Jolly good travel bag

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My favorite travel bag is ready for it’s first outing!

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I think this is number 6 in my quest for the perfect travel bag?  I have quite a pile.

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This is the Weekender Travel Bag pattern by Amy Butler.  The fabric, not surprisingly, is from a manufacturer in the UK.

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The best thing about sewing for decades is having bits and bobs on hand in my studio.  The zipper, nylon webbing, dee rings and green straps are from my private “collection.”

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The guts of the bag show the tube map for the London Underground!  I love to open a bag and find something interesting on the inside.

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This bag fulfills my not-so-hidden anglophile obsession.  So I made wallets.

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Not just one, mind you.

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Some other anglophile is going to get a big surprise!

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I swear this is the last travel bag I’m making. Before I leave next Sunday.

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This time I mean it.  I have completed my travel bag journey.  This is the backpack I am using on my grand European tour.

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It is a super-sized version of the Dawn to Dusk backpack pattern by Chris W. Designs.  I left off the decorative straps on the pockets, just too fussy for my taste.  I wanted to let this glorious fabric shine.  It is a cotton voile by Robert Kaufman fabrics.

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This is the water bottle pocket.  Himself pointed out that it would actually hold two water bottles.  Yeah, because you know I’ll carry his water for him.  Not!  Since we are traveling to Britain and Ireland, I have decided to adopt the old custom and refer to the Mr. as Himself.  I shall be Herself.  Thanks, Carolann.

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I redrafted all the pattern pieces except for the front pocket and the straps.  We’ll be traveling for more than a day on the first leg of our journey, so I must have enough room for a book and some fresh undergarments.

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I love this lining fabric, it reminds me of alligator.

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I had made one of these modified backpacks earlier this year.  The colors just were not grabbing me for my travel wardrobe.  I am much happier with this print.

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I am taking the advice of one of my friends, packing a wardrobe comprised of black and white with royal blue as my accent color.  Everything I am bringing plays well together.  This is a tough challenge for me since I am such a color girl.  I want to bring red, and pink, and all the colors of the rainbow.  But only blue is going in that bag with the black and white.

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I embroidered this awesome tree of life design on the front pocket.  The design is from Urban Threads, one of my fave embroidery websites.

With departure less than a week away, I can barely contain my excitement.  Will you miss me?  I’ll be gone almost 5 weeks.   I’m going to do some type of travelogue if you want to come along vicariously.  There will be lots of pubs involved.  Lots.  Probably some blurry photos.  And some castles.

The pack is back! And I’m not talking about Green Bay, Bubba!

Backpack number two, travel bag number four.  All in the New Year!

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The Shaka Hula Fork Chef wanted to get in on this one. Cheeky little guy.

To recap my obsession…I am determined to make the perfect travel bag.  One’s too small, one’s too heavy, one is ALMOST just right.  I’m living Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  Maybe this one will be Baby Bear.

The pattern is the Dawn to Dusk backpack by Chris W. Designs.  This fabric is from the Lark Collection by Amy Butler.  I redrafted the pattern to add one inch to the width, two inches to the height, and two inches to the depth.  And, by golly, my laptop will definitely fit into this one!

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I had to redraft my redraft of the water bottle pocket to make it wider, and also added an inch in height.  I put in a 2″ gusset at the bottom of this pocket, so the water bottle will sit nicely and not squirt itself out of the pocket.  At this point, I’m pretty sure I could stash a liter bottle of vodka in this bad boy.  Not that I’d want to do that, but I could.

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The snappy pocket on the other side also got a makeover.  It’s 2″ taller and 2″ wider.  I could actually put something useful in here.  Like Junior Mints and a bottle of Ambien.

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Thankfully, I didn’t have to change the curvy strappy part.  I still have to add on the buckles, then the outside will be done.  Except for the fact that I forgot to put in the webbing at the top to make the hangy-uppy loop.  Rip-a-dee-doo-dah.  And I still have to make the lining.  Wait ’til you see that!

Now you have to sit back and suffer.  I’m going to leave you hanging for a day, unlike this backpack, which does not yet have it’s hanging loop.  We’re going into town, into civilization, to shop for new phones and a new phone plan.  I fully expect this to take all day, much to my chagrin.  So no progress in my sewing room expected today, and I am not planning on posting tomorrow.  Although, maybe an intermission…

Stay crafty, my friends.

Bigger, better, faster, stronger. And monogrammed with a giant C.

When last we spoke, I was contemplating the shortcoming of my gorgeous Dawn to Dusk backpack.  Just one shortcoming.  It wasn’t big enough for my laptop.

I spent the weekend drafting a larger version.  Lots of pieces to this baby, and most of them needed to be resized.  I added to all three dimensions; length, width, and height.

One of the hardest things about making a new version is the fabric choice.  I have to admit, I am in love with that Philip Jacobs Japanese Chrysanthemum fabric I used for the first one.  The good news is that I scored a gorgeous Amy Butler fabric at one of my local enablers.

