Jolly good travel bag


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


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


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


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.”


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.


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


Not just one, mind you.


Some other anglophile is going to get a big surprise!




When in doubt, accessorize! Accessories for the whimsical traveller.

Travel accessories for the crazed sewist.
Travel accessories for the crazed sewist.

There is so much prep time for a big trip.  I’ve been plotting and planning, piling and packing.  And I think everything is ready.  So I decided I needed some new travel accessories.

Leather bag tag, Anita Goodesign embroidery design.
Leather bag tag, Anita Goodesign embroidery design.

Did you know that you can embroider on leather?  Well you can.  I just happened to have this cute leather bag tag sitting about.  Nothing within my reach is safe from the Destiny.  I embroidered my initial on the flap.  At first, I couldn’t decide whether to embroider the initial for my first name or my last.  I hope I chose wisely.

Camera case in batik alligator print.  Custom made to fit my new camera.  Soft and stable for padding, long zipper, detachable wrist strap.
Camera case in batik alligator print. Custom made to fit my new camera. Soft and stable for padding, long zipper, detachable wrist strap.

I’ve been practicing with my new camera for the trip.  So of course the camera needed a cute little case.  Matches the lining of my backpack.  Boom.

Necessary Clutch Wallet pattern by Emmaline bags.  That beautiful Michael Miller fabric with a batik lining.
Necessary Clutch Wallet pattern by Emmaline bags. That beautiful Robert Kaufman fabric with a batik lining.

My new wallet is so classy.  I wanted to make sure it would coordinate with my mix-and-match outfits.  Now I can carry it as a clutch no matter what I wear.  Yep, same fabric as the backpack.  No worries, I won’t hold them up next to each other.

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"I never sleep on planes" eye mask.  Anita Goodesign embroidery.  Gray poly satin fabric, black lace elastic.
“I never sleep on planes” eye mask. Anita Goodesign embroidery. Gray poly satin fabric, black lace elastic.

If you’ve learned anything whatsoever about me, you know that this is my favorite travel accessory by far.  My special sleep mask.  I plan on wearing it on those redeye flights.  Although no one will know if I have red eyes.  Maybe I’ll even get bonus points for creeping out some people on the flights.  I might even wear it backwards when I get up to use the restroom.


The Silence of the Fabrics

You still wake up sometimes, don’t you? You wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the fabrics.  (To paraphrase Dr. Lecter.)

There was some fabric screaming at me the other day.  So I sewed that fabric.  I sewed that fabric with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

Okay.  I’m done.

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This little yee-haw-cowgirl-themed pursey-thing is in the mail to an unsuspecting outlaw.

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Note:  the pattern is the Necessary Clutch Wallet (NCW) by Emmaline Bags.

Everything in it’s place: a pocket for your glasses

I wish I could carry a cute little bag with me when I go out.  Lipstick, license, card, phone.  And then there’s the elephant in the room (because I can’t get it in my little bag.)  It’s my glasses.  They don’t fit in little bags.  I’ve considered going the Mr. Monopoly route and trying a monocle.  But until I can find one with bling, I’m going to add little pouches for my glasses onto little bags.


I’ve been making versions of the Necessary Clutch Wallet by Emmaline Bags.  The orange plumeria wallet in my last post got a lot of comments and requests for instructions.  Somewhere else.  Not here on my blog, because I have not yet told anyone I am writing a blog.  But I might lure a few people over with my new and improved tutorial:

How to make a glasses pocket for your NCW, or your other wallet, or your little pursey thing, or just about anything that needs to hold your glasses

you will need:  7-1/2″w x 9″h fabric, 8-1/4″ x 6-3/4″ interfacing (I use shape-flex,) a magnetic snap, all the usual suspects in sewing supplies

Fuse the interfacing on the back of your fabric.  Why is the interfacing so much smaller than the fabric?  To keep it out of the seam allowances, eliminating unnecessary bulk.


Bet your glad I put in a picture of that.  Fold this in half (wrong sides together) with 7-1/2″ sides meeting so you can decide which side of your fabric you want to show.  Now mark the position of your snap.  The center of the snap should be 1-1/4″ from the left raw edge, 2-3/8″ from the lower raw edge.  If you want your fabric to appear in such a way that the raw edge is on the top, measure 2-3/8″ down from the top.  Don’t argue with me, remember there is a quarter inch seam coming along, so it will be centered.  Attach the female side of the magnetic snap on the marking, using a small piece of peltex or batting on the back for stability.

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Isn’t that just spiffy?


Fold this bad mamma-jamma in half, short sides together.  Stitch a 1/4″ seam leaving about 3″ open on the long side.

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Trim, turn, press, admire.


Flip that baby over.  On the short side without the snap, mark the center.  I do all my marking with a Frixion pen.  A little shot of steam or a touch with the iron and the marks disappear.  It’s like magic happening right there in your sewing room!  Also mark 1-1/4″ on each side of the center mark.  The center of mine was just a hair past the 2″ mark.  Doesn’t matter, just find your center.  I should teach meditation.  Look how crappy my one corner looks!  Don’t care.  Gonna hide it.


Origami time!  Choose one of those corners to start.  Fold the piece like you’re making a paper airplane – from the corner with the right sides together.  This is the corner on the right from the picture above.  Well, it would be except I marked the incorrect side first and took a picture of it.  My bad.  Anyway, you can see the center and two side marks below.


Stitch this little folded end like below.  Then do the other one.


Here’s the inside.   And when you flip it, tah dah!  Starting to look pouchy.

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Mark the center of each of the long sides.  After stitching the corners, mine measured 6″ on the long sides.  So I marked each side at 3″.  Look at my pens pointing at my little marks!


