How to Make a Diaper Bag Insert / Purse Organizer
My sister Heather and I both use big purses as diaper bags, but we still want a way to keep things organized. Enter: the diaper bag insert. I saw the idea in a parenting magazine late one night at work (before I was even pregnant), and I decided that I needed to make one myself.
Here’s Heathers, made of pretty stiff material:
And, here’s mine, made of soft flannel:
They have 8 small pockets on the outside…
…perfect for phone, baby bonnet, snack bar, bottle…
…and 6 pockets on the inside: perfect for diapers, baby booty cream, sunscreen…
…an extra outfit, nursing pads, nail clippers…
…and plenty of room in the middle for wipes, wet-bag, burp cloth, etc.
I toss mine inside a bigger bag, but if you used stiff material and didn’t care about having handles, you could probably use it on its own. I can easily toss it in a backpack or any other bag as well.
YES, my bag is made by a company called “olivia + joy.”
YES, my baby girl’s name is Olivia Joy.
NO, I did not name her after her diaper bag. 🙂
YES, this did influence my final decision to buy the bag just a little bit. 🙂
Now to show you how I made these bags…
This post should really be called, “I’ll show you my pictures and drawings and tell you generally what I did.” Because, as a how-to, it’s kinda lacking in the detail department. So, if you already know how to sew and you just want the general dimensions and such, this post should help!
Lucky for YOU, I made all my sketches into paint drawings, haha. YES, my husband is gradually showing me how to use macromedia fireworks for this kind of thing, and YES, it’s still much faster for me to do this in paint in a hurry during my sweet baby’s nap. Try not to be too impressed, okay?
Step 1: Main Piece
1. Cut your main fabric to these dimensions. On my bag, this is the heart fabric. This piece will eventually be folded in half with the drawstring running through the fold in the middle.
Step 2: Pockets
1. Cut two pocket pieces according to these dimensions. I made one from the same fabric as the main piece, and one from a contrasting color. You can do whatever you like. 🙂
2. What I didn’t draw: cut, iron, and sew a piece of fabric to finish off the edge (you could also use bias tape, but I generally just use the fabric I have). It should be the same length as the pocket piece, but only an inch or so thick. On my bag, this is the black fabric folded over and sewn on the top edge of the pockets.
3. Mark the pockets following the dimensions above. There will be 8 pockets on one piece, and 6 pockets on the other.
4. Sew the pocket pieces to the main piece by stitching along the dividing lines. I left the top AND bottom open at this point. The pocket pieces are longer than the main piece to allow for some roominess in the pockets- you wouldn’t be able to get anything in the pockets if this piece was sewn on tight! 🙂
5. See where those thick black lines are along the two edges in the drawing? Use the same edging/bias tape you used for the pockets to make a nice clean exit point for the drawstring. It’s okay to leave the top and bottom edges raw, because they will be sewn up later. 🙂 This is what it will look like when it’s finished:
Step 3: Sew into Circle
1. Sew the side edges together, right side to right side, stopping at the bias/edging for the drawstring. I just realized that there are a few things wrong with the picture illustrating this part, but hopefully you get it anyway!
Step 4: Sewing on the Bottom
This part is a little tricky to explain…mostly because I don’t entirely remember what I did! I will make one of these again someday and update this how-to. Until then, all I can do is apologize. 🙂
1. Cut two bottom pieces (one for the inside and one for the outside).
2. Sew the outside bottom piece first (right side of the bottom piece to the right side of the pocket/main bottoms. You will need to gather the pocket fabric a little, and I THINK you’ll have to turn the main piece/pocket piece inside out.
3. Sew the inside bottom piece the same way…but leave one edge undone so that you can turn the whole thing right side out again
4. Finish it off by folding over the raw edge and sewing it like this:
Step 5: Add Drawstring
1. Sew about 1/2 inch down from top fold to create a case for the drawstring.
Well, I REALLY hope this made sense at least a little bit. It seemed so clear to me until I typed it all up. 🙂 There are probably better ways to do these things, but this is what I did, and it seemed to work! I’ve found this bag to be very useful in keeping things in their place! Let me know if you try or have tried something like this and have any better instructions/suggestions!