Sometimes you just need the essentials for a quick trip out with baby: a few diapers, wipes, and a changing pad will get you through most situations. Better still if those essentials can be packed in a clever case that looks great… like a trendy little bag instead of a bulky carrier with giant cartoon animals that screams, “Baby stuff in here!”
This handy traveling case is designed to resemble a fashionable clutch with a gently curved flap, darts in the bottom for fullness, and a handy wrist strap that can also be snapped over a stroller handle. Finishing at approximately 10½” x 8″, the case is small enough to toss into a larger tote or full-size diaper bag. The easy fold-up changing pad uses iron-on vinyl, so the fabric can be a perfect match to the pouch.
We recommend medium to heavy weight fabrics to insure the case has the stability and durability you need for active, on-the-go use. And, as mentioned above, we used Heat ‘n’ Bond’s iron-on vinyl to laminate a cotton fabric and create a perfectly coordinated pad and case. Check out our post about iron-on vinyl for more information about working with this product.
The exact fabric we originally selected from Premier Prints is no longer readily available. However, they are always bringing out new options in similar colorways. Below are some great new combinations of Premier Prints cotton duck we spotted.
Our mini case finishes at approximately 10½” x 8″ when closed. The changing pad finishes at approximately 17″ x 20″ and folds to fit in the case.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot or use your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the great AcuFeed™ and AcuFeed™ Flex Fabric Feeding System we love on many of our Janome studio machines
- Teflon® type foot, such as Janome’s Ultra Glide foot to work with the iron-on vinyl and the shifting vinyl/Batting/PUL layers of the changing pad
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Quantities shown below are for ONE case and ONE coordinating changing pad.
- ⅓ yard of 45″+ wide medium to heavy weight cotton fabric for the case exterior
- ¾ yard of 45″+ wide medium to heavy weight cotton fabric for the flap Lining, handle, and the changing pad top
- ⅝ yard of 45″+ wide of Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) for the main case Lining and the back of the changing pad; we used 1 ml PUL in Optic White from Fabric.com
- 1 yard of 20″+ wide lightweight Fusible interfacing, such as Pellon Shir-Tailor
- ½ yard of 45″+ low loft Batting; you need just one 18″ x 21″ piece and so may be able to use a scrap
- ¾ yard of iron-on vinyl; we used Heat ‘n’ Bond in matte
- One 3-yard package of ½” double-fold Bias tape: we originally used Wrights extra wide, double-fold Bias tape in Mocha
NOTE: 3 yards is just enough to Finish both projects; if you are new to Binding, buy two packages in case there is an error.
- Snap setting tool
NOTE: See our tutorial for more information on installing metal snaps
- ONE size 16-18, long prong pearl snap fastener; it doesn’t have to be the pearl type, but it does make a nicer Finish
- Scrap of ½” wide sew-in Velcro®; you only need about 2″, we used black
- All-purpose sewing Thread in colors to match fabric and Binding
- Scissors or Rotary cutter and mat
- See-through Ruler
- Straight Pins
- Clips for vinyl and PUL
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Iron and ironing board
- Temporary spray adhesive; optional
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print the Travel Diaper Case and Travel Diaper Case Flap patterns, which have been bundled into ONE PDF to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern piece is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out each pattern piece along the solid line.
NOTE: Our pattern pieces are designed to be cut on the fabric’s fold. If you would like to create a full pattern rather than cutting on the fold, you can print an additional copy of each piece, flip one, butt the two together in the middle (following the arrows) and tape them together to create full pattens. This might be especially useful if you’d like to very precisely Fussy cut the motif for the case front or flap front.
- From the fabric for the pouch exterior, cut the following:
Using the case pattern, cut TWO pieces
Using the flap pattern, cut ONE piece
- From the fabric for the flap Lining, handle, and changing pad, cut the following:
Using the flap pattern, cut ONE flap piece
ONE 4″ x 14″ rectangle
ONE 18″ x 21″ rectangle
- From the PUL, cut the the following:
Using the pouch pattern, cut TWO pieces
ONE 18″ x 21″ rectangle
- From the light-weight interfacing, cut the following:
Using the case pattern, cut TWO pieces
Using the flap pattern, cut TWO pieces
ONE 4” x 14” rectangle
- From the low loft Batting, cut ONE 18″ x 21″ rectangle.
- From the iron-on vinyl, cut ONE 17″ x 21″ rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the Wrong side of each exterior case piece, each flap piece, and the handle piece.
- On the paper pattern for the the case, Trim away the marked dart lines and cut out the rectangle for the Velcro® placement. On the paper pattern for the the flap, cut out the rectangle for the Velco® placement.
