Anyone who has travelled by plane recently will know the rules and regulations as to what you can carry on and what size is a bit of a nightmare. A while ago one of my son’s friends decided to spend his 21st birthday in Copenhagen. Nice… My son went too… not so nice! He drove me mad worrying about the rules. In the end to shut him up and stop him worrying so much I told him I would make him a new bag the exact size allowed by the airline. It worked! But that meant I now had to work too!
As you will hopefully know from his bed transformation my boy as a Gooner so naturally the bag had to be Red. I could some nice Red canvas type material nice and cheap in a sale bin. There was just enough to double up on the thickness too making for a nice sturdy bag. I had some black nylon webbing leftover from a repair job I did to my eldest son’s cymbal case so all I really needed to get to complete the bag was some feet and some sliders to fit the webbing. I already had a zip in my stash that I think I took out of an old hoodie that was past it’s sell by date.
I decided to have one small zip pocket on the side of the bag and I also decided to cut all the pieces individually so I had good clean edges to my finished bag. I started with the zip pocket.
First I stitched my zip in between two pieces of red fabric and then I attached a piece of webbing (for added strength and security to the pocket) at the top and bottom so that the finished pocket was the exact depth of the finished bag side. Once stitched in place the straps of the short handle would then finish off the sides of the pocket.
Once the two long sides were attached to the base section of the bag it was time to add the ‘short’ handles but first I added the top. This was in two halves so that a zip could be inserted down the centre. I made the short handles out of one continuous length of webbing for strength. I had already marked out all the positions so that I was sure the straps would be equally spaced and that the joins of the webbing would be directly underneath the center line where the ‘long’ handle would later be secured.
Once I was happy that everything was pinned in the correct positions I top stitched the webbing in place using a good strong thick needle in my machine and I used a strong thread. The sort that is used for making jeans. Aside from strength this also added a nice contrast to add detail to the bag. To ensure the topstitching was nice and neat I moved my needle position 2mm to right of centre and then lined up the center of my machine foot with the edge of the webbing. Slow and steady sewing ensures a nice neat finish.
It was exactly at this point that I realised that I had planned to add a waterproof layer in between the two layers of red canvas and that I had completely forgotten it! ARGHH too late now – no way was I unpicking everything and starting again!
Next I added the two end sections which allowed the fixed section of the long handle to be stitched in place. This time either end had a slider threaded onto the strap and that was then doubled back under itself to secure everything in place. It ran directly down the center of the length of the bag which covered the join in the short handle strap and, provided the bag is packed properly, makes for even distribution of weight (I hope!)
Tabs were added to either end of the zip. I did find it easier to fold over the edge and stitch the fabric down the length of the zip which probably wasn’t the best way to do it but it worked. Finally I had to stitch the end panels in place and the basic ‘bag’ was complete. I’d run out of the nylon woven webbing at this point so for the long handle I used a softer woven tape that was doubled up for added strength. This worked pretty well as it looped through the slider and my son said it was softer on the shoulder when carrying a full and heavy bag. I was going to make a pad for the shoulder but he said they were annoying and he always ripped them off anyway… one less job for me 😀
As is usual when I’m making things for a specific date the feet that I had ordered online arrived about 3hrs after my son left for the airport so I had to wait until he got back to finish off the bag fully. He was really pleased with is bag. And even more pleased as his mates that had mocked him when he said I was making him a bag for the trip were actually really impressed with it. And he got everything he needed in. His mates had opted for backpacks taking very little. Their plan was to buy toiletries and things when they got there… big mistake as they turned out be expensive and took up quite a portion of their spending (drinking) money. And my boy had to help them out too when one ran out of socks and the other boxers. 😛
When he got home all I had to do was add a thin hardboard base to the bag. I drilled holes through for the feet to go in. Put a good layer of duct tape over the metal edges to protect the bag contents.
All I have to do now is hand stitch a layer of fabric over the top. This will attach to the seam allowances all the way round and stop little bits getting lost underneath the base.
Voila! One perfectly sized, strong, lightweight travel or sports bag complete with feet to keep it off the ground when its wet … just a shame I forgot to put in the waterproof layer