September 28, 2014

My Perfect Travel Tote

Just in time for an impending trip to Sicily, Southern Italy and Rome I completed the just for me traveling companion. Well, hubby is going too but since he is old news (literally) I am only presenting the self-sewn creation.
As you can see, this is a 3 piece set.  After completing the tote I was so happy with the fabric I just had to use some more.  The main fabric is a heavy outdoor fabric but it doesn't have that slick surface some of it has.  The straps are a cotton webbing and the exterior pockets on each side are trimmed with black and gray grosgrain ribbon.  Without the black and gray lines this fabric was a little dizzying to look at.  The lining fabric is one I used on some of my mid-century modern pillows (see here). Its a quilting cotton in gray with silvery dots that give it a cool shimmer. I wanted a light interior so stuff wouldn't hide in the dark.

The tote begins with the inside which I wanted fitted out in a certain way.  I had another bag that went to New York with me in May but it was too small and too deep. Stuff just sifted to the bottom and the one zippered pocket was sometimes difficult to get into.

 I cut a  piece of the exterior fabric large enough to surround the zipper on all sides. A little interfacing keeps it more rigid when operating the zipper.

The pocket is one piece of fabric with one side
attached to the bottom of the inside zipper edge and the other end folded over and then sewn to the top edge.
Then you sew up the sides of the pocket folding back at the zipper to catch that little triangle pice.

                                            Here is the placketed zipper completed. The inside is the same fabric.

The other side of the lining is fitted out with a special pocket just for my ever-present iPad.

Its  pretty straight forward pocket lined with the dotty fabric but I added a flap sewn above it to prevent the slippery little iPad from sliding out if the bag gets on it's side.  A bit of Velcro would have been nice but I didn't have any on hand.

 Now I was getting ready to assemble it when I realized that the exterior was limp as a noodle so I decided to add some fusible batting and quilt it. Since I had already sewn on the pockets and webbing to each side I had to work around them.

This is a free-wheeling wavy line I like to do.  No, it is not done free-motion. I am a complete dud at that and am not up to practicing and wasting time, thread and fabric.  I can echo shapes pretty well too.
 Here I used straight lines  following around the rectangle above the pockets.

Here is the back and you can see what I did.  It did give it more heft without weight or stiffness.
I don't back this with anything because the lining will hide it and more fabric would just make the seams bulkier.

 I also added a strip of batting inside the straps because I have learned that they are easier on the shoulders if I do.  I folded the fabric around it and stitched the webbing over the opening.  I like the effect of the little edge of print showing.

 I Hate "saggy bottoms" so I add some stiffener to the boxed bottom of the bag. This is plastic canvas which can be cut with scissors.  Its cheap and does a great job. I always cut against a smooth edge to eliminate any pokey parts. You can see them on the right.

I wrap the plastic in muslin and sew it in place. Goes through the machine fine. I attach it at each boxed end and then trim off the triangle.

Here are two other things I added.  This is a loop of wide black elastic sewn into the side seam on the inside.  Whatever for you ask! It's my upholder.  I can slip my covered cup in there and it stays relatively upright and in place.  I wouldn't trust it for a full steaming hot cup of coffee, but it keeps it from drifting to the bottom.

The little organizer bag has a D-ring on the side which attaches to a clip on a ribbon that is sewn into the side seam.  Its so easy (at least for me) when traveling and juggling your belongings to misplace something so this is my security.

The little wallet, shown open here may or may not go along this time.  When traveling in Italy, pick-pockets are ever-present so I will probably have my passport, cards, and most cash in one of those ubiquitous body wallets under my clothes or better yet, under hubby's.

So here it is packed with one of my essentials for an overnight flight.  That red thing is a knitted shawl that cam wrap me up or serve as pillow or armrest or even throw over my head to escape whatever is bugging me.

Ready to go on board.  Francine is modeling the last clothing item I made for the trip.  Without the folds, this fabric makes you dizzy.  I think it looks best under a black jacket. The bottom edge is served and I tuck it up, or in to create whatever length I need.

                I will not be posting while away but will return with entries to both of my blogs after October 15. I would love to hear comments but get them in before Oct. 2nd.  I screen my comments and that may be difficult while traveling.

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