Hi there! I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday filled with love, laughter, and all the happiness hearts can hold.
Our Christmas was extra special this year, in part because the preceding weeks were unexpectedly tough. Sadly, earlier this month we had to say goodbye to Murphy, my sweet little sewing sidekick, who’d been quite sick and took a sudden turn for the worse. Though we’d suspected that difficult day was coming, we definitely didn’t think it’d be so soon. And about 30 hours afterward, a family member’s longstanding health condition necessitated a serious, unanticipated procedure and six-day hospital stay near NYC. Needless to say, between those and other events, it was an intense, emotionally charged stretch that allowed little time for anything else. BUT, fortunately, our loved one was out of the hospital and home for the holidays, and my siblings and our families had a wonderful day together.
Of course, being together was the ultimate gift…but we did exchange others! I received so many amazing goodies from so many generous Santas, and I’m beyond grateful for them all. I was also very excited to give gifts, including the cute little number below.
This is the Travel Duffle Bag 2.0, and my first By Annie project. I made the bag for my mother, who, after spending decades close to home, caught a travel bug many years ago and never recovered! She still works full-time but skedaddles away whenever she can. Her favorite destinations are Hawaii and Aruba, the latter of which she visits annually, but she also hits the road (and sky) to spend time with family and friends up north, down south, and everywhere in between. And a few months ago, when I showed her the Scrappy Happy Patchwork Tote, she asked if I’d make her an overnight bag—with a zipper. Though I could’ve made her an SHPT with the requested addition, I knew it wasn’t quite right for her travel needs. So, eager to try an Annie’s pattern anyway, I picked out the biggest duffle I could find, and got to work!
After much debate, I chose Quill Parchment Floral Flourish for the bag’s main fabric, Twilight Garden Eggplant Polka Dots for the lining, and Confetti Cottons Eggplant for the strap and accent fabric. The hardware and zippers are By Annie’s own, as is the Soft & Stable that gives the duffle its great texture and structure. And though I thought I’d conquered the hardest part by picking out fabric and materials, since it always takes a while to find the perfect combo, I was wrong. A bag this lovely, with so many pockets and zippers and fabulous details, requires a lot of instructions. And while those were thorough, I still encountered a few challenges!
My biggest hurdles by far were the strap and handles. Per the instructions for the handles, I had to slide 105″ of 1.5″ webbing into a 1.5″ x 105″ fabric tube. For me, this was easier said than done! Trying many tricks and tools, I worked on that thing for at least an hour and a half, to no avail. I could get the strapping in somewhat, but nowhere near the tube’s the entire length. Finally, I scrapped the tube and made handles as I normally would (pressing a wider piece of fabric into quarters), then slipped the webbing into the folds and top-stitched the perimeter. This worked like a charm for both the handles and strap, and luckily, I had enough spare fabric on hand. For the strap strips on the bag’s ends, I followed the instructions as written. They were no trouble because the tubes and webbing were much shorter. Lessons learned for next time!
Mom opened her special gift on Christmas morning, and it was an even bigger hit than I hoped it’d be. She absolutely loved the bag’s size, strap, fabric, and multiple pockets and zippers. And in true momma form, I think she was also proud of her little girl. As she pointed out, it wasn’t that long ago that I stopped wearing shirts when buttons fell off because I couldn’t thread a needle! While this is true, I immediately gave credit where it was due: to the pattern. In fact, I was so impressed by the Travel Duffle, I’ve already bought MJ’s Messenger Bag! I plan to start that as soon as I make a second duffle for myself. I have zero flights booked for the near future, but it’s always good to be prepared—especially with a pretty quilted carry-on!
To check out other great patterns and products, visit By Annie here! (And if you have any tips for sliding long straps into narrow fabric tubes, please feel free to share!) 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful day!