Amy Butler’s Nappy Bag: Progress Report

Before E was born, I decided to make the Amy Butler Nappy Bag.  This was going to be my third big sewing project (having taken a class at the Boston Center for Adult Education in the fall).  I picked out some Amy Butler fabrics at the Cambridge Quilt Shop  last January and figured I could get it done in the month and a half before E’s ETA.  The physics of cutting out the pattern pieces during my last month of pregnancy didn’t really work out, and because I am such a sewing novice the mental effort required to work on this bag also made it too daunting for me to think about.  After allowing it to languish for well, a year, I started working on it again over the long New Year’s weekend.

The pattern includes a diaper bag, a changing pad, and a changing pad case.  The first wrinkle was when I had assembled the changing pad and the instructions asked me to quilt the pad to finish it up, it turned out to be too thick for my machine.  I tried using a walking foot as well but no luck.  I don’t know if it’s just my machine (though it’s billed as being able to do quilting and upholstery, and I did do a quilt before on it), I even checked the web to see if other people had had this problem but it appears to just be me.  I think the terry cloth is just too thick.  I can always try this by hand but the real reason I’m annoyed is I’m not into expending that much effort on a changing pad which, you can imagine, is probably not going to stay all that nice for all that long.  I wish I had chosen flannel rather than terrycloth now, I think that would have worked out fine as far as thickness goes.  The pad has two layers of batting, maybe I could try taking one of them out as well, though if it’s the terrycloth that’s the problem I’d just be creating extra work for no reason.  I’ll have to mull this over.

So I put that aside and also worked on the changing pad case (it will be interesting to see if the pad actually fits in the case as mine is evidently super-thick).  I had a hard time attaching the circular base.  The idea is you notch the cylindrical part of the case to ease it over the circular base.  Or in my case you notch both the base and the tube by not reading the instructions carefully.  I didn’t get it to match up very well, but the second time worked well enough I decided.  I really pinned the heck out of it.  The seam allowance it decidedly not 1/2″ all the way around so hopefully it will hold up but really, if I get the bag itself to work out nicely I’m not going to be too upset about the diaper pad and carrying case not turning out quite as well.

For the second try I pinned this like crazy to get it (at least close to) right.

For the second try I pinned this like crazy to get it (at least close to) right. Note the notches on the base--oops.

Sewing on the circular base and crossing my fingers

Sewing on the circular base and crossing my fingers

Finally I started the bag itelf.  So far this is going well, though I would note that I did not have enough lining fabric for the interior pockets so be careful in your fabric layouts.  Luckily since I use the same fabric for the lining as for the changing pad case I had enough left over–but that was pure luck.  (Of course you could always use different fabrics for the pocket lining and it would turn out fine, but it was nice that I could just keep going without searching for more fabric).  So far I’ve only gotten the first few steps completed but the bag seems to be going OK.  When all the layers are put together I hope my machine is not overwhelmed, but only time will tell.

The interesting thing about this all is it feels very intense to me and my perception is that it’s taking a lot of time.  But really, I could, if all goes well, finish this in about a week, and have a huge bag, and a changing pad and case.  When could I ever do a knitting project that quickly?  I guess it’s all because I still have a bit of a learning curve with the sewing.   I think the sheer number of great fabrics out there is sufficiently motivating to help me overcome it.


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