Completed: The Portside Travel Set

22 Jan

For the past couple months, I’ve been planning to up my luggage game. Over the years, I’ve made do with a fairly old suitcase (handed down from my parents – I’m not sure exactly it’s age, but I know there are receipts in the pocket from when we went to Disney World in 1994, so at least 20 years!) and a really ratty/cheap duffel bag. My travel schedule is starting to ramp up this year, and one thing I don’t have is a duffel bag that is suitable for a weekend getaway. The aforementioned ratty bag was pretty small and difficult to carry comfortably. Also, I broke the zipper while I was in Paris – rather than repair it (it was really REALLY cheap – even down to the hardware, which I also threw away with the bag haha), I decided to make a new set, courtesy of Mood Fabrics.

Portside Travel Set

The Portside Travel Set is the perfect pattern for my casual luggage needs – a roomy duffel bag, plus a matching dopp kit and a small zippered pouch. The pattern is designed so you can really play with color blocking and fabric options, and it’s not difficult at all to put together. The duffel bag is nice and big (20″ x 11.5″ x 12″), and includes both hand and shoulder straps (the shoulder is adjustable, as well as removable!), a zippered top, and two exterior pockets. The dopp kit has both a zippered top and a zippered exterior pocket, plus a small handle. The little zippered pouch is one of the most basic things ever – like the kind of pouch you’d make in a ‘learn to sew zippers’ class – but I can see it being very useful. And it all matches! Yay!

Anyway, let me also point out that making this set gave me an excuse to peruse the home decor section of Mood Fabrics. I rarely sew with home decor fabrics (I know some people love them for clothing, but I’m not much of a fan, unless it’s for a very specific purpose), but I totally jumped at the opportunity! There are SO many cool designs, it was really hard to narrow it down to just 3! I started with this cool turquoise geometric print, matched it to a charcoal grey faux suede, and lined the inside with grey and white polka dots (I’ve been eyeballing that polka dot fabric for over a year now – so glad to finally have an excuse to buy it!).

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

I went over all this briefly in my post for the Mood Sewing Network; here I’d like to talk a little more about the pattern itself. Overall, it’s a great little pattern – good instructions, the pieces fit together, and I think the end result is really nice. There were a few points in the pattern that I found a bit confusing, though. For one – I completely mixed up the main and contrast fabrics when I was planning my fabrics! I assumed the contrast was the bottom half – i.e., the part I’ve made out of suede. That’s actually the main fabric, as far as the pattern is concerned. The contrast is the top part. This isn’t marked anywhere on the pattern except on the pieces themselves, which meant I ultimately ended up marking the line drawing with a map of what piece was what before I knew what piece to cut from which fabric. The contrast and self changes for the dopp kit and pouch, so I would really recommend at least mapping out the design before you start cutting. I know I would have been PISSED if my bag had ended up with the suede being the top sections, ha.

Speaking of the suede, that wasn’t difficult to sew at all. I used a standard 80/12 needle and my normal machine feet (no need for a special Teflon foot or anything), and since my iron has a shoe, I was even able to press it and fuse interfacing to it. The bag is lightly interfaced – more so to keep the cotton from wrinkling, less for structure. It’s pretty floppy when it’s empty.

Portside Travel Set

The instructions, like I said, are pretty good. The only part that really confused me was assembling the shoulder strap for the duffel bag. I have made plenty of stuff with sliders – hell, even all my bras have adjustable straps with sliders – but this bag uses D-rings for the sliders. I could not figure out how Jen did this, and even googling didn’t really help (turns out everyone else uses sliders too, who woulda thought?). I just ended up playing around with the straps and rings until it worked. Couldn’t tell ya what I did to get to that point, sorry! At least they look good now!

