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today I’d like share two much loved travel accessories: my messenger bag and my travel etui.
The Messenger Bag:
We travel quite a bit, and especially on longer trips I always had a “bag problem”: I need a bag for day trips. I admit: that in itself does not seem like a big problem, as there are hundreds of bags on the market. But: My list of requirements for the “perfect” bag grew longer with every trip… The bag cannot weigh too much, because the content of it is already heavy enough. It needs to be big enough to hold a tremendous amount of things (I am like Mary Poppins when it comes to the content of my hand bag ;-)). I want to be able to sling it over my shoulder, because a backpack is too hot in warmer countries and a “normal” handbag tends to get in my way. The bag needs to be washable, because due to my whiter-than-white skin I use tons of suntan lotion and that always ends up somewhere on the material of my bags. And I need to be able to stuff the bag into my travel backpack when I don’t need it. When I started to sew, we were planning a trip to Sri Lanka, and as always I was fussing over my “bag problem”. And suddenly it occurred to me: I can sew my own bag!
I went straight onto Pinterest and found this messenger bag tutorial by Crazy Little Projects.
The bag was almost perfect, but I wanted to add a zipper – you know, pick-pocket safety and all J. So I looked up another tutorial for that (from Stitch Lab) and combined that two. And as I was combining away, I also added the detachable little pouch from Pattydoo’ shopper Wendy.
I used a medium-weight cotton from Gütermann for the outer fabric and made it more durable with a very stiff interfacing. For the lining, I used a more sturdy cotton from the Dutch fabric market that tours Germany regularly. It would have made much more sense to do it the other way around, the medium-weight material as lining and the sturdy cotton as outer fabric; but I had very little experience when I sewed this up, and I just really liked the print of the Gütermann fabric! The interfacing made the bag stable enough, though, and I am very happy with the outcome. The bag travelled to Sri Lanka with me, and I have used it on two other trips – and it’s still holding up fine!
The travel etui:
As sewing my own bag had worked to well, I decided to have a go at solving my other „travel problem“: where to store all the necessary documents? We mostly travel with backpacks, and I always was stuffing all docs in various places. So I looked for an etui that could hold all travel information as well as passport, credit card etc. I eventually chose the pattern from machwerk (unfortunately only available in German). I used up all my pink fabric scraps for this project, and I admit, the result is very pink :-).
Maybe a little bit too pink – my husband refuses to carry the etui… But it fits perfectly with my messenger bag, and I am in love with its practicality: I have all my docs ready in a second, and I can also stuff my kindle in if I want too! For the transparent pouch I used a normal office foil – my sewing needle didn’t like that too much, I had to replace it after I attached the pouch. Also, turning the fabric was quite fiddly, because the plastic doesn’t bend easily. But both issues are still easily solvable, and the normal plastic plus extra needle is still cheaper than going for a special material.
So, this was an extra long post – congratulations to everybody who made it this far! Here’s the Flying Needle Summary:
Pattern? Messenger Bag from Crazy Little Projects (no actual pattern, but rather a tutorial on how to draft and sew your own design); Zipper-Tutorial from Stitch Lab; detachable pouch from shopper Wendy from Pattydoo (free pattern); travel etui from machwerk (unfortunately only available in German)
Fabric? Cotton material from Gütermann and from the Dutch fabric market
Changes made? Combined the messenger bag with a zipper and detachable pouch
Difficulty Rating? The messenger bag is an easy sew; the travel etui is a little fiddly for beginners, especially as you need to top stitch quite a lot – but still manageable!
Summary? Both Messenger Bag and travel etui have become indispensable travel equipment; I am sure to sew up a replacement if they wear down!