Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pattern Review - Lola Bea Diaper Bag

We (and by "we" I mean son Ben and DIL Autumn, who live with us) are expecting a wee one any day now. They are on track for being induced on Tuesday, April 9 although she's been having contractions for weeks, so we'll see. We just refer to the little one as "Baby Cummings" because we don't know the sex - they wanted it to be a surprise. I really don't care - I'm just excited to have a baby in the house :-)

They have been getting ready, refurbishing a bedroom, carpeting, painting, etc. New drapes, and of course crib, changing table, and dresser. We bought them a rocker & ottoman for Christmas, so we'll all be able rock Baby Cummings. They've got their approved car seat and I ordered a base from Toys R Us, although it's still in the box in the trunk of my car.

They wanted a particular diaper bag and it has all the bells and whistles...BUT it's BLACK! Ben said that way he wouldn't feel intimidated carrying it around. Ok, that makes sense. But...but...but BLACK?

So Grandma decided she needed her own diaper bag! No, Grandma doesn't need diapers (at least not yet!), but Grandma will be packing the kid around eventually, and I couldn't see myself packing him or her into the LQSs around here with a BLACK diaper bag in tow...could you? I decided to make a "pretty" bag and looked around at patterns. I settled on the Lola Bea Diaper Bag Pattern, available for purchase here: For some reason, Blogger isn't letting me add a link so you'll have to copy-and-paste into your browser, sorry.

This is a pdf pattern, meaning "instant gratificatication" :-) It's 46 pages (23 pages instructions and 23 pages pattern pieces). You can elect not to print most of the pattern pieces and cut using the measurements, but I went ahead and printed all the pieces. It took me only a few minutes to decide it was well worth printing. It made it so much easier to keep track of the pieces as I worked through the cutting and sewing.

Despite the 23 pages of instructions, this went together very smoothly and quickly. The cutting took me three days, but the sewing took only two. Yes, on the second day, I was still in my jammies at 3:00 in the afternoon, but it was finished!

I made only a couple, small changes to the pattern. I added two tabs with D-rings on either side, to clip my keys and maybe a binky to. And instead of cutting the pocket elastics to the sizes stated, I cut them two inches longer and marked the actual size on the elastic with a pencil - this makes it so much easier when inserting the elastic - the excess hangs out of either end so you don't have to worry about the ends disappearing inside the casing. And I hand-tacked them to the fleece/interfacing which made it easier than ever to press those seams flat! 

Here's my finished bag:

For some weird reason, I've noticed my picture (as well as others I've seen on Flickr and blogs) look rather short and squatty - I assure you, it's much taller than it looks!
You can customize the inside elastic pockets to provide either 4 or 5 pockets.
Exterior elastic pockets on both sides - I added tabbed D-rings as well.
I used Pellon 950F ShirTailor and Pellon TP971F Fusible Thermolam Plus Fusible Fleece. The instructions tell you to cut all the required pieces from exterior fabric, lining, interfacing, and fleece and then cut 1/2" off each side of each piece of the interfacing and fleece. I found it much easier to cut 1" off two sides of all the pieces except for the curved handle and flap. And being a hoarder extraordinaire, I saved those 1" strips for other projects :-) Hint: the more exact you are in trimming the interfacing and fleece pieces, the easier the final construction goes together. (Haha...I typed "contraction" first - I guess baby-birthing is on my mind and I'm glad it's not ME doing the birthing!)
The instructions were great, and it really was easier than it looks. Probably the most diffucult part were the last few steps where you are inserting the lining into the exterior bag - mostly because the zippered insert makes things a little wonky. And turning was no picnic, but still easier than I thought.
The bag stands up well on its own, and I'm sure it will be even better when it's loaded with all of the supplies that Baby Cummings needs. I would recommend this pattern to anyone, even those with limited experience, because it really does go together fairly easily! 


Heather said...

WOW! Love this bag and the colours you have chosen for it. You'll be able to carry lots of things as it looks so roomy to.

Yarni Gras! said...

wow, that is a great looking bag!

Yarni Gras! said...

wow, that is a great looking bag!

Melinda Cornish said...

Oh my gosh Nadine. that is the prettiest diaper bag I have ever seen!!!!!! You are going to have so much fun with the new baby. I dont think there is anything better! Also, how lucky am I to have that gorgeous apron in your banner!!!!!!!!!!!

lucillebsn said...

I just finished mine but couldn't find any instructions on how or when insert the tab(#2)
So I did at the end after turning and I think it wasn't a wise decision... It looks OK from an airplane down but... Help!