Paper Pieced Totoro Nappy Wallet

 Practically Paper Piecing

Welcome to my day for the Practically Paper Pieced blog hop! If you’re new here, please, make yourself at home – maybe check out why I quilt or my sewing space? And TGIFF will be visiting here on Friday with a special finish and giveaway to be shared – so pop back then to show off your finishes! But please, hang around to check out my… Totoro Nappy Wallet!

UPDATE: Pattern is now available in my Craftsy store!

My kids LOVE Totoro – a famous Japanese movie about a couple of little girls and a forest spirit named Totoro. So at about the same time as Kristy thought up this blog hop, I decided to design a Totoro pattern. A bit of freehanding by me, and some fancy EQ fine-tuning by the lovely hostess herself, and we had an 8″ Totoro block!

I had originally planned on making him into something else, but once our nappy wallet started to fall apart (and is a little too small anyway), I had a change of plans. And I decided that not only did I want a new nappy wallet, but I wanted one that I could hang off my handbag! I was planning on buying some snap pliers anyway so I could make some bibs for my sister, so why not try it out on this project first! My other need was for it to be bigger – I have 2 kids in nappies and I like to have two nappies each on hand. So no, this isn’t a slip-into-your-handbag nappy wallet. Hence the snaps!

What you will need:

  •  Paper pieced front – I bordered mine to get it to the right size (10.5″ x 11″) and back piece of the same size
  • Two 10.5″x11″ quilted lining pieces – I didn’t want to have quilting showing on the outside. If you do, just quilt the front and back pieces first!

  • 1 zipper trimmed to 1/2″ smaller than your unfinished front/back/lining – I add pretty tabs in coordinating fabric
  • 2  2.5″x8″ of coordinating fabric
  • 2  1″x7.5″ of flannel
  • Snaps pliers and snaps (velcro would also work)

1. Place the flannel on the wrong side of your strip of coordinating fabric like in the picture – 1/4″ away from the edges. Sew 1/8″ in from the edge. Fold the fabric in half with right-sides together and sew along one short edge and one long edge – leave the third edge open to turn it out. Once you’ve turned it out, sew around the tube along the line you sewed in the first step. Repeat for the other set!

2. Layer your lining and front piece with the zipper – front piece right side up, zipper right side down, lining right side down. Note that the zipper is 1/4″ in from the outer edge. Pin or baste if you need, I’m a rebel and freehand it. Use your zipper foot and sew a close to the zipper as possible – backstitch at the beginning and end.

3. Top stitch the front down.

4. Repeat for the backing – fold the front pieces out of the way and layer accordingly. My backing had no right or wrong side, but if your’s does, you will need it right side down on top of the front piece. The lining is right side up. Top stitch.

Progress should like this!

5. Next is to sew everything together – arrange your pieces so the lining pieces are on one side, and the front/back pieces are on the other. MAKE SURE YOUR ZIPPER IS OPEN! And for a neater finish, make sure the zipper teeth are facing towards the lining.

6. Insert your two straps about an inch away from your zipper between the front and back pieces on the opposite side from where the zip sits when it closes. Or in other words, where the zip sits when it’s open! Align the raw edges with the edge of the front and back pieces and pin in place.

7. Sew all around your wallet 1/4″ from the edge, making sure to leave a section unsewn in the lining so that you can turn the wallet out. When you come to the zipper, don’t sew over the zipper/end tabs – this is why your zipper is 1/2″ smaller than the pieces as it leaves you space for a 1/4″ seam. And when you sew over the handle straps, backstictch over it a couple of times to make sure it’s good and proper sewn on!

8. Pinch the corner together so the seams align and mark 1″ down from the corner – draw a line across. Sew along this line and the snip off the corner 1/4″ from your new seam. Repeat for all corners.

9. Turn the wallet out and sew up the opening – a very scant machine stitch is fine!


10. Follow your snaps pliers’ instructions for attaching the snaps to the end of the straps. Or sew some velcro on.

11. Fill with nappies, wipes and a snack or two and away you go!

My husband loves the orange and grey colour combo, which means he’s totally comfortable taking this out with him whenever he goes out with the kids by himself. And there’s plenty of space inside so I’m no longer trying to squeeze everything in. Win win!


And the fun part for you? Coquette by Chez Moi is such a sweet line of yummy pastels  with florals and blenders and  the wonderful Julie from The Intrepid Thread is offering one lucky reader two Coquette charm packs! This giveaway is open internationally and the winner will be announced here next Wednesday.

To enter:
(1) Leave a comment telling me which line from The Intrepid Thread would you use to paper piece you or your kids’ favourite movie character?

Optional entries:

(2) Follow Julie on Facebook or her blog and leave me another comment here telling me you’ve done so!

(3) Old or new followers of my blog leave an extra comment to tell me you’re following me here or on Facebook!

If your email is not linked to your Blogger profile (aka a no-reply blogger), please make sure to include your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win! Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!


