i told you guys i had a lot of projects coming down the pike! remember long long ago in my month off from parenting, i mentioned a new purse on my to do list? i managed to knock out a new wallet (also on my to do list), and got as far as cutting the purse, but didn’t quite get around to sewing it up until a week or two ago. this is the super tote pattern from anna over at noodlehead (also the author of my wallet pattern), and while her patterns are incredibly well executed and a general pleasure to sew, they require a level of thoroughness that takes some mental building up to. the end result, of course, is a cute, durable, professional product. not a bad trade off. it’s made with the grove line in canvas by birch fabrics, which i picked up months ago at harts with this bag in mind. i am totally in love with the nature inspired prints using modern, muted colors (that red is showing up a lot redder than it is in person). the interior fabric is a neutral textured grey quilting cotton from the architextures line, and i special ordered a metal zipper from zipperstop, which i thought would be grey but is really more navy–i think it still works, though. as you know well by now, i’m a pretty low maintenance gal. i don’t own a lot of purses–only one, actually, and it suits me just fine on a daily basis. it fits everything we need for errands and minor outings. but every time we take a day trip or longer, i end up with my purse and three other bags to lug all the items necessary to keep the kids fed, cleaned, and entertained away from home. diaper bags have never worked for us; we never found one we liked or used the ones we had, really. they felt bulky and impractical. i was looking for a heavy duty, carry all bag with plenty of compartments and a zipper top to hold everything in and keep wandering hands out. i also like to carry bags on one shoulder vs. messenger style–personal preference.
i finally took my new bag for a test drive earlier this week on a day trip to berkeley, and loaded it down with all we might need. it was difficult to photograph everything in there without having my hands in the photos, but believe me–this bag fits a LOT of stuff. were you to rifle through yourself, you would find: a full change of clothes for both kids, several diapers and wipes, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, play dough, four puzzles, 3 boxes of crayons and paper, 5 children’s magazines, four children’s books, my wallet and phone, a knitting project… and some adult reading material in this bonus front pocket. please note my effort to match print at the seams and the faux piping on the front pocket–holla! on top of all i already mentioned, this bag would have easily stored all the kids’ snacks and water, but i kept all edibles separate because i was actually carrying around the insert to a training potty in there as well. if a little trace pee gets on our clothes and toys, i can live with it, but i’d prefer to keep it away from the food. after 1.5 years of discussing the potty with bean, about two weeks ago she just flat out potty trained herself–she’s one of those kids who really just needs to do things her own way, and very independently. anyhow, this was our first trip away from home since she ditched daytime diapers, and given how particular she is, i wasn’t sure how the day would go. i put her potty insert in the bag, and hoped for the best.i think she and i were equally surprised when, in the middle of the week in the middle of the day on a bustling college campus, she elected a rather public staircase on which to poop on her potty for the first time. contrary to what this photo suggests, i was not alone with three toddlers…the other two parents involved thought it would be very funny to send the other two kids to “help” me with the situation. so, there we are, just me, three 2-3 year olds, and a potty full of poop atop a perilous brick staircase. thanks, guys. anyway, after that, i no longer stored the potty in my bag.but man, do you remember life being so easy that you could poop in public with your buddies cheering you on, and then go about the day totally normally? the simplicity of childhood. precious. anyhow, here is what the bag looks like on, for scale. you can see it’s a pretty decent size, but comfortable and not at all cumbersome to carry around. the shirt i’m wearing, by the way, is one of my newer tanks which i’ll blog about soon…look at me wearing my self made clothing not for a blog photo shoot! anyhow, another great bag pattern by noodlehead (she has several). this makes a solid kid survival bag, but will also be a great beach bag, shopping bag, and will even be suitable for short trips if you’re a light packer like me. definitely worth the effort (and by effort, i mean like two days of sewing, so it’s really not a big deal!). the instructions are so thorough, and you learn a lot of neat techniques for bag assembly. i loved this birch canvas, but she will help you interface the crap out of quilting cotton to make it really durable in your favorite prints. purchasing the pattern also includes the license to sell, which is nice if you’re into that. you can see many cute versions of the bag on flickr, or from her pattern testers. so, if you’re in the market for a big new bag (this would make a great gift for new parents!), this might just be it.