Thursday, January 1, 2015

Travel bag

Project - Travel Bag, my own design
Started - Around May 2014
Finished - June 2014

We headed off to Fiji for a week at the end of June.

I really wanted a travel bag that would have pockets to keep the passports and travel documents safe but handy. I wanted it small enough to prevent carting too much stuff around with me, but large enough to keep the essentials contained in one place.
I couldn't find anything I wanted in local shops and did some web searches and found a few bag patterns that were cross body style with multiple zip pockets, but they were all smaller or larger than I was looking for.

I grabbed some paper, jotted down the ideas I liked and then started sketching.
I came up with a design I liked, dug some fabric from the stash and got creating.

The outer fabric is Ikea upholstery weight fabric (stash), the lining is a green shiny remnant that has been used for lots of things (stash), the zips are chunky open-ended ones purchased specifically from Lincraft and the bag rings and slide adjuster are from Voodoo Rabbit. I also used a heavy weight interfacing from the stash.

I ended up with a rectangular satchel, with a single adjustable strap, so it could be cross-body or shoulder-bag style.

There is an external zip pocket for tissues, sunscreen, panadol, room keys and other small bits.
Behind the zip pocket is a slip pocket big enough to hold a magazine or ipad.

The top of the bag has a recessed zippered gusset.

Inside the bag on the rear side there is a zippered pocket on one side that extends the depth of the bag. This was designed to hold the passports and travel documents.

Inside on the front side is a slip pocket divided into three, to hold my mobile phone, a pen and a notepad. I could tuck my sunglasses in them as well.

The bag is large enough to hold a water bottle, my wallet, hairbrush and a few other small things if required.

Good things:
I loved the external pockets. They were great for stashing things like room charge receipts.
The inner pockets kept everything organised and the small size meant I wasn't overloaded with stuff because we simply couldn't take it in the first place.

Bad things:
The strap and rectangular bag rings didn't work so well. The strap was a bit on the short side for comfort, and the bag rings slipped sideways causing the strap to gather. I'd make a longer, wider strap next time, with an extra layer of interfacing, and round bag rings.

I wasn't overly fussed on the fabric I used. I think a denim or unisex print would be more my style, and might mean that the males in the family would be happy to carry it when necessary.

 I've kept the diagrams and directions that I wrote out as I made it, in case I want to make another one.

I would probably make the sides a bit deeper next time, and play with the strap - possibly a fixed length strap rather than adjustable.

I was pretty happy with this bag. It served us well on our trip, and after a good wash it has gone into rotation with my every-day bags.

Note - white fabric is not a good choice for a bag!