Project: Small Travel Bag

I travel a lot, it seems.

Many weekends I travel to see El Guapo, my main squeeze–and the packing can get tedious. To streamline the process (efficiency is kinda my thing), I like to pack bags within bags. You know, in case you need to grab a gaggle of things and only have one hand available.

So I came up with this serviceable and yet still attractive way to transport groups of goods from one place to another–I’ve decided that this will be a toiletry tote. You can make it tote anything you want.

First, choose a length of semi-sturdy fabric that you enjoy looking at. If you are like me, you will see this often, and I really despise looking at things that are unnecessarily ugly. Men, sofas, machinery, clothing. This is why I don’t wear white socks.

Make sure that you have enough of a complimentary fabric for lining the inside (I chose muslin–cheap and durable enough).

fabrics, pre-cutting

Cut both of the fabrics into 12″ x 30″ rectangles.

Put the right sides together and sew 3 sides together, leaving approximately 5/8″ seam allowance.

sewing the edges together

Turn the fabrics so that the right sides face out–then iron it all very flat. My dear friend The Tailor has been telling me for ages that ironing your sewing project at every step really makes it look sharp and clean-lined. I  believed him, but for a long time, I didn’t do it. Then I tried it–and you guys, it works.

So iron the fabric. You can thank me later.

Ok, post-ironing, turn the unfinished edges in and sew them together.

all edges sewed

For this project, I wanted to have a tight, quilted look. This keeps the fabric from poofing out in weird ways and makes it more sturdy all over.

So I used a simple curvy stitch (on my machine’s presets) and sewed horizontal curvy lines about an inch and  a half apart, down the length of the fabric.


Once done, fold it with the pretty fabric on the inside, leaving about 6 inches on one end for the flap.


Sew the sides together, then turn it right side out.

Fold over the excess fabric on the flap and sew it.

the excess fabric on each side of the flap

To make this an effective and more professional looking bag, turn it inside out and, one at a time, pinch the corners so that the side seam and the bottom seam are touching and the bag doesn’t lie flat. Sew a seam across each corner so that they are even. Cut off the excess corner tail. End result should look like this:

the sewn and cut corner is located at the bottom of the image

Turn it out. Then, all that’s left is attaching a simple hook and eye–2, actually. Sew the eyes onto the body of the bag, under the flap; then line the hooks up and sew them onto the flap.


final product

suck it, martha.

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Categories: Projects


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2 Comments on “Project: Small Travel Bag”

  1. May 31, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    You go girl!

  2. June 1, 2011 at 11:15 am #


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