Portside Travel Set

Also, sewing up the little dopp kit was… interesting. Not all the pieces matched up perfectly (I read this in a random google review of the pattern as well – so either we cut it wrong, which is possible, or there’s a minor drafting error. I know Jen is really precise with her drafting so I hesitate to believe that it’s an error on her part, but I thought I would point that out), but I just trimmed off the excess. We are talking about rectangles that form a bag, after all – no crazy fitting or anything. I really struggled to get the bottom sewn on square – it’s passable as it is, but it’s not my best work.

Then again, it’s a dopp kit. I’m not unpicking that shit hahaha.

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

I love all the neat details in this tiny bag, though! The front zippered pocket is a personal favorite – also love that little leather zipper pull! And check out that print-matching at the top zipper! That was actually unintentional, but it worked out amazingly well. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super impressed with myself haha.

Portside Travel Set

Portside Travel Set

Like I said, the pouch was really easy – like, sewn up in under 20 minutes easy. Since it’s unlined, I serged the inside with matching aqua thread (it was almost navy because I didn’t feel like re-threading the serger, until I reminded myself that I paid for this serger specifically because it self-threads haha). The zipper pull – as well as the pulls for the dopp kit – is loosely based on the pattern included in the travel kit. I had to change it up a bit to get it to fit my smaller-than-normal zippers.

Portside Travel Set

One thing I did not anticipate when I started this project was how much all the materials were going to cost me – and how difficult they’d be to source. The fabric wasn’t terribly expensive (and since it’s a project for the Mood Sewing Network, it was free for me), but all those little extras add up! I found my swivel hooks and D-rings at Joann’s – not in the sewing section, but in the… dog-leash making section? Joann’s, keepin’ it weird as usual. I bought my cotton webbing from A Graff Supplies on Etsy. This was after shopping around quite a bit – Joann’s didn’t have the right colors and widths, Mood was sold out of most everything, and any other supplier I found only carried one of the two widths I needed. A Graff Supplies had both widths, with a great selection of colors – and while I did spend $15 on JUST WEBBING, I can’t imagine it being that much cheaper anywhere else. I would have loved to find nylon webbing, but cotton was much more prominent in my searches. All my zippers are from my stash – the black zip on the duffel bag is new (I bought it for a dress, which I obviously never made haha), the rest are vintage. Been looking for a use for those turquoise zippers πŸ™‚ Oh, and the little leather scrap for the pulls is from a shop on Goldhawk Road in London. I bought it because I loved the color, bonus that it matches my bag!

Portside Travel Set

The bag is REALLY floppy when it’s empty (to get these photos, it’s stuffed with every pillow from my couch, plus a couple of blankets), so it was hard to get an inside lining shot! The lining is all polka dots – the self fabric at the bottom is actually a fabric-covered removable piece of thin plastic, to keep the bottom from sagging open.

Portside Travel Set

This isn’t in the instructions (hence why it’s self-fabric – I ran out of lining!), but it’s a trick I learned when I made one of those Amy Butler Weekender bags years ago (which I still have, and yes, it’s too small for a weekend! More like an overnight bag haha). You cut the plastic the same size as your bottom, remove the seam allowances, and make a fitted sleeve to cover it. I like that it’s removable because now I can roll the duffel up if I need to. As far as sourcing plastic – I ended up buying it on Amazon. The EZ Quilting Template Plastic is 18″ x 24″, which I needed (anything sold at a craft store is usually 12×12) for the base. It’s quite a bit flimsier than what I wanted – I doubled up and bought two, but it’s still not as rigid as my Weekender. Still, it’s better than nothing. Plus, I have quite a bit left that I can use for bra pattern templates, yay!

So, in case you couldn’t tell – this bag is pretty big. Like, I could probably squish myself into it if I tried hard enough:

Portside Travel Set

But, like I said – it folds down pretty flat for storage (or putting in a suitcase, which is what I usually do – then I have a bag for all the fabric I buy hahahahaha):

Portside Travel Set

Anyway, I’m happy to check this off my to-do list – and I can’t wait to put it to good use! It’ll definitely come in handy for my trip to Philly at the end of this month. Now I guess I just need to start looking for a new suitcase – mine is starting to give signs of wearing out (wires poking out, the zipper is struggling, corners are threadbare – I told you it was old! And very well-used πŸ˜‰ ).