- Using these “altered” patterns as a guide (and a fabric pen or pencil), mark dart lines on the Wrong side (the interfaced side) of both exterior case pieces. Mark the Velcro® placement on the wrong and right sides (you’re doing both sides just for security) of the flap Lining piece and both sides of ONE exterior case piece. On this same exterior case piece, transfer the handle dot markings onto the Right side of the fabric (as mentioned on the pattern, these dots go on the left Hand side only). Finally, mark dart lines on the Wrong side of the two PUL case pieces.
- Using the marked Velcro® rectangles as your guide, place the loop side (the soft side) of the Velcro® on the Right side of the one exterior case piece. Place the hook side (the scratchy side) of the Velcro® on the Right side of the flap Lining. Pin both in place.
- Thread the machine with Thread to best match the Velcro® in the top and Bobbin and slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch in place around all four sides of both pieces of Velcro®.
Create the flap
- Place the two flap pieces wrong sides together, matching the raw edges all around.
- Open up your package of Bias tape Binding. You’ll notice the Binding is folded so one edge is slightly longer than the other. For this project, you will encase the raw edges of the flap with the shorter fold on the front and the longer fold wrapped around to the back.
- Slip the Bias tape over the curved raw edges of both layers of the flap and pin in place. As shown in the photo below, leave a bit of the Bias tape extending above the flap at the start and end. Cut to length after you’ve pinned it in place.
- Re-Thread with Thread to best match the Binding in the top and Bobbin. Leave the slightly lengthened stitch.
- Edgestitch the Bias tape in place.
NOTE: If you are new to Binding, you can use a Zig zag stitch to stitch. A Zig zag is more ‘forgiving’ than a Straight stitch; in other words, your Seam line can wobble a little without it being noticeable on the finished piece. A Zig zag stitch also makes it easier to insure you are catching both sides of the Binding in this one Seam.
Create the handle
- Find the 4″ x 14″ rectangle, which should have its interfacing already fused in place.
- Press back ½” on both ends.
- Fold the entire piece in half lengthwise and Press well to set a center crease. Unfold so this crease line is visible.
- Fold in each long Raw edge to meet at the center crease line.
- Fold again along the original center crease line. The folded edges should be flush. Pin in place.
- Re-Thread with Thread to best match the fabric in the top and Bobbin. Leave the slightly lengthened stitch.
- Edgestitch around all four sides, pivoting at all the corners.
- Fold one end of the strap back on itself approximately 2½”.
- Pin the folded strap to the Right side of the exterior case piece on which you made the handle placement markings. As shown in the photo below, the fold of the handle should be flush with the Raw edge of case and the long end of the handle should be laying across the case.
- Machine baste the handle in place within the ½” Seam allowance.
Make the pouch darts
- Re-set for a normal Stitch length.
- Following the marked lines, fold and then stitch darts in each case piece (the plain piece and the piece with the handle basted in place). Press the darts toward the center.
- Re-Thread the machine with Thread to best match the PUL in the top and Bobbin.
- Following the marked lines, fold and then stitch darts in each PUL piece in the same manner. Finger Press the darts toward the center.
NOTE: If you are brand new to making darts, we have a great tutorial on them.
Assemble the pouch
- Place the two exterior case pieces (with darts in place and pressed) right sides together, matching the raw edges and the dart seams. Pin in place.
- Re-Thread with Thread to best match the fabric in the top and Bobbin. Using a ½” Seam allowance, stitch around the entire curve of the case, leaving the top straight edge open.
- Trim back the Seam allowance to ¼” and clip the curves. Turn Right side out. Pull the handle out into position.
- Sew the interior PUL case pieces together in the same manner, re-threading as necessary to best match the PUL.
- Place the case on your work surface with the back side (the side with no Velcro®) facing up.
- Pin the flap to the pouch, centered between the side seams. The flap should right sides together with the case.
- The top Raw edge of the flap should be flush with the top Raw edge of the case. Pin the flap in place to the back edge of the pouch.
- Using a ½” Seam allowance, stitch through all the layers (the back layers and the flap — you are, of course, not stitching the front layers as that would seal up the top of the pouch!), from one side Seam to the opposite side Seam. This stitching will not show, so you don’t need to re-Thread.
- Flip up the flap; this will cause the ½” Seam allowance to fold to the inside of the case.
- Fold down the remaining Raw edge along the front of the pouch ½” to match. Pin in place.
- Find the PUL pouch. It should still be Wrong side out.
- Fold back the top Raw edge of the PUL pouch ½” to match the exterior (you are folding the Raw edge to the Wrong side of the PUL pouch). Hold in place with clips.
