Well, really for any kinds of travels – I used it this weekend for a sleepover and a trip to a cabin, and last week going to the gym. But I *made* it for my epic sailing adventure to Belfast last summer!
Oh the sheer joy and slight terror on my face! I was so excited, and rightly so – the sailing trip was a wonderful experience. Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a training vessel based in Bergen, with both permanent crew, trainees that spend a couple of years on board, cadets from the military academy that join on the 2-month cross-Atlantic sail each fall, and shorter trips that we mere mortals can pay to go on. It’s work though – two shifts of four hours each every day, where we haul sails, maintain the ship, keep lookout, and steer. And sleep in hammocks, which was… the best. Ever. We were told to avoid packing in suitcases, since space was limited and the lockers narrow. It seemed like a great opportunity to make a Portside travel set!
Fabric: 1-ish meter each of dark navy twill from somewhere in London (bought for a Robson coat), a water-repellent fabric called Dralon from Stoff & Stil (I think it’s the right color, but it might be creme instead of light grey), and lined with some polyester crepe-satin-twill (totally the official description) from my stash, bought on sale at Vogue in Evanston, IL several years ago.
Pattern: Portside travel set, from Grainline Studio.
Techniques: lining, convex curves, zippers, topstitching, webbing.
I actually managed to only finish the duffle bag before the trip (last-minute too – if I remember correctly I was sewing in the lining the morning of departure!). After the trip I had other projects that took up my time, so it wasn’t until early this spring that I picked it up again. I made a few changes to the pattern. First up, I used lining in more places than the pattern calls for, like to finish the outside pockets, and inside the pouch. To accommodate the length of zippers I bought, and also because I like the look of the tabs between the zipper and the side seams, I added an inch of width to each of the travel set pieces. Only – I forgot I had done so when I had to recut the bottom for the dopp kitt, so it is a bit misshapen. Haha!
Buying notions was a bit of a headache for someone who ends up researching different options to no end, and due to time constraints I didn’t use all of it for this bag. I want to list it here for future reference though. The black zippers with antique brass teeth that I did use came from Etsy shop zipperstop, whom I’ve bought from before and has a mind-numbing number of zippers available. They also do custom stuff (these were custom length), and have been quick, with good customer service. I also ordered some grey donut style pull, also antique brass, from zipstop, which look very nice. From 3DAN I bought the hardware (1 ¼ inch gunmetal D-rings and 1 ¼ inch gunmetal swivel snap hooks) and webbing (heavy weight nylon in deep grey – oh how I agonized over color choice, there were so many to choose from, and computer screens can’t be relied on to show nuanced differences in cool vs warm grey tones!). I ended up using none of the webbing or hardware – it took too long (which really means, I was too late in ordering!), so I raided a bag I was throwing out for the hardware, and used the webbing available at Stoff & stil, a rather stiff and cheap feeling gros grain in grey (ugh, more color choices! Should the webbing match, or contrast? Perfect match, or just “go”?). Now at least I have everything at the ready for the next bag, and I can use the much nicer feeling nylon webbing – it’s more finely woven, smoother, and reminds me of seatbelt material.
Sewing the bag, the dopp kit and the pouch is pretty straight forward, but a bit fiddly at times. Sewing the bottom in and pivoting at the corners, and topstitching afterwards benefits from a lot of precision, a good dose of dexterity, and a fair amount of patience. Even with all of those some of my sewing was less even, but the pattern is forgiving enough that it still looks *really good*. I’m pleased to no end with these, especially after the addition of an old brown leather luggage tag I found at my dad’s house, and matching brown leather pull tabs.
I know some people have mentioned the d-ring installation as tricky, and I found this arm sling tutorial helpful in making things less confusing. I’ve used this bag quite a lot since finishing it, and I’m so thrilled that I made a piece of luggage I can use and looks so… real! I’m anticipating getting a lot of use out of the two other pieces too now – the dopp kitt is currently holding a knitting project, and is the perfect size for a baby sweater in progress. Size wise the duffel bag suits a weekend-length trip. I’m sure I could get a weeks worth of stuff in there if I only brought the most necessary, but the weight of the bag is actually was stops me before the volume. In fact, for the next one I might try attaching the carrying straps further down on the bag, so I could wear it on my back. On this one the straps are attached too close to use it that way. I’m thinking also an inside pocket or two could be practical. Clearly I’m planning on making more. I think they would make really nice gifts, for example!
And finally, one more picture of me boarding the ship because I loved the trip and I’m very proud that I traveled in style, and ended up climbing up the rope ladder level to the flag during the course of the trip. Ship ahoy!