  1. says

    Oh I love this. Totoro is one of the films we have too.. something magical about it. I think I am going to have to take a month off to make some of these wonderful projects, this one is definitely one my list!! YAY

  2. marieka says

    That is just fabulous Alyce! I am loving that grey and orange combination too. Did the Totoro block take long? It looks very complicated but satisfying at the same time!

  3. Bronwyn Beazley says

    My youngest loves her Barbie movies – Tula’s Birds & The Bees would make a gorgeous Barbie wall hanging. Not sure if my paper piecing skills are up to it though!

  4. says

    My oldest loves Blue from Blue’s Clues. (Thank you, Netflix!) I think I’d work with some of the Pure Elements solids–I haven’t used them before, so it would be cool to test them out, and maybe throw in some La Dee Da, particularly the mishmash and the fiddlesticks prints in aqua. Granted, my paper piecing skillz are non-existent, so it would have to be an abstract rendering. :)

  5. Kelly G says

    OMG – I want one – no I need one of these bags. It just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the how you put it all together too! Will have to pin this for later reference and hopefully wrangle the pattern out of the lovely Kristy!

    My youngest’s favourite movie at the moment is Despicable Me! For a little fellow with speech issues – Despicable comes out clear as a bell. LOL – so the Moda solids of yellow, black, white with a dash of Indigo Prezzy print in the border would be perfect for making a paper pieced block wallhanging. Hmmm, now I wonder if Kristy could do that block up??????

    Thanks for introducing me To the Intrepid Thread too – have become followers on both FB and the blog. I am totally loving what I see.

  6. says

    Alyce! This looks fantastic!! Love how it looks translated into fabric – well done you!! Awesome nappy wallet too – definitely need to go bigger when you add more kids to the family. I have a big nappy bag now that doubles as the swimming stuff bag and my sewing stuff bag and my everything else bag hehe!

  7. jonquil says

    My twins are huge fans of Nemo currently. Awesome bag – perhaps a nemo one next?! You are a very talented lady and I do follow on Facebook :-)

  8. says

    Love your new nappy wallet! I can see why your Husband is happy to take it out! I would have to do a paper pieced Marsupilami using Chevrons by Riley Blake. I’m not sure if he is known outside of the French speaking world, but my kids love him.

  9. Janice says

    That owl is just the cutest little thing! Great tutorial! My son would love if I made him a paper-pieced Thomas the Train Quilt.

  10. says

    WoW! Love your bags. I’d probably use solids and I came across the “Quilt con” bundle and loved the colors.

    Thank you and The Intrepid Thread for a great giveaway and a chance to win.


  11. says

    I’m a new follower of your blog. Looking forward to coming back to see what I’ve missed.

    Thank you and The Intrepid Thread for a super giveaway and a chance to win.


  12. Beth says

    This is great! My kids also love Totoro. There are so many great lines right now at The Intrepid Thread but I’d love to use Chicopee to make something.

  13. Wendy says

    wow, tough question! I don’t have any kids and I’m not a fan of animated films myself… I really don’t know how to answer this! Can I just say I love your bag (though I have no idea who Toroto is!) and there are loads of lines I’m loving over at Intrepid thread?

  14. Carolyn in Kentucky says

    I have fallen in love with LillyBelle by Art Gallery fabrics. I appreciate the chance for the giveaway.

  15. Anonymous says

    Wow, i have never thought of paper pieced totoro before… So original:) i dont know what fabric line to choose though, because i have never paper pieced anything-yet!

  16. Caryn says

    My kids don’t watch enough tv to have favorite characters, but my 17 year old is in love with Tula Pink’s Nightshade collection.

  17. Janet says

    My grandkids love Toy Story. I think I’d like to make Buzz out of the Down Under line. I love your bag but am very happy I don’t need a nappy carrier right now. :)

  18. Gill says

    I like Cynthia Frenette’s new fabric line! I’m not sure about using it for paper piecing but it’s fabulous!

  19. says

    I think I’d pick solids if I was going to try something as complicated as paper-piecing a film character! In general I love the Apple of my Eye fabric :)

  20. Lucy @ Charm About You says

    This bag is gorgeous!! I would use some solids as my kids love superheros. Spiderman, Batman, Superman!

  21. Lucy @ Charm About You says

    I am a new follower, partly because I want to know when that Totoro pattern is ready 😉

  22. Vroomans' Quilts says

    Well my grandsons are into batman so that doesn’t help with the fabric selection. But I love the ‘Pieces of Hope’ – would make for a great children’s charity quilt.

  23. says

    I’ve never done this before, but I’d love to try to make Doc McStuffins out of Pagoda Lullaby. bethfouche at hotmail dot com

  24. jmniffer says

    No favorite cartoon characters to be made right now. My adult kids aren’t into any superhero’s and no little ones to create for right now. That said, I love the Karavan line at Intrepid Thread! Thanks for sharing.

  25. SMGajus says

    I’d love to use the down under collection to piece a fish or a mermaid from the little mermaid!

    shelleygajus (dot) gmail (dot) com

  26. Lara from Luellabella says

    I’d love to use some of the new Cheery Christmas line by Aneela Hoey to do some paper-pieced Christmas gifts.

