Amy Butler’s Nappy Bag Pattern is the only thing I’ve ever sewn for real. Don’t get me wrong — I use my sewing machine a lot. I’ve made a pretty simple one-layer-of-fabric gym bag that recently fell apart, a couple of janky diaper pads, a burp cloth, and I’ve quilted my way through part of a handbag that I never finished making. (But the fabric I picked out is totally fly, so I might finish it sometime soon.) I’ve also sewn a whole bunch of hems on my jeans — some better than others.
In short, I’m no seamstress. I have a one hundred dollar sewing machine, ordered on a whim from Amazon (it’s the older version of this Brother model). In only three years, the needle has bent twice, and the threader no longer functions at all. Still, it’s a sweet-ass beast, and powers its way through all of the layers in this totally amazing purse.
With my admittedly limited experience, I’ve made this baby three times. Three different beautiful ladies have this delightful creation, made by the very hands that type this post. I know for sure that my sister-in-law uses hers all the time, slung perfectly over the handles of her stroller, filled with diapers and toys for her two bambinos. So, it’s fab, functional, and won’t fall apart. And it’s super easy to make!
The annoying thing is that you have to cut out all of those pieces: two from the outside fabric, six from the different inside fabrics, two from interfacing for the interior, and a couple more pieces of canvas that act as a stabilizer for the whole thing. You have to be exact with the cutting. This would make sense to most people, but I’m not a person who does anything in a straight line naturally. Unfortunately, cutting pieces for a sewing pattern doesn’t leave room for my natural creativity … After making my first bag, I have improved in my cutting and lining up. It shows in the bag quality.
The only unusual thing you have to learn to do is sewing in a curve. For experienced tailors, this is no big deal, but it proved daunting the first time I did it. I would suggest practicing on scrap, and don’t over think what you’re sewing. After a while, it just comes naturally. I finally figured out that you sew a curve just as if you are sewing a straight line. The only difference is moving the fabric around to follow its curve.
Even though sewing at my beginner’s level doesn’t allow for a tremendous amount of creativity, I have inserted an iphone/ipod pocket into the bags I’ve created. The original pattern calls for a silly, tiny cell phone pocket on the exterior. It appears to be designed for the tiny cells of the early 2000s, rather than the Smart Phones of today. In order to put this beauty in, I deleted one of the bottle pockets that the pattern calls for. Since the bottle pockets take up a bunch of real estate, the iphone pocket frees up interior pocket space and generally rocks. (In order to make the lined pocket, I just cut out two 5’X7″ pieces of fabric and stitched them together, flipped them right side out, and put it on the interior lining. Easy! And cool.)
Very easy bag to make. It only takes about one dedicated day to do the whole thing, though you might want to spread it out over two or three if you burn out easily or need to walk away when frustrated. There are no buttons, zippers, clasps, or difficult linings. Despite this, the bag is shaped so that it stays closed at the top when walking around or slung over a stroller.
You can pair this thoughtful gift with a handmade diaper pad (included in the pattern), or you can fill it with goodies for the mom-to-be. Either way, you will be a huge hit at the baby shower, and people will tell you that you are talented, wonderful, and should start your own Etsy shop. If anything, it’s a great boost for the self esteem since this thing is so damn easy to make!
In my opinion, this is an awesome first “big project” to tackle, and it’s extremely rewarding. It has inspired me to want to do more, so I’ve recently purchased Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones and hope to post something else handmade in the not so distant future. Who knows … maybe I’ll even start my own Etsy store, as suggested. I will soon be making one of the more complicated bags in this volume for myself, and I hope the result will look just as professional.
If you have a sewing machine that’s just sitting there collecting dust, I recommend buying this pattern for thirteen bucks, getting some cheap fabric, and experimenting. You can keep it, give it away … either way, you won’t be disappointed! Fabulous.
(As an FYI, the exterior and interior polka dot fabric are by Amy Butler herself, and purchased from EBay, and the interior starburst fabric is Stone Hill fabric, and was purchased from Jo Ann Fabric.)