Minimalist Changing Pad

I don’t like to carry a lot of stuff.  I also tend to act on whims without a lot of thought.  There have been times in GeekBaby’s brief life where I needed to get away.  So I just popped him into a carrier and away we went… to the grocery store, or work, or wherever I fancied, on foot.  But GeekBaby is heavy enough, and our trips were short enough, that I just left the diaper bag at home.

So far, it’s always worked out.  But I know that sometimes you really need those diapers and wipes.  Sometimes a simple diaper change goes terribly, terribly wrong.  So I looked for a small changing pad/diaper pod thing that would fit in my purse.

They have pods to snap onto strollers, sling under them, even defy gravity by hovering over them, but they just aren’t made to fit in purses.  I have room in my purse to carry a large paperback or a knitting project in addition to the usual suspects, but I could not for love or money find a changing pad.


I’ll make my own.

Screw you, baby product manufacturers.


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 it feels like robbery.

To make a Minimalist Changing Pad (finished dimensions 15″x25″), you need:

  • one rectangle of cotton print, 16″x26″ or 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
  • a sewing machine (or a vast amount of patience and skill to do this by hand)

1.  Wash your fabrics before you cut your pieces.  Otherwise the cotton may shrink and will fray and your piece will end up smaller than you cut it.  Iron them nice and flat.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

11.  We’re done!  Stand back and ogle the finished product!

12.  Stock it.  I keep 2 diapers and a travel pack of Lansinoh wipes in mine.  Lansinoh travel packs are the perfect size to carry around, they’re nice and small.  When it’s folded, it’s the size of a thick paperback book, like, say, A Game of Thrones.

It is worth noting that, as far as preparedness goes, this only works if I keep it in my purse at all times, whether the baby is with me or not.  I’ve made it an indispensable item; like my wallet, it is only allowed out when it is in use or being restocked.

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