Somewhere along the line, I developed an aversion to checking my luggage when I fly. This was after 9-11, but before all the tacked-on fees. I just hate waiting forever at the luggage carousel at the end of a trip. I ditched my nice luggage in favor of a Nike gym bag. That gym bag is sturdy and has traveled to three continents over 20 years. It is still serviceable if unattractive. An upcoming vacation pushed me to upgrade. The Portside Travel Set had been on my to do list since seeing Lladybird’s version and Rhonda Buss’s Sew-Along for Sew News.
Grainline Studio’s Portside Travel Set has been around a while, so I won’t go into too many details on construction. It comes as a paper or a pdf pattern.
Fabric: A sturdy fabric is necessary, unless you want your unmentionables on the jetway. I finally settled on three fabrics. The black cotton canvas duck and the Hudson 43 postscript cotton blend home decor fabric are from JoAnns. I originally purchased solar outdoor fabric in black – but you can’t press it without melting it, so I went with the duck. I lined all three pieces with some cream cotton broadcloth in my stash from Gorgeous Fabrics.
Notions: This is where you’ll spend your money. I used a denim needle, size 18, plus heavy duty thread from Coats and Clark (and a longer stitch). The metal zippers and nylon webbing came from JoAnn, while the D-rings and swivel hooks are from Pacific Trimming. I used a lightweight interfacing (pro-sheer elegance medium) from Fashion Sewing Supply. I chose a light webbing for the strap from JoAnns after ordering a very heavy one from Pacific Trimming. I wouldn’t be able to sew the heavy one with my machine, but the one from JoAnn is too light. If I can find a better webbing, I’ll replace the shoulder strap.
What I did differently and cautions: I didn’t do that many things differently. I mostly followed the Sew Along and adopted the changes there. I did underline the pouch, so it would be lined like the dopp and duffel. I also edge stitched everywhere – to add extra strength to the seam lines, though my edge stitching leaves much to be desired. I did as Rhonda did in the Sew Along – I fused the interfacing to my lining pieces rather than my shell fabric. The shell fabric was rather firm, so I wanted to give the lining some body to hold up.
Cautions: when choosing fabric, keep in mind thickness. This is important so that you can machine-stitch through the layers (think jeans). It’s also important for turn of the cloth. The directions (which are very good) clearly note the zipper openings should be 1/2 inch wide. If you don’t pay attention, you won’t get things to line up properly. (Also remember to use 1/2 inch seams.)
Looking forward to traveling with my new stylish bag. It’s bigger than my old one, but should still fit in the overhead. BTW, the front pocket won’t hold an iPad – at least not a newer generation.