A good friend has, once again, chided me for being such a laggard with posting. Time seems to move along at warp speed sometimes and I confess that I do forget. Most of the time it's more because I don't feel as though I have done anything that new or interesting...
Last Spring I cut out pattern pieces to make "The Carry On On Travel Bag". I had owns the pattern for some time and had looked forward to making it, but quilt projects and clothing endeavors took first place in my time commitments and the Carry On Bag languished in a corner. I finally decided that I wanted to put the "finished" stamp on this project before the end of the year and so I set to getting it done. I did buy the finishing kit for the bag...it makes it so much easier to have everything that you without having to hunt all over the web for long zippers, hardware and the nice acrylic bottom.
The first thing that had to be done was to quilt the fabrics. I chose to use two different colorways of FigTree "Aloha Girl" (with a third color way for accents). Embracing blue has been a new thing for me, but I am enjoying blue- al but true blue pastels at least! I am very fond of using Annie's Soft'n'Stable as my 'batting. It provides a cushy feel to the finished product and the machine sews through it like butter. Although I used a simple straight line quilting design the fabric pieces are large and it took some time, but I have have always liked using this simple design for bags and it was, I think, perfect for this one too.
The pattern calls for the outer straps to be fabric covered poly-web strapping. I preferred to use 1.5" all cotton webbing which I found on Etsy. It's excellent quality and I am very happy with the results - I just did not want the sheen of poly strapping/webbing and I couldn't really see the benefit of covering the straps.
The instructions for this pattern- as for all of Annie's.com patterns- were/are excellent. Some of the best written ones I have come across. If you follow step by step (and I do use the handy places to check off your completed steps) you can get the job done and done well. I will never fear buying a bag pattern from Annie's.com.
I am blessed with a good, strong, sewing machine but there were times when I think that in the making of this bag I pushed my beloved Janome 8900 to it's limits. I used a size 120/20 needle which I am SO glad that I had on hand. In places I was sewing through 8 layers of fabric, 2 layers of Soft'n'Stable and the cotton webbing (mostly when I was binding the inside seams). Managing the bag at the machine also taxed my arthritic hands at times!
This bag is definitely large enough to use as a "weekend away" bag (unless you are a heavy packer and need many changes of clothes) and it is a great size for a carry-on bag. It is sized correctly for under-seat storage on aircraft.
I am going to look and see if I can find any little feet to add to the bottom...just to keep the bottom off as much of a possible dirty floor as I can. There are pockets galore both inside and out...so it will be easy to have a place for everything. I love it when I learn new things when I make a bag and his one gave me some great (not difficult) new techniques that will be a boon to future projects.
I think that buying the acrylic bottom for the bag (they call it poly acrylic on the website- link earlier in this post). It fits perfectly into the bottom (there is a slip for it that you construct), it creates a very stable surface that will not bend or break as something like cardboard would inevitably do. I was happy with my decision to use cotton webbing rather than fabric covered poly and I now know how wonderfully strong and solid my machine really is.
This is bag that will be used a lot. I would make more I think but first I will see if perhaps I can rent some time and use an industrial machine. It isn't that my machine can't do it all...but rather that I think an industrial machine might be easier on my hands.
I have a few more bag projects from Annie's.com on my "to-do" and "want-to-do" lists and I am really looking forward to the net one! Someone making a bag feels very satisfying to me. I like making useful things and we can never really have too many bags can we?!
- What was the last project you made that stretched your personal capabilities?
- Have you ever felt that you were pushing your sewing machine to the motor's limits?
- What's on your project list for the near future? I would love to know what everyone is up to!