Now it’s time to mark the placement on your wallet.  The specifics here are for the NCW, adjust placement as appropriate if you’re making something else.  Mark the center of the back of the wallet.  Draw a line 3/4″ from the top of the wallet, another line 2-1/2″ down from that.  Draw a line 3″ to the right of the center line (adjust this line if necessary to equal half the length of the long sides of the pouchy thingie.)  Remember, in my photos I am using a Frixion pen which will disappear with heat.  If you’re not using one of those, you might not want to draw all over the back of your bag.


With the snap on the left, match the centers of the top edge of the pouch and the wallet.  Pin carefully, stitch close to the edge, backstitching at each end.

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Now go do the other side.  I’ll wait.  Repeat for the end, tucking in the little points so they’re not in the way.


Now you seriously need to spend some time admiring your amazing work!

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Let’s move on to the tab.  This part is super easy after what you just accomplished!  Cut a piece of fabric 7″ x 2″, and interfacing 6-3/4″ x 1-3/4″.  Trim the corners off the interfacing and fuse it to the wrong side.


Attach the male end of the snap on one end, 1″ from the end and centered.  Seems to me it is easier to turn if you spread the little tabs lengthwise instead of crosswise.  Remember to add a piece of Peltex or batting behind the snap for stability.

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Fold this in half, short sides together, and stitch.  Leave an opening on one long side approx 2″.


Trim, turn, press, topstitch around the edges.


Mark a line 1/2″ from the open end of the pouch.  Center the non-snap end of the tab along that line.  Stitch the tab securely in place.

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Hot diggity dog, you’re done!  Do a happy dance and admire your work.  Then call someone and brag about it!

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Of course, you still have to finish the wallet.  But aren’t you just tickled?

I would love to have your feedback on this tutorial.  Leave me your comments, and send me pictures of your glasses in their new little pouches!

Aloha, and stay crafty my friends!

What good is my wallet if I can’t see it?

Well, I figured out what the problem is.  I’ve been making these wallets for my friends and everybody just loves them.

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I decided to actually try one.  So surfing ninja got the honor.  The idea of these fabulous wallets is that you can put your cell phone in there and carry it in lieu of an actual purse.  I even made a detachable shoulder strap for this one.

I was feeling all carefree and proud of myself.  Until I realized that I didn’t have my glasses with me.  My disappointment was palpable.

Let’s throw a life tip in here, since I seem to be slacking in the life tips category.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  You can quote me on that.  I need to see things, so my “in lieu of an actual purse” needs to hold my glasses.  Being a mother, I knew it was time for invention.

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Apparently nobody told my sunglasses they would be in a photo shoot.  Probably should have cleaned them.


I can put my spectacles in the little compartment and switch ’em out for my sunnies when I go inside.  So now, in lieu of an actual purse, I can carry this vision of happiness!  I’ll just sit over here and feel proud of myself for a while.

Props to Emmaline Bags, creator of the pattern called the Necessary Clutch Wallet.

Stay crafty my friends!

Selfish Crafting

I just love to make stuff.  There’s something hugely satisfying about making pretty things.  Made with fabric.  Made with paper.  Made with scissors, zippers, batting, glue and grommets.

Most of the things I make I just can’t bear to give away.  How pitiful is that?  But I love them so much after I make them.  I feel like all my crafties are my children.  I know their story, from conception to completion.  How could I give away my children?  I mean, there have been a few times when I contemplated giving away my actual children, and no court in the land would convict me.  But I digress.

I now find myself making things that I actually WANT to give to someone.  What has come over me?  It’s like I went to sleep one night and had three ghostly visitors or something.  Maybe Clarence the angel came for a visit and did a George Bailey on me.  But I doubt it.  I wish I could believe that it was totally selfless.

Instead I think it’s a new evolution in my craftiness.  I’ve begun to look around outside my usual interests, especially in the sewing world.  There are some amazingly talented and creative people out there opening my eyes.  I mean, the last time I considered sewing any kind of a purse was in junior high. Lop off the legs of an old pair of jeans, cut some straps out of the legs, add some lining, and voila! A (now heinous) groovy ’70s purse.  The memory alone makes me shudder.  Too bad I didn’t keep my patchwork maxi skirt.

Now these brilliant designers are writing patterns so we can make things that are covetable.  Like the Necessary Clutch Wallet from Emmaline Bags.


Aside from the fact that I am madly in love with my pineapple fabric, this wallet is amazing!


I mean, it’s got tons of card pockets, a zipper compartment, phone and lipstick will fit in it too!  And heaven knows my momma taught me well, I never leave the house without my lipstick.  Shout out to Janelle MacKay, she IS Emmaline Bags.

Where was I before I felt compelled to show off?  Oh yeah, selfish crafting.  This was such a fun, one afternoon project.  I showed it to my visiting sisinlaw.  She loved it.  So I made her one.

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And I made a simpler wallet for my Girly.  (This one is called the Have It All Wallet, by Straight Stitch Society.)  She loved it.  So I made more.  For one niece, another sisinlaw, another niece.

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And you know what?  I’m actually digging giving these away.  One factor has got to be that they are fast and easy to make.  Maybe I don’t have time to fall in love with them.  I’ve decided they are not my children, not at all.  They are like somebody else’s children.  The ones that are cute and I want to play with them.  And at the end of the day, I want them to go home to their own mommies.  After I have basked in their adorableness, spoiled them with cookies and caffeinated and carbonated beverages.  Now go home, you little bastards, and keep your own mommies up all night.

There’s something about these small, colorful projects that makes me want to spread them around.  Could this be the type of project that brings me around, around from being a selfish crafter, to being a generous one?


Stay crafty, my friends.