I’m not sure exactly when I realized my weekend travel bag situation was completely untenable, but it slowly started to dawn on me that cramming everything I need for a few days away (too many clothes, dog stuff (they’re worse than babies, I swear), knitting projects, an over-ambitious number of books and a stupid amount of skincare products) in multiple dirty canvas shopping bags is not really the vibe I want to go for. While I have lots of suitcases in various sizes, I was sorely missing a big, roomy duffle that could accommodate my over-packing tendencies.
Enter the Portside Travel set by Grainline. I’ve seen so many lovely variations of this pattern over the years, and I decided it was high time I had a stylish travel bag I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen with. While I was at it, I also made the matching dopp kit and travel pouch, mainly to maximize every last scrap of Pendleton wool.
Yep, I finally dug into my Pendleton stash. The lovely Peggy from Sew House Seven gave me a big bag of scraps when I was last in Portland, and I’ve been hoarding them like the old crotchety fabric miser I am, waiting for just the right project. This particular piece was quite large (maybe a yard?) but was leftover from their production so large chunks were cut from it. I had to do some extremely creative maneuvering to get all my pieces cut out, but am extremely pleased with my pattern placement. I managed to center the large cross on the bag pockets and alternated the double-sided wool along the zipper edge to create the effect of teeth. Eating everything I put into it. Nom nom nom.
I can happily say that nearly every single thing I used to make it came from my stash, including the base fabric, lining, hardware and zippers. The only thing I had to buy was the cream strap for the handles; I couldn’t find anything to match the thinner navy cotton strap I already had, so I’m hoping the handles don’t get too grimey. I would be absolutely terrified to wash this since I didn’t pretreat the wool.
With projects like these, it’s the details that make me happy, and it felt fated when I realized I had this giant red coat zipper and blue leather cord in my stash; I was worried it was going to feel too strangely patriotic for a Canadian, but in the end I don’t think the red, white and blue reads so much “America” as it does “awesome”.
One small tip if you ever find your zipper is a little too short for the bag you’re sewing: it’s easy to lengthen it by encasing the end in between two scraps of fabric. You then trim the edges to the same width of your zipper. When it’s sewn in it looks like a very intentional design detail.
I used a super heavyweight cotton twill for the base and sides, and eked out just enough of the Pendleton to finish the dopp kit and pouch (the scraps I had leftover at the end were teeny tiny – so satisfying!) I am a touch nervous about the dopp kit; I would have preferred to use a water-resistant lining since something inevitably leaks when I travel, but I just used some quilting cotton. I’m not sure how well this guy will weather a shampoo explosion and subsequent washing, so cross your fingers for me.
I used some plaid cotton lining for the inside of the duffle bag, and also inserted an elasticized pocket at the end (an idea inspired by this post). I hate when dirty socks and underoos get mixed up with clean, so this will keep everything in their respective corners.
To say I merely love this travel set would be akin to saying Niagara Falls is a little wet. I am OBSESSED with this bag set. I want to leave town every damn weekend, even to bad, unpleasant locations just so I have an excuse to pack it full of stuff. I’ll be interested to see just how much it fits, but I am also considering making a second duffle and scaling everything up a little bit so it could possibly get me through a whole week away (with separate dirty canvas bags filled with my shoes, naturally).
Have you made the Portside duffle? I think it would be a fabulous gift idea too, and it’s such an awesome scrap buster.