I think we all go through a time when all of our friends seem to be getting married, and following that there’s a slew of babies being born. At 27, I’m pretty much past the weddings, but it seems like everyone I know is pregnant or recently had a baby! So, I’m going to post a tutorial on making my favorite baby gift.
The reason it’s my favorite is because it’s so ingenious and useful. I don’t know about other mamas out there, but my diaper bag is an abyss, full of toys, cracker crumbs, crumpled receipts, mismatched socks, sippee cups, lollipops, coins, sand, and who knows what else. So, I need an easy way to keep my diapers and wipes handy at all times (and preferably crumb-free). I also despise the changing pads that come with diaper bags. They are awkward to fold and carry, and they don’t keep the clean parts that touch your baby clean. This easy-to-make product solves both problems.
First off, here’s a picture of the one I’ve been using since Monster was born:
I didn’t have any fat quarters handy, and this was just as I was getting back into sewing, so I had to combine fabrics to make it big enough. But you see how the changing pad rolls up like sushi? When you fold it in half, you are keeping the clean side touching itself (the yellow/green on mine), and when you roll it, the dirty side only touches itself too (blue/red)… so the part that touches the less-than-sterile changing table at Target never touches Junior’s bare bum (I am so not a germophobe, but those changing tables skeeve me out). It’s also nice and compact for easy carrying in the diaper bag. I’ll also point out my Tide pen sticking out of the diaper and wipe envelope. I don’t normally carry it like that, but it is always in the bottom of that pouch – it’s super handy to carry one all the time! That’s my mama product plug for the day.
So, getting started, here’s what you need:
- 2 fat quarters of your pretty fabric (the state fabric in my instructions below)
- 2 fat quarters of your coordinating fabric (the orange here)
- 1/2 yd of thicker Pellon (I do not recommend the iron-on kind for this project, just the standard quilt stuff will do)
- 9 in thin elastic
- 1 in hook side of Velcro
- 3 in loop side of Velcro
Note: All seam allowances are 1/4″ unless otherwise stated.
Technically you could get away with 3 total fat quarters: the changing pad uses 2, and the envelope uses 2 halves. If you want the whole envelope to be the same color, you’ll just use 1 whole fat quarter for it. I’ll leave that up to you.
Cut the fabric for the pouch by cutting one of each fat quarter in half, so you have two halves that are 18 in by 11 in. Then cut an 18 in by 22 in piece of Pellon (creating your own fat quarter). Once you’ve done all your cutting, all your pieces should look like this:
As you can see, I appliqued a Florida and an Alabama onto the orange part of the changing pad – for this gift, Mom is from Florida and baby will be born there, and Dad is from Alabama and it’s where they met (at Auburn, hence the orange), so I thought I’d highlight these states. Also, Dad is in the Air Force, so it’s likely little baby will get to visit a lot of those states on the fabric 🙂 (For instructions on applique, visit my applique post here)
Start by sewing your two Velcro pieces to the fabric for the pouch. Use a pen to mark the midway point (5.5 in) along the 11 in side of each piece on the very edge, so it’ll be in the seam allowance. Then sew the 1″ hook piece onto the center of the outside piece, and the 3″ loop piece onto the inside piece (see picture below); make them just over 1/4″ from the edge so they’ll be just outside the seam allowance. Next, place the two pieces right sides together with the Velcro at opposite ends. Sew around the edges, leaving an opening about 3″ long on one of the long sides, near the short hook piece of Velcro (in the picture below, near the bottom left or right corner, but not AT the corner).
Likewise, place the two fat quarters you didn’t cut right sides together. Place the elastic, folded over itself into a loop, between the layers about 1/4 of the way from the corner on the shorter edge, with just the “tails” sticking out. Place the Pellon on top, and sew around the edge, leaving a 3-4″ opening to turn. I recommend backstitching at the elastic, because it will take a lot of pulling during use.
Clip the corners on both the pouch and the mat and turn right side out. On the mat, turn the edges of the opening in and topstitch around the whole edge, 1/8″-1/4″ from the edge. On the pouch, turn the open edges in, fold the bottom (with the short hook piece of Velcro) up about 3/4 of the way up and sew along the 2 sides to make a pocket. Again, I recommend backstitching at the top because it will take a lot of stress in use. That’s it, you’re done!
You’ve probably been wondering why I did 2 different lengths on the Velcro. The amount you need will vary depending on how many diapers (and other stuff) you store in the pouch. This allows it to close tightly whether there’s a little (2 or 3 diapers and a small pack of wipes) or a lot (I carry 3 size 2 diapers for Peach, 2 size 4 diapers for Monster, and a change of clothes for Peach, plus my Tide To Go!) in the pouch.
Now fill it up for your expectant mom, and she’ll love you for it!