I am about to embark on a trip to the far side of the world. I'm not a particularly good traveler - I don't like to fly and I am by nature a homebody. I'm sure I'll enjoy myself once I get there, but as the flight time gets closer I get more and more anxious. What better way to manage anxiety than to do what I like most: sew! I wanted to use the quilt-as-you-go method for bag panels made popular by Elizabeth Hartmann, and I chose one of her perfect quilted tote patterns to try it out. Here's the final product:
Here is the inside. I used directional fabric (this is from Amy Butler's Lark line, I believe), and I got one of the pieces going the wrong way around (not the only time I was directionally challenged), but it doesn't bother me. There's an internal zip pocket and a little slip pocket. If I were to do this again, I'd interface the slip pocket, as it is pretty limp and I don't know how useful it's going to be for actually holding things.
I made an alteration to the pattern to increase functionality. I added a panel to the back that has a zipper at the bottom. This allows the bag to slip over the handle of a roller bag. When it is being used as a regular handbag, you can close the zip and it acts as a large outside pocket. I'm super proud of this feature, since I figured it out by myself (I didn't think of it myself - I have seen this on other travel bags in shops).
Here's a closer shot of the zipper on the bottom. You might also notice that the bird on the back panel is sideways - I didn't realize I had pieced this bit the wrong way around until the pocket panel was finished, but I wasn't bothered enough to make another one.
Can't recommend the pattern highly enough. Many colour photos, very thorough text. I used cotton canvas as a base for the quilt as you go, with Soft and Stable as the batting, and I think this is a fantastic combination. The Soft and Stable simply knocked my socks off - it makes a great bag that really holds its shape so well. I think I'll never go back to fusible batting. Here's what the final product looks like in action.
I'll be going to Australia to do some work with a colleague at the University of Sydney, then to Hong Kong for a conference. I'll leave Hong Kong to go back to Australia to visit with another colleague at the Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane) for a few days and then I'll go to New Zealand (Wellington) to see my brother and sister-in-law. And then home. In all, I'll be on planes for over 70 hours during the month I'll be away. Any ideas about (1) how to survive the long flights, (2) must-read ebooks, or (3) things to do/see in Sydney, Brisbane, Hong Kong or Wellington NZ will be gratefully received!