This summer has been filled with carry-on trips. My mother’s memorial service near Asheville, NC, required a Saturday morning flight down and a Sunday afternoon flight back with a knit dress, a pair of heeled sandals, and my cosmetic bag tucked into a carry-on bag. The next weekend I flew to Dallas on Friday afternoon and returned Sunday morning—another carry-on trip with the same knit dress and sandals so I could play a half hour of old hymns for my girlfriend’s husband’s memorial service. And a fleece jacket and closed toe shoes so I could watch my firstborn son play hockey. This was a great treat for me, my first game since he took up the sport about four years ago. I also got to meet and be scratched and bitten by his three-month-old kitten, Ash, who’s got a lot of learning to do about bonding with grandma! The next weekend was another short trip, a drive up to Lake Erie to attend a friend’s son’s wedding. A carry-on and a garment bag sufficed for that trip.
I’ve been getting a lot of use out of my Cleveland Orchestra Chorus backpack during these trips, but it’s not chic. And the space inside isn’t great. I wanted a me-made bag that I could tailor to my own needs.
I had had a couple of yards of Cotton + Steel/Moonlit/Tangrams in Indigo hanging around for over a year. I got it in a kit from Craftsy, but decided I really didn’t want to make the dress from that kit. Sometimes the fabrics you get from Craftsy are discounted so deeply you just can’t resist “investing.” (My son always scoffs when I call it investing. He doesn’t realize how much money he’ll make on the sewing yard sale after I die.) I looked at the size of each bag on the Swoon Patterns site, and decided Vivian, in the traveler size, was just the bag for me. My objective was to make this bag without a trip to JoAnn’s for any extra supplies. Alas, I needed navy zippers, so grudgingly made the trip and also stocked up on interfacing. But that was going to be the only trip. (Oh, stop laughing.)
I put in the zippered pocket, and it was the finest zippered pocket I had ever inserted into any bag. Until I looked at the pattern again and realized it belonged on the inside of the bag, not the outside. If my knees weren’t so riddled with arthritis, I would have kicked myself! (Really—just look at that zipper. Look at the topstitching. Now it’s got to hide on the inside of the bag.)
So after posting and asking for advice on the Swoon Patterns Facebook group, I decided I would use a solid navy for the exterior fabric and choose a color from the tangrams for belting for the straps and handles. I was looking for canvas, but JoAnn’s didn’t have navy canvas and the nice sales associate directed me to the 100% cotton duck. Perfect! Looking at the belting choices, I selected hot pink.
A wise shopper would have checked her hardware supply before leaving home, but I was obviously not having a wise week. When I got back home, I discovered I didn’t have any rectangle rings. But I did have some nice D-rings and snap hooks. So I made the straps with D-rings and put the snap hooks on the handles. I thought about putting a long adjustable shoulder strap on, but refused to make any more trips to JoAnn’s!
One other addition to the interior was also a mistake. As I was assembling the bag, I found one more pocket piece, but could find no reference to it in the instructions. It’s fortunate that the bag designer, Alicia, prints the names of each pattern on each pattern piece. I’ve got a new music tote bag, Alice, cut out, and one of her pattern pieces got mixed up with my Vivian pieces. (Holy Mother of Lost Needles, if I don’t clean up and organize my sewing space soon, I’m going to have to impose some sort of penalty!) So I had a lovely little patch pocket ready to go on the inside of Vivian, and decided to use a little leftover belting to hang a keyhook from the bottom of the patch pocket. I’m great at losing keys, and this way I can hook them in as soon as I get on the airport shuttle after parking my car and retrieve them a couple days later on the way back to the car. Brilliant! (I left the photo clickable so you could see the patch pocket—I don’t know why it’s sideways. But you can see it clearly!)One more giggle for you about this construction project. You know how on your suitcases you can zip from either end of the zipper and if your pulls are together, the zipper is closed? Then when you move one of the pulls, the zipper is open between the pulls. I thought that was the kind of zipper I got. Nope. I have no idea how this zipper is intended to be used (probably a jacket—duh on me!).
This was my first experience with Alicia’s “drop-in” lining, and I was very impressed with how easy it was to attach. If you haven’t used any Swoon patterns before, I highly recommend them for the clear instructions. Many of you know I had a long career as a technical writer and legal writer and editor. Alicia is an expert at turning sew-ese into clear, easy-to-follow instructions.
So that’s the story of the riddled with oopses bag. I wasn’t sure about the cording as I was inserting it, but once it was in, I loved it. I will probably make my own on the next bag, rather than using a purchased product, but I think this looks pretty fine.