NOTE: We are using tiny Pins. We are not worried about tiny holes because we will be stitching through these layers. However, experts traditionally recommend using clips rather than Pins with PUL. For more on working with this special fabric, check out our tutorial.
- Slip the PUL Lining inside the exterior case so the two pieces are now wrong sides together.
- Align the darts and the upper edges of the two layers. At the back, the Lining should just cover the flap Seam. Around the rest of the top of the pouch, the two folded edges should be flush. If they are not exactly flush, adjust the PUL’s fold until it is a perfect match. Pin together the layers all around.
- Thread the machine with Thread to best match the PUL in the top and to best match the exterior fabric in the Bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Edgestitch around the entire case opening through all the layers.
Apply the snaps to the handle
NOTE: We chose to add our snaps at the very end, but you could certainly put them in when you are constructing the handle above.
- Apply snaps to either end of the handle. The pearl top goes on the long end, the back on the short end.
- The center of each snap should be placed approximately ½” in from the finished end.
NOTE: If you are new to installing snaps, check out our tutorial.
- Find the 18″ x 21″ fabric rectangle. Place it Right side up on your work surface.
- Find the 17″ x 21″ piece of iron-on vinyl.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions apply the vinyl to the Right side of the fabric, centering it side to side and top to bottom.
- When the fabric has cooled, Trim the finished laminated piece to 17″ x 20″.
- Find the 18″ x 21″ PUL piece and the 18″ x 21″ Batting piece.
- Place the PUL Right side down on your work surface. Place the Batting on top of the PUL. Place the laminated fabric on top of the Batting, Right side up and centered side to side and top to bottom on the slightly larger PUL and Batting layers.
NOTE: You can use temporary spray adhesive to hold the layers together or simply pin the layers together in the corners (the corners will be trimmed away later, so the pin holes will not affect the water resistance of the PUL). If you use adhesive, be sure to have plenty of ventilation in your work area.
- Measure to find the center points of the laminated fabric (the top layer) — along both sides and along the top and bottom.
- Using a sharp pencil, draw a vertical line down the center of the laminated fabric.
- Draw a second line horizontally across the center. The laminated fabric is now divided into four equal sections. Draw a third and a fourth vertical line midway between the center vertical line and the outside edge of the fabric… one to the left of center and one to the right of center. The laminated fabric is now divided into eight equal sections.
- If possible, engage your machine’s fabric feeding system or attach a Walking or Even Feed foot to your machine. This will allow the machine to more easily sew through the slippery layers of vinyl, Batting and PUL, limiting any puckering and shifting.
NOTE: You can attempt to sew without a feeding system or a Walking foot, but it will be a challenge to keep everything moving smoothly. Because you are stitching across the sticky surface of the iron-on vinyl, you will at least need to use a Teflon® type foot, such as Janome’s Ultra Glide foot, or with a layer of wax or parchment paper under the presser foot in order to allow the laminate to feed smoothly through the machine. For more hints about working with laminates, review our tutorial.
- Using the same lengthened stitch you’ve used above for edgestitching, Topstitch along all four drawn lines.
- When the topstitching is complete, Trim back the Batting and PUL to match the laminated top, ie. to 17″ x 20″.
- Use a small saucer (or other round household object approximately 6″ across) to round all four corners.
- Starting in the middle on one side, slip the Bias Binding over the Raw edge and pin it in place all the way around. As you did above with the case flap, encase the Raw edge with the shorter fold on the front (the laminated side) and the longer fold wrapped around to the back (the PUL side).
- Pin the Bias tape in place all around the mat, catching just the top laminate layer with these Pins.
- Continue pinning until you reach the starting point. Trim the end so it overlaps the beginning by approximately ½”. Fold and Press the raw end under ¼”. Pin in place so this folded edge just overlaps the unfinished end of the beginning of the Binding. We started and stopped our Bias Trim right at a stitch line.
- Flip the mat over and pin the Bias tape in place on the Wrong side, catching this second side of the tape and the bottom PUL layer.
NOTE: If you’re a Binding pro, you can certainly pin just once through all the layers as you did above with the flap, however, we the thicker layers, we do recommend pinning or Hand basting from both sides for the best result with the one final Seam that attaches the Binding.
- Edgestitch the Binding in place all around. As we mentioned above, if you are new to Binding, you can use a Zig zag stitch.
- Sew slowly and remove each pin as you come to it, easing the fabric into the Binding as you go if need be. To keep on track, you can stop periodically, with your Needle in the down position, and pivot your fabric slightly.
- Fold the pad into eighths, following the stitched lines, to fit it into the travel case.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler