For the past couple months, I’ve been planning to up my luggage game. Over the years, I’ve made do with a fairly old suitcase (handed down from my parents – not sure exactly it’s age, but I know there are receipts in the pocket from when we went to Disney World in 1994, so at least 20 years!) and a really ratty/cheap duffel bag. My travel schedule is starting to ramp up this year, and one thing I don’t have is a duffel bag that is suitable for a weekend getaway. The aforementioned ratty bag was pretty small and difficult to carry comfortably. Also, I broke the zipper while I was in Paris – rather than repair it (it was really REALLY cheap – even down to the hardware), I decided to make a new set, courtesy of Mood Fabrics.
The Portside Travel Set is the perfect pattern for my luggage needs – a roomy duffel bag, plus a matching dopp kit and a small zippered pouch. The pattern is designed so you can really play with color blocking and fabric options, and it’s not difficult at all to put together. The duffel bag is nice and big (20″ x 11.5″ x 12″), and includes both hand and shoulder straps (the shoulder is adjustable, as well as removable!), a zippered top, and two exterior pockets. The dopp kit has both a zippered top and a zippered exterior pocket, plus a small handle. The little zippered pouch is one of the most basic things ever – like the kind of pouch you’d make in a ‘learn to sew zippers’ class – but I can see it being very useful. And it all matches! Yay!
Anyway, let me also point out that making this set gave me an excuse to peruse the home decor section of Mood Fabrics. I rarely sew with home decor fabrics (I know some people love them for clothing, but I’m not much of a fan, unfortunately), but I totally jumped at the opportunity! There are SO many cool designs, it was really hard to narrow it down to just 3! I started with this cool turquoise geometric print, matched it to a charcoal grey faux suede, and lined the inside with grey and white polka dots (I’ve been eyeballing that polka dot fabric for over a year now – so glad to finally have an excuse to buy it!). All the zippers, webbing and hardware are from my stash (you can buy cotton and nylon webbing from Mood Fabrics, but the colors I wanted were sold out, unfortunately).
Like I said, making the set was not difficult – it took me about a weekend worth of work. I block-fused my exterior pieces – both the canvas and suede – with a medium weight interfacing, less for structure and more to prevent wrinkles. While I was initially a little concerned to work with the suede, it was actually really really easy. This suede is fairly lightweight, so I could get by with my regular 80/12 needle. It’s not super sticky, so I didn’t need a special foot to sew it with. AND it doesn’t show pin marks, so I didn’t have to worry about using clips or anything like that. I was even able to press it without any drama – although I will point out that my iron has a shoe specifically for this reason, so if you’re shoe-less, you might want to test some scraps and consider using a press cloth to prevent melting or scorching.
Because the print is so big and because it’s broken up by the color blocking, I did not try to match the seam lines – although the tops of the zippers were happy accidents, both for the duffel and the dopp kit. I’m also really happy with the little leather zipper pulls – those leather scraps came out of my stash, and I think they really tie the whole thing together 🙂 The only thing I changed from the pattern was to include a removable fabric-covered piece of plastic for the bottom to keep it rigid.
Oh, and in case these pictures are deceiving you – it’s a BIG bag. I could probably zip myself up in this thing.
It’s also very floppy (there are a lot of pillows stuffed in there to show you the shape!), which is great because I will be able to squish it down to store it. Or, realistically – hide in my suitcase just in case I find a fabric store that needs cleaning out while I’m traveling 🙂
I’m not really one for sewing a lot of non-clothing projects, but this was a fun little break and a great way to switch things up. Not to mention – I finally filled that duffel bag gap in my luggage arsenal! Now I just need to start looking for a new suitcase – I think mine is finally on it’s way out (wires poking through and zippers are struggling – ugh).