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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Sew your own luggage

I am about to fly with Ryanair to Italy with my partner to walk the Grande Anello dei Sibillini
Doing the trek means that I and my partner have to carry everything with us in a rucksack,  a total of two and a half weeks worth of luggage as after, I hope, completing this trek I will be doing some sightseeing and relaxing. We are only taking cabin luggage so we have one rucksack each within the size limit of 40cm x 55 cmx 20 cm. We are not camping, thank goodness, but have booked a place each night in a rifugio or albergo, all of which provide hearty meals. 
Ryanair now allow you to take an additional bag, as well as your main cabin bag, into the cabin provided it is no bigger than 35cm x 20cm x 20cm.  When I went to Italy in 2015, to sightsee with my Canadian cousin, we flew with Ryanair and I made a fabric handbag from some furnishing cotton to these dimensions to use for a day's sightseeing.

It has an outside pocket to the front and back, closed with a snap fastener, and long  straps so that it could be carried over the shoulder.  There is a central tie across the middle of the width of the bag, which helps to keep the contents secure, but it is hard to make them out in the above photograph.  It could easily take a towel and costumes for the beach etc.  I designed it so that it could also be carried in the hand by knotting the fabric straps.
There are two further sets of ties, which are discernible in the above photograph that, once tied, form a gusset at either end of the bag, making it more compact in size.
For the impending holiday I decided to make as the second cabin bag a small drawstring bag that could be worn like a rucksack .  I had some waterproof fabric that I used as the outer fabric. Although this bag is not intended to stand up to torrential downpours I did want it to have resistance to a certain amount of rain.  For the base I cut a square, 20 cm x 20 cm, for the back panel a rectangle 35 cm x 20 cm and for the remaining sides a long strip 35 cm x 60 cm.  A 1 cm seam allowance was added to all these dimensions.  I also cut a large circle to form a flap over the top and strips to form the channels for the drawstring cords to run through at the top and as tabs to hold the cords at the bottom of the bag.
Sewing was very straightforward, joining the panel for the sides to the back panel, sewing the tabs at the bottom of the bag into the seams at the same time, and then sewing the body of the bag to the base.  I made a lining mainly out of some fabric I had abandoned from a failed project but, as I did not have enough of this for the back panel, also from some leftover white toile fabric.  I ironed some stiff fusible interfacing to the back of the lining base and put two pockets, left over from the failed projects, on the back panel lining.  Here's the lined inside of the bag.
I found it difficult to photograph the inside but I hope you get the idea.  Then I sewed the lining and outer together  when I stitched  the channels for the drawstrings over the top edge, I think you can just about see these channels in the photograph above.  The photograph below, with the drawstrings in position and the flap sewn on, should give you an idea of the construction.  Everything used was in my stash except for 2.5 metres of nylon cord at 30p a metre from Simply Fabrics in Brixton.
And now here it is in action.
Want to know what's in it?  I spread the contents out on the table so you can see, the list is below.
Goretex hooded rain jacket, purse, torch, mobile phone, First Aid kit,box of plasters,washbag of toiletries, knee length shorts, 2 pairs of hiking socks,2 bras, 4 pairs of knickers, 1 pair of sandals, long-sleeved cotton t-shirt, fine wool polo neck sweater, V-neck pullover and a 2 cm thick book.  I could have squeezed a bit more in even but I don't intend to load it like that in real life.  I just thought it would be interesting to see how much I could get in it.  The measurements when thus loaded are about half a centimetre inside the Ryanair requirements.
When not in use the bag folds up and I have photographed it on top of a sheet of A4 paper.
It is folded into a polythene bag  but, at some point, I think I will make a pouch for it, maybe using some more stash !


1 comment:

  1. That is great and handy summer item! Also looks as though it was a really good stash buster.

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