  27. Judy1522 says

    My kids are adults and I have no grandkids so there isn’t anyone to paper peice favorite character for. I do love the Art Gallery Elements line at Intrepid Thread and could always find something to make with that.

  28. says

    Well, my kid is grown but when he was little he loved Winnie the Pooh. I think Pooh and company would be best pieced with solids but I would add some Ric Rac Rabbits fabrics so they would have some new friends!

  29. Melinda says

    My son’s favorite characters are those of Spongebob or Lego, so maybe the bright colors of La Dee Da would work best for that!

  30. Cindy says

    I love your Totoro pattern! My family has loved the movie since our boys were young (they’re in their 20s now). As far as collections go, I love the Woodland Trails collection.

  31. says

    I would use Chevron, I havent had the chance to use it and my grandsons would love it. Since I am a big Intrepid Fan, and making an order today, I just might get me some.

  32. made by ChrissieD says

    I’d use Pure Elements – Linen White Solid, Pure Elements – Moonstone Solid, Pure Elements – Mystic Grey Solid to create Maximus, the horse, from Tangled :)

  33. says

    I follow Julie’s blog, like Intrepid Thread on FB and receive the newsletters! Julie is amazing and so generous – bless her sweet soul!

  34. Anita says

    I would use one of her solid bundles…QuiltCon Challenge Color Bundle Solids….I actually would need a few different colors, but have seen some amazing Mario and Luigi quilts out there and my son would LOVE one. =)

    Thanks for a chance to win.

  35. says

    That’s awesome! My husband got me to watch that movie a few years ago. I’m pretty boring, so I’d use Pat Bravo’s pure elements to make…maybe Big Bird, since I had a big bird pillow when I was a kid!

    (PS, I needed to do some box corners on something but it didn’t work out, thanks for your clear pictures, I now realize what I did wrong, silly me!)

  36. says

    Love it – but I am delighted to say that we have just toilet trained our youngest so would have to use the bag for something else! Our favourite character at the moment is Pingu so I’d go with some solids and then add in some Alpine Wonderland as background (now you have really got me thinking I might just have to go and sew!)

  37. says

    Tula’s Birds and Bees or something similar – my mother (the great grandmother) has been working on teaching the 11 month old, the 19 month old and the 17 month old grandnieces to point and say “bird” when she rocks them on the porch … so birdie fabric is appropriate for their nappy wallets.

  38. says

    I don’t know what I would piece but I would frame up a bunch of the nightshade prints for Halloween. Great idea for a unisex bag which won’t threaten hubby. Win-win, I’d say. Thanks.

  39. says

    Hi there. Lovely to meet you. This is a darling project!

    Wow. Intrepid Thread has some GREAT stuff. My daughter’s favorite character right now is Cinderella, though, so I would have to go with solids to create that.

  40. Calikisses says

    Hmm… That’s a tough question. I think I would go with the Guising Line, and maybe try to make a Jack Skellington for Halloween!

  41. says

    My “kid” is old now, and has a kid of his own, but his favourite movie character was Slimer from Ghostbusters, so I think I’d have to use Sew Stitchy – Pins in Olive by Aneela Hoey to give him some texture.

  42. says

    I love your bag. It is very cool and definitely perfect for a male to carry around.
    I would use Free Spirit Solids to create a Marvin the Martian or Winnie the Pooh.

  43. says

    I have on granddaughter that loves Tinkerbell and the other loves Cinderella. They would be hard to paper piece so I would have to try to piece a casle with Coquette. That would be fun.
    Thank you for the tut and the giveaway.

  44. says

    I am a new follower of yours. I found you through Julie. I think it’s so cool that you live in Japan. What a great life experience.
    Thank you for sharing.

  45. says

    I have enjoyed reading you blog! thanks for the tutorial :) I know that is very time consuming to do. I added you to my RSS feed! have a great weekend.

  46. says

    My granddaughter doesn’t sit still through a movie yet, but she loves Cookie Monster, and I could create him in Cameo – Forget Me Not in Midnight

  47. says

    I saw this on Flickr too. This is such an awesome project. Not too exciting, but I would choose Moda Bella solids in blue and white and grey to make a Tardis for my kid. She’s a big Dr. Who fan.

  48. says

    I help out a friend with her 2 1/2 yr old twins – they love Nemo & all the watery characters. So I looked for orangey fabric all thru The Intrepid Thread & came upon Flock – perfect!!! Lots of fishy colors to make all kinds of Nemo characters. Great question & great giveaway. Thanks.

  49. says

    I think the Madrona Road fabric line has some fabrics in it that might lend themselves to paper piecing like this. Thanks for the bag tutorial. I’ve never tried paper piecing.

  50. says

    Lovely tutorial! Good for you for designing the Totoro yourself! What a great idea to put a snap on the wristlet so it can be attached to the strap of a purse, etc.


  1. […] creates a 15″ Totoro panel that can then be used for whatever you like! I used it to make a nappy/diaper wallet that is still in use today! Although he could do with a wash… And this year I need to sew […]

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