Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cheeky Monkey Diaper Stacker

Original Cheeky Monkey Laundry Bag
image via Amazon
After almost a whole year I have finally gotten around to that final piece of the nursery that I've been meaning to finish.  Back when I was making everything for the $0 nursery I also cut out the pieces for the Cheeky Monkey Laundry Bag from Amy Butler's book Little Stitches for Little Ones.  I never got around to sewing it because I just didn't love it.  I cut out the main fabric (blue stripe) and lining fabric (pale yellow) and that was as far as it got.  Too boring.  There's not a whole lot of desire to finish the project when all there is to it is a simple lined bag.  I had no intention of adding the monkey.  At nine months pregnant one is allowed to decide she's not interested in doing something.  But with nothing to embellish the bag I didn't feel like getting around to it, even though I'd already cut out the pieces.  Besides, I didn't figure I would end up using a laundry bag.  And there's no good place to hang it in our nursery.

I saw a sewing competition and it gave me the inspiration I needed to finally get. this. project. finished.

I'm usually a plan-it-all-out-before-you-get-started kind of girl, but this project was one that evolved as I worked on it. The idea of a laundry bag just didn't appeal to me.  A diaper stacker DID appeal to me.  No, I don't know why, but I've always wanted one for my kids.  So the laundry bag project took its first turn into the diaper stacker project.

Flat bottom...very unlike my own round one  ;)
The biggest difference between the laundry bag and diaper stacker was that a diaper stacker has a flat bottom to accommodate the diapers.  Because of this critical difference, everything else had to change.  Also, my fabric was limited to what I had on hand and leftover from the original fabric.  To make the flat bottom I simply added a miter by folding the corners into a triangle and sewing a line to hold it down.  The seam line was five inches long.

I decided that the monkey really was a necessary part of the stacker.  I had lots of extra felt on hand and was excited to make the monkey match the fabric on the crib bedding.  No such luck.  My felt is in sheets and they were just too small to fit the monkey's body.  Strike one.

After realizing the felt wouldn't work I figured I could go to the fabric store and pick up some coordinating fabric to make the monkey.  No go.  The Pink Blur is in early potty training, so we aren't leaving the house much these days.  Strike two.  That left me with trying to use my other leftover crib fabric to make the monkey.  Only the pale yellow fabric had enough yardage and the blue fabric on the stacker would have shown through terribly.  Strike three and it's time for a new game.

My carpet is many things.  Vacuumed is not currently one of them.  Don't judge.
I rummaged through my fabric stash a bit more and found some green fabric in the shape of the state of Oklahoma.  There was so little there that I wondered why I'd ever kept in the first place.  Well, it worked.  Sort of.  With adjustments.  Monkey boy's body length was shortened by about three inches to make up for the mitered corner on the stacker, as well as to conserve fabric.  The arms were shortened about two inches each so all the pieces could fit.  The picture above shows how very close I was to not having sufficient fabric.  Yes, I did cut one of the head pieces poorly and have a chunk missing.  That's what the back of the head is for.  The contrast came from the pale yellow fabric.

Putting the monkey's body together was pretty easy.  The book suggested applying Wonder Under and ironing the body applique on before doing a satin stitch around the edge.  I had no Wonder Under and, again, Pink Blur is potty training, so no "quick" trip to pick some up.  I just tried to pin everything in place really well to avoid much fabric shifting.  That's not the easiest thing when the kids have hidden your pin cushion and you have a grand total of three pins to hold stuff in place.  But I digress.  If I'd had dry cleaning bags I could have used those in place of Wonder Under.  But no bags.  C'est la vie.

After the monkey's body was done I followed the instructions and embroidered the eyes, nostrils, and smile in place.  If I'd had fabric paint on hand I soooooo would have just painted those on.  I attached the head by machine rather than by adding velcro strips, as was suggested.  I don't plan on washing the diaper stacker like I would a laundry bag, thus eliminating the need for a removable head.

Fully stocked with size 2 Huggies, the stacker holds 80 diapers.  79...78...77...76...
The bag was still too plain and I was sort of grumpy about it until I realized that I probably had enough fabric left to repeat the design from the original nursery decor with picots and the strips of print fabric.  It happened, but only just barely.  I had to piece both the animal print and the orange print to get strips long enough to fit on top.  But don't you think it makes all the difference?  Now it's something I actually LIKE having up in the nursery.  Another point in its favor is that it hides the place where the Pink Blur likes to draw with an ink pen.
My middle child is an arTEEST.
Because I don't have anywhere good to actually hang the stacker I decided that short ties attached to the side of the change table would be better than a drawstring for me.  As I sat and dreaded making the straps (it was late and I was tired, but wanted to finish) I remembered that I had quite a bit of green ribbon in a bag.  Easy cheesy!  I edge stitched the top closed over those suckers, tied them on to the change table, and we were in business!  

I thought about changing the name of this project but "cheeky" seemed appropriate for a diaper stacker.
I am so pleased with how this turned out.  I like for everything I make to have a healthy chunk of my own creativity in it.  This does.  The original pattern was used for the monkey's head and tail and for the original dimensions of the bag.  My additions were the miter, contrast fabric strips, picots, monkey body modifications, ribbon tie rather than drawstring, and lengthening the opening for the diapers.  If I were to do it over again I would make the bag wider so I wouldn't have to fiddle with adjusting the monkey body to fit the miter and I would add some pockets on the front for a small wipes case and a tube of Desitin.  Hindsight is 20/20. But I love the addition to the room.  It's fun and cute.  And Q-ball loves playing with the monkey's tail while I change his diaper.  He won't stay on the change table anymore, so on the floor he goes!

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