I seem to spend lots of my time lately disproving my own operational tactics.  I really don’t like to make the same thing twice.  But here I go again.

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I decided it needed something.  Like a gigantic monogram.  Lucky me, my first and last names start with the same letter.  Then I went to the Urban Threads website.  They have the coolest, most unusual embroidery designs I have found.  And they are having a sale right now on alphabets!  So I bought a massive letter.

I did not want the monogram to be glaringly obvious, which is kinda counterintuitive when you are adding a humongous letter to your project.  I picked brighter versions of the colors that are in the fabric, so that it could be seen but would not overwhelm the gorgeous textile.

BTW, I also had to watch the Superbowl this weekend.  Well, at least the ads and the halftime show.  Katy Perry was awesome, especially riding in on the giant metal tiger.  With guys in black bodysuits moving the legs.  Of the tiger, not Katy Perry.  And the little lost Budweiser dog…let’s just say, tears were shed.

Now go make something pretty!

Backpack with a back, and a plea to save the crab and mac nut wontons!

Today is a good day, my backpack has a back.

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I am so NOT a backpack kinda gal.  And the only reason I started this project, if you’re paying attention, is that I am trying to find the perfect travel bag.

Despite these disclaimers of mine, I think this thing is gorgeous, and I will carry it proudly.  I love the royal blue webbing I found for the adjustable part of the straps.

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This sly beauty still has a secret…it is naked on the inside.

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I promise I will do the lining, with it’s fabulous pockets, and get it finished.  I’ll even find some unwilling subject to model it!

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Part two of this little dissertation  doesn’t involve sewing.  Or cooking.  Pretty much just eating.  Eating this.

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Crab and mac nut wontons.  My very favorite thing to eat at Duke’s here on Kauai.  The dipping sauce is wasabi and plum.  The darling Miss O and I went there for lunch today.  Our waitress told us that our fave food is being taken off the menu.  Whaaaa?  It is the top menu item here and in Waikiki, and it is coming off the menu.  Even the koi in the pond objected, showing their displeasure by jumping out of the water and slapping their fat koi flippers on the water.

What is wrong with the world?  Dammit, Duke’s, don’t take away my inspiration!

My backpack has a secret.

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I’ve added a dandy water bottle holder onto my backpack!  You know, one of those easy-access pockets where you put the stuff that you want to gift to the TSA agents.

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I drafted the pattern for this pocket, twice actually.  The first pocket I made was alarmingly short.  I’m sure my vodka would have fallen out at an inconvenient time.

The other side has a snap pocket.

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The patten called for a magnetic snap.  I put on a real snap, a heavy-duty one, so it couldn’t just pop open and spill my worldly goods.  My small worldly goods.  You want to see the secret my backpack is concealing?

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It’s backless.  So maybe it’s not a backpack.  It’s just a pack.  TOMORROW it will be a backpack.

Look at that last picture again.  See my little kitty face?  Handmade by not me.  Clever Miss O.

The mystery is solved: I publicly admit I am sewing my third travel bag in one month

That gorgeous fabric is becoming a backpack.

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I’m on a quest for the perfect travel bag.  During this month of January, I have already made two travel bags.  The stunning Repressed Fantasies travel bag…

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And the slightly more sedate Flocking Cardinals travel bag…

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I carried my cardinals on a weekend trip to Honolulu.  Like beta testing for a travel bag.  I found out it’s just not the right travel bag for me.  Fear not, somebody I know will be gifted with this bag, so it will not be abandoned.

I switched direction entirely on my travel bag quest, decided to try a backpack.  It would be great to travel with at least one free hand.  After way too much thought, too many Bing searches, and scouring the depths of Etsy, I chose the Dawn to Dusk backpack pattern by Chris W. Designs.

The teaser pictures I posted yesterday were of the backpack straps and the beginning of the front pocket.

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I sewed the lining for the front pocket, and it looks awesome

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Inside the front pouchy pocket is a pen pocket, which can also hold my cell phone.

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The pouchy pocket goes on next, then the front flap to make it all look tidy!

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I love the color of this zipper!  The pattern has straps with buckles over the flaps.  I decided to leave off all the pocket straps, because I’m pursuing a softer look, rather than the more utilitarian feel that I felt the straps convey.

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The lining fabric is one of my current favorite fabrics also.  I’ve used bits of it in my Millefiore Quilt.  I was struggling with what to use for lining on this project.  I was thinking of using another Philip Jacobs fabric, but it was too matchy.  A different floral with very similar colors.  It just didn’t ADD anything to this backpack.  I was trying to clear a space off of my, ahem, slightly cluttered cutting table.  As I was folding up the holey fabrics for the Millefiore Quilt, I was, like, wait a minute!  This looks awesome!  I also went and bought some more of it from my local enablers.

Could travel bag number three be THE travel bag?  The jury’s still out, but I think it’s a very good possibility.

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Now go make something pretty.  It probably won’t be as pretty as this backpack, but you can try.  😜