Introduction: Minimalist Changing Pad

I wanted a small changing pad that could hold a couple of diapers and a travel packet of wipes to keep in my purse. But every product was too big, they're designed for strollers, not purses. So I decided to make one myself. And it worked out so well that I made a few more to document the experience.

A lady at the fabric store told me to sell these, but I actually feel guilty for doing that, they're so easy to make that it feels like robbery. Here are the instructions.

Step 1: Materials

For a changing pad with finished dimensions of 15" x 25":

  • one rectangle of cotton print, 16"x26" or 1" greater in length and width than final desired size (this allows for a half inch seam allowance on all four sides.) PREWASH before you cut it to size, or it'll fray and be smaller than intended.
  • one rectangle of fleece, same size as your cotton. Prewash this too.
  • one 18" strip of 3/4" wide elastic
  • thread in a compatible color (I use two colors, one to match the fleece, and one to match the print)
  • iron & ironing board
  • fabric shears
  • a sewing machine (or a vast amount of patience and skill to do this by hand)
Notes: Most cotton prints are sold in the 40" bolt. From half a yard, you can only get one changing pad, but from a full yard you can get three - two down the length of the fabric and one crosswise. Fleece, however, comes in a 60" bolt, and half a yard of fleece provides enough for two changing pads.

Step 2: Cut Your Fabric

1. Prewash all your fabrics before cutting them. This prevents them from being smaller than intended, cotton could shrink and will fray when you wash it.

2. Spread the two pieces of fabric out, right sides together, on a fabric cutting board, one of the ones with an inch grid. This makes cutting a rectangle very easy. Smooth out any wrinkles in both layers, and line up the edges. If you don't have a grid, use a sharpie and a ruler to draw your rectangle. The marks will be in the seam allowance and won't be visible. Besides, it's a changing pad. Sharpie stains are the least of its worries.

3. Cut out your rectangle.

Step 3: Construction

4. Pin all around the edges (the right sides should still be together!). I pin, even though I'm confident with my sewing skills, because fleece is stretchy and cotton isn't, and of course just when I don't want it to, my fleece will stretch out longer than my cotton print.

5. Fold your elastic in half and insert between the two layers at one of the short ends. There should be a tail of elastic that is 1 to 1.5 inches long sticking out. Pin it securely.

Step 4: Seam

6. Sew around the edges, with a half inch seam allowance. I always work with the fleece side up to avoid the fleece stretching. Leave a 4-5 inch opening in the short end without the elastic. This is where we will turn it inside out.

Step 5: Elastic Reinforcement

7. X box the elastic tail onto the seam allowance.

Step 6: Turn and Press

8. Clip the corners and trim the seam allowance. Leave the FULL seam allowance where the elastic is x boxed and at the opening to turn the pad. You can clip any extra elastic sticking out of the seam allowance.

9. Turn the pad inside out. Iron it out flat, pressing the seam allowance under at the opening. This ironing step is important, without it the fabric and the fleece will tend to separate.

Step 7: Topstitch

10. Back to the sewing machine. Topstitch close to the edge around the entire circumference of the pad. This will close up the hole we used to turn it right-side out.

Step 8: Ogle

11. Step back and admire your work! This is a very important step. Ignore any stitching irregularities and be impressed with what you made. Otherwise you'll never have the guts to make anything else.

If you think that it didn't turn out well, try again. The second one I made (which I photographed for this instructable) turned out better than the first.

Step 9: Stock

Folding Instructions: