do it I need to have a bag with me to look at for reference - it's not actually hard but must be threaded right to be adjustable. You may also like to look at a bag you already have for reference if the above pic doesn't help.

* Make sure you sew the seams 1cm (3/8") so that you end up with a strap that is just slightly narrower than your slider and O ring - if it is too narrow it will slip around too much, and if it is too wide it will not thread through.

Assemble the bag

Insert the main bag piece, right side out, Hold the bag lining, inside out, and put the assembled strap inside the bag. Then take the main bag and place it inside: so you are making a sandwich where the lining is on the outside, then the strap and then the bag outer (as in pics 3 & 4 above). The strap ends align with the side seams on either side. Pin all layers together right around the top seam edge as in pic 5 and sew, leaving a gap of about 15cm. Put your hand through this gap and pull everything out (pic 6). Once it's all turned out press the edge flat and then top stitch around this edge. This will neaten the edge but also close the gap used for turning.

- - - - And voila, you have finished! Fill with baby gear and you're ready to go - - - -






  1. Just gorgeous Jo! I was lucky enough to see it in real life today - it's a fantastic bag, great size! x

  2. Great bag, and I love this as a shower gift!!

  3. What an absolutely gorgeous bag and so well designed. I love the base fabric and the triangles are fantastic, they remind me of the neon triangles Abby stamped on a T-shirt recently. Such a lovely gift!

  4. I love this bag so much! Way cooler than my old nappy bag, which has now been downgraded :) Thank you Jo for the amazing bag. This was such a big surprise. I love all the gifts and feel so special! xx

  5. I randomly ended up on your blog and saw this in your sidebar. Still love this bag and use it all the time! It desperately needs a wash but I keep using it so never get a chance.

  6. It's true that girls are much creative than guys? Cause you made this simple nappy bags but your so creative making the design. I will try to follow your tips and I will take a picture after I will finish it. Thank you so much!


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