Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Potty Backpack: Slick New Diaper(free) Bag

A few people have asked me for a pattern for my new reversible potty backpack, so I spent a few hours mocking up another one last weekend, and taking lots of pictures. 

When in use, it provides a fabric “skirt” around our Potette Plus to keep little hands off public toilet seats.  The auxiliary pocket provides immediate access to all our potty essentials: spare diaper or undies and pants, wipes, reading materials, and snacks.  

The whole thing turns “inside out”, which places the potty and all parts of the bag in contact with the public toilet, on the inside.

There is a second zipper into the auxiliary pocket for easy access to those things when the bag is closed up.

And finally, when closed up, it is a backpack.

Initially I had some troubles with the auxiliary pocket weighing down the front and pulling the Potette Plus off the toilet before I could get LO situated to hold it in place.  I tried adding a hook, to hold it on the back of the toilet, but you'd be amazed at how different the backs of different toilets are.  

The solution I settled on, which is working well, is to rotate the Potette Plus in the bag, thus changing the orientation of the bag on the toilet, so the auxiliary pocket hangs down the side.  

This orientation is more stable because the wings of the potty insert provide additional torque and friction to hold everything in place.  Yay, physics.  I also hook my wet bag on the other side as a counter-balance, though a count-balance isn't really needed, which is handy because we increasingly often don't actually have anything to put in the wet bag (hopefully I didn't just jinx myself there, lol).

Sewing Pattern and Instructions
A note on size.  The pink bag is on the small side.  It doesn't actually totally cover a larger toilet seat, and the bag is pretty full with just the very basic supplies.  The black bag would probably give you enough room to carry all the supplies for twins on a potty pause.  So choose your sizing with this in mind.  You could alter the pattern to make piece A larger on one side than the other, which might provide a better compromise than simply changing the sizing.
  • Fabric
    • Piece A - Cut 1: Sized 2X by Y, this is the panel that will be around the Potette Plus on one end, and against your back when wearing as a backpack.
      • Pink bag: 27x15.5 inches
      • Black bag: 36x22 inches
    • Piece B -  Cut 2: Sized X by Y, these form the front and back of the auxiliary pocket, and the front of the backpack when it is closed up.
      • Pink bag: 13.5x15.5 inches
      • Black bag: 18x22 inches
  • Zippers
    • Cut 2: Length Y, these are the inside and outside zippers to the auxiliary pocket.
      • Pink bag: 15.5 inches
      • Black bag: 22 inches
  • Cords
    • Cut 2: Length 2X+2Y, these form the closure for the top of the bag when it's packed up, and also the backpack straps.
      • Pink bag: 60 inches
      • Black bag: 80 inches
Cut out your pieces.

If your fabric frays, zigzag the edges of piece A all the way around.  Then fold over and hem the first 2-3 inches of one end of the long side of piece A on both long sides.

Fold over and make a casing big enough for your cords to go through twice on the end where you hemmed.  It will look like below.  This casing will be at the top back of the backpack when on your back.  Potty placed to show where and how it will be in the final product.

Next stitch your zippers between the B panels.  When each attached to one zipper, they should form a panel the same size as piece A.  Then you will stitch them into a tube.

Fold the tube so the zipper is a few inches down.  On one end, hem down a few inches on the sides (if your fabric frays), then stitch a casing on this tube similar to the one you did on piece A.  This will be the top front of the backpack.

Put the pieces together as they will be in the final product.  The casings are next to each other at the top (on the right hand side oppose the potty).  

Unzip and pin in the ditch.  Before you stitch, see below about cords.

Add your cords.  See images.  You’ll need to stitch them into the line you just pinned above.  Once the cords are in place, stitch the panel you made from pieces B to piece A, as pinned.

Finally, turn it so the auxiliary pocket (that's the one with the zippers) is inside out.  You need to stitch up the sides.  Note that you need to capture 3 layers of fabric in these seams: both faces of the auxiliary pocket, plus the back panel of the backpack (the end of piece A with the cords and casing at the top).  Be very careful that you don't stitch through the cords or the panel that attaches to the Potette Plus.  

Turn it right side out again, and the bag is basically done.

The only step that remains is attaching the potty and putting it on the toilet.  As you can see, this one came out really big.  I'd recommend using sizing closer to that of my pink bag shown in the first set of pictures.

Here is a photo showing how I attached the Potette Plus to the pink bag.  Cut an X in the fabric (remember, start small, you can always make it bigger) and cold back to make your opening.  When you are pleased with the size, stitch on some Velcro.  I used sticky back Velcro on the Potette Plus, so they go together and come apart easily.  

Pro tip: use the hook side on your potty and the loop side on your bag, so the Velcro doesn't damage your other laundry when you wash the bag.  

Happy sewing and happy pottying.  Drop me a comment if you need further explanation on anything. 

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