Thursday, June 18, 2015

Two-Timing Tote/Diaper Bag Sew Along: Intro, Supplies, Cutting, and Prep

Alright, let's get this party started! For this sew along (check the sew-alongs tab for the others), we are going to be making what I have recently (like, thirty-seconds ago recently) named the Two-Timing Tote. It can be used as a fabulous diaper bag or as a plain old tote with lots of pockets. Plus? We're going to be doing a lot of things twice.

This Blackhawks bag was a special request from a friend, and came along at the perfect time--I had promised a sew-along with no idea when it would happen until she came to my rescue. I have made these bags using three fabrics before (see here and here), but my favorite is with two as I get to create that faux-piping look at the top, so that's what we'll do here. Feel free to go rogue, though.

If you've never taken part in one of my sew-alongs here are a few helpful tidbits:

  • I recommend reading through the instructions before you get sewing. In the past I used to say "Bah!" to instructions (because of course I knew everything there is to know about everything), and would often find myself ripping out stitches in frustration due to my haste. Reading through might save you some time and will let you know what's coming up.
  • As if you couldn't already tell, I'm wordy. I'd rather err on the side of lots of pictures and thorough description (which might annoy the experts--sorry!) than leave you with questions on your project. Also, I hope that if I give you a good amount of info you'll be able to adapt it for other projects and really customize your work.
  • If you're going along and have a "Why didn't she just do it this way instead?" moment please leave a comment. I may have done it for a reason, but chances are good you know something I don't. I like to learn new things, especially if it's something easier on me in the end. So if you have a simpler/better way, please do share!
  • You might find it helpful to label your pieces.
  • Unless I tell you not to, backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.

Things you'll learn in this sew along;
  • Making and attaching your own piping (optional, but super cute)
  • Making elasticized pockets, inside and out (optional, but super functional)
  • Inserting a 'suspension bridge' zipper (optional but something I wish I'd done in all of my diaper bags instead of the ties I used to do)
  • How to tie a secure pull onto your zipper (optional but I felt like a genius when I figured out this silly little thing...sometimes I'm slow :)

Figure out what you'll want in your bag so you'll know what supplies you need. Here is the full list for the bag I made above with all the bells and whistles. I list what I used but it is not a requirement--use what is available or what you can afford as this is a more extensive list than usual for one of my projects. 

  • 1 yard exterior fabric (I used quilting cotton)
  • 2 yards of fabric for lining, straps, piping, and inside pockets (again, quilting cotton)
  • 2.5 yards of 3/16" piping cord or similar (see this post for what I use, as well as a tutorial for how to make your piping using either a piping foot or a zipper foot)
  • 1 zipper, 22 - 24" I recommend long pull purse zippers for this large bag as they're a bit sturdier (try this shop and this shop on Etsy).
  • 1 package of 3/8" elastic
  • 5/8 yard sew-in fleece (I use Thermolam--if you're a Soft and Stable fan that will work, too. You could also use fusible, but I've been having trouble getting mine to fuse nicely so I've switched to sew-in. Use what you like).
  • 1/4 yard fusible fleece (again, I use Thermolam)
  • 2 3/4 yards fusible interfacing (I use woven Shape Flex 101, 20" wide)


Cutting Directions--Please Read Carefully Before Cutting

From the exterior fabric cut (see photo):
  • Bag front/back: #2 at 16.5" (w) by 13.5" (h) 
  • Gusset: #2 at 6" (w) by 21" (h) (Note: if your fabric is not directional cut one six-inch strip from selvage to selvage and then cut the rest of your pieces--you may need to rearrange the layout to get all the pieces in)
  • Zipper casing: #2 at 15" (w) by 10" (h)
  • Side pockets: #2 at 8" by 8"
  • Front pocket: #1 at 7.5" (w) by 8" (h)

IF YOUR FABRIC IS DIRECTIONAL: The selvages were on the left and right sides if that was a piece of fabric laid out above. SO from left to right would be 44 inches, and from top to bottom 36 inches. This is important if you're using directional fabric (most directional prints run parallel with the selvage as mine did, so use this photo as reference). I drew my measurements on the wrong side of the fabric and cut out using scissors to make sure all my pieces would fit before I cut.

From the lining fabric (see photo):
  • Cut off 1/2 yard and put it aside for piping
  • Straps: #2 at 5" (w) by 52" (l) -- cut as in the photo below for a continuous piece that doesn't need to be sewn to achieve the proper length
  • Gusset: #1 at 6" (w) by 41" (h) -- cut as you did the straps and save the extra length
  • Bag front/back: #2 at 16.5" (w) by 13.5" (h)
  • Side pockets lining: #2 at 8" by 8"
  • Front pocket lining: #1 at 7.5" (w) by 8" (h)
  • Inside pockets: #2 at 21" (w) by 10" (h)
  • From the ten-inch piece you cut off the gusset, cut:
    • #1 at 8" by 2" (binding tape for front pocket)
    • #2 at 2 3/8" by 3 1/8" (zipper tabs)
    • #1 at 1 1/2" by 10" (for the zipper pull)

THIS FABRIC IS NOT DIRECTIONAL: In the above photo the selvages had run across the top and bottom, so it's 44" from top to bottom, and 54" from left to right.

From the fusible fleece:
  • #3 at 2.5" by the width of the fleece, which may vary. If your fleece is about 50" wide you'll only need 2 pieces. These are for the straps so you'll need a total of 100 inches.
From the sew-in fleece (or fusible if you're doing that instead):
  • #1 at 6" (w) by 41"
  • #2 at 16.5" (w) by 13.5" (h)
From the fusible interfacing (see diagrams):
  • #3 at 2.5" by 42"
  • #2 at 6" by 21"
  • #1 at 6" by 42"
  • #4 at 13.5" by 16.5"

Cut 42 inches from your interfacing. Lay out your gusset pieces as shown and cut. From the remainder cut three strips that are 2.5" wide (these are for the straps).

From the remainder cut out four pieces that are each 13.5 by 16.5 inches for the fronts and backs.


One last step: fuse your interfacing (following the manufacturer's directions) to the fronts and backs of the bag, and to the gusset pieces (leave the skinny strap pieces alone for now). Trim any excess once you've let it cool a bit to set the adhesive. If you've decided to use fusible fleece instead of sew-in fuse that now as well so it has time to set.

Whew, that's a lot. This bag has a lot of pieces, but it's quite satisfying to see that pile diminish and become part of a bag. Next: we're going to start stitching.


  1. Fantastic diagrams of the cutting layout! A picture is worth a thousand words!

  2. Before I go stash diving, are all the fabrics Quilting cottons?

  3. Woohoo, got the pieces cut out last night. I had to do some finageling with what I wanted, lol, i hope it works out.

  4. Hm, I just reread there too. Beth, what do you do if you aren't using fusible? Do you cross-hatch sew the interfacing and fleece to the fronts and backs?

  5. How had I missed this? Just got behind on my blogs. Looks like a fun sew along. I plan to jump in as soon as I finish the bag I am currently making. Directions and diagrams look great!

  6. How had I missed this? Just got behind on my blogs. Looks like a fun sew along. I plan to jump in as soon as I finish the bag I am currently making. Directions and diagrams look great!

  7. Bethany i have to say your cutting diagram and instructions are excellent, as a sewer this was very easy to follow and understand and would be great for beginners. Thanks you and will check out more of your projects.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...