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What Would I Change On This Commercial Pattern?

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R.Kay Design: What Would I Change On This Commercial Pattern?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What Would I Change On This Commercial Pattern?

I'm currently making a diaper bag from McCalls Pattern M4403 and I'm finding tons of things that I would do differently. Do you make changes to patterns after you figure out that there's a better way to do it? I thought it would interesting to outline the changes I would make - so far. I've only just started sewing this thing!

The picture to the left shows how the front will look when it's all sewed together. I only have the flap and handle laid out so you can get a good idea. I love how the design on the flap over the pocket matches the design behind it. It gives it a really professional look. It takes extra time and care to get it right but it's so worth it. 
If you want to know how I did it, check out my post - How to Cut Fabric With A Directional Design For A Professional Look
  1. First thing I decided to change on this pattern was the palette on the front. Really? Like a baby would really fit on that palette. Well, maybe, but only for the first week of her sweet little life. I used the flap but removed the palette and added a big pocket on the front. It will close with a magnetic closure, I hate Velcro in that application.
  2. I should have realized when I was cutting out the pattern that the bag would be WAY too small. It's only 14" across. Good for a trip to the grocery store but you would need three of these bags for a day trip. It needs to be at minimum 18"-20" across. Most Amy Butler purse patterns are four times this big...okay, that's an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.
  3. Next, the pattern calls for fleece to be sewn in to give it the cushy feel. Okay, that will work but don't they know that we have some great interfacings on the market now that are fusible? I used fusible fleece on the outer pieces and fusible woven on the lining pieces. If you need to know more about the interfacings I use for purses, handbags, and yes, diaper bags, see my post - 3 Best Interfacings I Use When Making Handbags
  4. The next thing that I should have changed but decided to follow the pattern (next time I'll do it my way) is how the straps sewn to the front and back of the bag are done. I also would change how they made the handles and strap. The pattern asks you to press 3/8" down both long sides and then sew to the front and back of the bag. For the handles and strap, it has you do the same and then fold in half and edge stitch along the open edge.

    It was hard to iron the edges with the fleece, so I cut back the fleece before I fused. Still it was hard to get the folded ironed edge straight. My method would be to cut the pieces twice as wide as I want them to be. Then cut the fleece half that width. Press a fold lengthwise down the center to use as a guide. Then fold each long raw edge to the middle fold and press. Place the fleece in the center between the two folds and fuse. Then fold the edges over the fleece and press. This gives the pieces straight edges. If you want a better explanation with photos, check my Molly Handbag pattern, there's a full explanation - Free Molly Handbag Pattern
  5. Lastly, for this post anyway, I may have more suggested changes before I finish, I made the handles rolled. It gives it a much more professional look in my opinion and it's so easy to do. You just make the handle as normal with topstitching, then, fold it in half in the middle portion and sew again on top of the topstitching being sure to back-stitch several times to make sure it doesn't come unraveled. It looks really nice.
So, that's it so far, as I run across more items I feel could be done better, I'll post.

Until later ~


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At December 11, 2011 at 5:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

thankyou Reba your blog is very interesting.

At December 12, 2011 at 9:09 AM , Blogger Kaitlyn said...

Love this- totally agree that velcro is not the way to go with a diaper bag. Not to mention it looks unprofessional, a lot of times you need to get into a diaper bag while your little one is sleeping, or if you are at church, and that loud velcro ripping sound is a big time no-no! I always see your sew alongs here and want to try them, I think this may be the one I start out on! thanks!

At December 13, 2011 at 7:30 AM , Blogger Reba said...

Thanks for the comments Shez and Kaitlyn.

Velcro, yes Kaitlyn, those are great reasons why I hate Velcro for diaper bags. The pattern I'm using would have me put a big long strip on the flap, I can just see the baby startle out of a deep sleep when you try to open that thing!

I haven't started a sew-along for the diaper bag but I might do a video that incorporates all my changes. I may just make a new pattern, since I'm changing so much anyway, it really won't be the same bag when I'm done, right down to how it's constructed, it's different. I'll keep you updated.



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