Monday, November 28, 2011

An overnight bag that turned into a weekender…..

My daughter asked for this bag a few months ago- the bag on the left in the photo- Simplicity pattern #2274).  She had gone through my fabric and decided she really like some of the DS for Joann's fabrics I had purchased earlier this year. Only problem (for me) was there wasn't enough fabric to make the bag- No problem for my mix and match girl…..
 I cut out the pattern/interfacing and batting using 4 DS prints and one non-DS print
 I used the fusible fleece as it saved on many of the basting parts of the assembly. (I did still quilt all the pieces together because that just adds to the overall look!)
 I changed the pattern a little (had to make it ours, right???) Adding 2 end pockets, both pleated, one open

 …….the other zippered, as per the pattern.  I added center side pockets on both sides not just one (you'll have to trust me there are 2 and they both look exactly alike.)
I omitted the webbing handles and went with a softer fabric in houndstooth (that's fabric #5- the only non-DS pattern)
 and I added a shoulder strap (although the handles are long enough to toss over your shoulder, this option which can be adjusted to wear cross-body I think only improves on the design.
 It is billed as a overnight bag, but let me tell you, it's roomy, at 19" x 12" x 12".  Big enough to fit 3 queen size cuts of warm and natural batting (purloined for the photo shoot) and stuffed (with room to spare) into the bag.

side view of the open pocket 
This shot is to give you some perspective of the size. Carrying with the hand straps…….
 or the adjustable shoulder strap……..
Thanks to my daughter for "modeling" her new bag- although I am putting it aside for a Christmas gift- (it  isn't a surprise) and I did need some pictures so I could publish this post!

The pattern is straight forward, and easy to follow. There are LOTS of things to transfer from the pattern to the fabric so remember not to skip any (I know this to be true).

I can see no reason not to add two, between-the-handles, side pockets- they are the easiest pockets on the bag and there are no interior pockets. (In my next bag I will add a few interior pockets for additional organization).

May as well add 2 end pockets while you are at it. The zipper pocket is part of the pattern and would be a great place for a phone or something you didn't want to loose but still needed to keep at hand. (Like plane tickets, an e-reader, ipod).  May as well add a second end pocket following the same directions for the zipper pocket (unless of course you don't have a second zipper) then the pattern is easily modified to make the pocket without a zipper. I used interfacing on ALL of the pockets. I highly recommend this, makes the pockets better, trust me. I opted for Pellon's heavyweight fusible interfacing works like a charm and doesn't add much to the overall bulk of the bag. It's way easier sewing through this than the the gazillion layers of peltex/interfacing/fabric/cording/zippers if you have ever had the pleasure of making any of Amy Butler's bags.

Don't be afraid to mix up your fabric if you want an eclectic look. Challenge yourself to use what you have on hand. I loved that I made this bag without a trip to the fabric store. And that it suits my daughter's personality to T. You could even make your own fabric from your scrap bin to go with a patchwork look. You could showcase the beloved scraps on the pockets or the straps…. the options are truly endless.

Adding the shoulder strap increases the versatility of the bag especially if you ever take it on an airplane where you might need your hands free to say, hold your ticket/book/passport/coffee/toddler. You will need some hardware, if you want to make the shoulder strap adjustable, but that is easy to come by and lucky for me, I had some on hand from a prior project. No hardware is needed if you can live with your strap at a fixed length. I made mine adjustable because I figure my daughter won't be the height she is now when she is an adult and if she needs a longer strap then she can make it whatever length she needs. The shoulder strap was constructed in a manner similar to the handles, with fabric, fusible interfacing and rows of stitching. I ironed the fabric for the strap in half length wise, opened it up, folded each side into the center ironed seam, ironed again and then refolded along the original ironed seam, enclosing the raw edges, stitching along the open edge, the opposite edge and a few additional rows down the center.

I will serge all the raw edges in my next bag prior to construction. Due to the size of this bag doing it after construction is like wrestling with…… well, you know what I mean. Serge first, or zig zag at least but do it before you start putting all the pieces together.

If you are looking for a fun, "luggage" bag to make, consider  this pattern. I already have ideas for the one I intend to make for myself. If you get started now, you might even be able to get one done in time for the Holidays!


  1. A great bag! I love your little alterations and I know your daughter will love it!

  2. It looks really great! I bet she will get lots of use out of it! I love the mixing of the fabrics!

  3. Looks fab, and it's certainly nicer than a lot of sports bags out there.

  4. Wow, you have been bag sewing crazy! And oh my goodness that thing is HUGE but lovely. I love the scrappiness of all the fabrics, perfect touch!

  5. Wonderful bag! That is something on my to-sew list, too. Very nice!

  6. Rem looks so enthusiastic to be a model! lol

  7. love the look of your bag. I have the pattern and am trying to do it. I just wanted to do if the main fabric needed to be cut on the fold and sewn as one piece or cut 2 pieces of the fabric.

    Thank you.


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