Portside Travel Set

Just look at that unintentional print-matching. If that doesn’t make you want to run out and SEW ALL THE DUFFLES, then I don’t even know who you are anymore.

** Note: All fabrics for this project were provided to be as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network. Notions and pattern were purchased by me!


75 Responses to “Completed: The Portside Travel Set”

  1. honeyhistitches January 22, 2015 at 8:15 am #

    Amazing! Just what I need to do too! I love the fabrics you’ve chosen!

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

      Thank you! I gotta say, it’s pretty satisfying to say you’ve made your own soft luggage πŸ™‚

  2. sewlittletimeblog January 22, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    i love this – you have totally sold me on this pattern! i really need a new weekend bag!

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

      Make one! They are reeeeally fun! πŸ˜€

  3. suzanne January 22, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    Inspiring! I love the top view in the last photo. If my hubby hadn’t just bought me a new suitcase… (But I’d love to have a matching set like this). Excellent work, and thanks for the details.

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

      But but… don’t you need a soft bag for your weekend trips? For shoving in said new suitcase in case you find the fabric shop of your dreams while on vacation? For the cat to sleep on when it’s stored under the bed? πŸ™‚ haha!

      • suzanne January 23, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

        You are right, of course. And this is sooo much nicer than the practical roller board. And last week, rather than take it to New Orleans, I pulled out my old gym bag. But the time, the time? When can I? (Yes, on my list of to dos now).

  4. Skarlett January 22, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    I love it!! Perfect colours! πŸ˜‰

  5. Rochelle New January 22, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    I’ll probably get an eyeroll for saying this but my favorite part of the whole set are the little leather zipper pulls lol!! They’re so cute!! Plus they’re my favorite color and they add a super professional touch to everything. Yeah the fabric is awesome, and the print matching is impressive, …but those zipper pulls, man πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

      No eyeroll from me! The zipper pulls are one of my favorite parts too. They just look so polished… not to mention ADORABLE!

  6. Marie January 22, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    Gorgeous set -love that blue. I’ve bought some very similar canvas polka dot to make a Colette Albion in the next few weeks. Think blue binding is in order now πŸ™‚ …and some luggage to boot!

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

      Yeeeahhh!!! Match your luggage to your coat, I love it! πŸ™‚

  7. sewfrancie January 22, 2015 at 8:37 am #

    I adore this set! I need some matching luggage pieces like this. I love the fabrics you chose. That blue is screaming my name. I think the best part about having brightly colored luggage is that if you fly with it, baggage claim will be a cinch!

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:42 pm #

      That’s assuming I’m brave enough to check it! I’ve heard stories of handmade bags like this disappearing o_O hahaha

  8. Amanda January 22, 2015 at 8:44 am #

    Oh man, your whole set is so cute! Unintentional print matching for the win!
    I made the full set in December as a Christmas gift, and found the same as you- something didn’t match up with the Dopp kit. My zips were also really chunky, so I had to add tabs at each end and cut them short, they made the seams really wonky otherwise. I totally thought about using the Any Butler Weekender base idea, too, but never got around to it – maybe next time. I’m thinking of making matching sets as a wedding gift, plus a set for myself, so there’ll definitely be a next time. At least one may need to have a grey suede bottom half.

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

      Woah, you made one as a gift!? You’re such a nice person! Making this as future gifts crossed my mind, but only briefly once I started sewing/sourcing the notions. It’s quite an undertaking, or at least it was for me hahaha πŸ™‚

  9. Andie L. January 22, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    I love this set. I keep looking at it and thinking I should buy it and make it. I need a duffle bag. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your wonderful review of it.

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

      I thought the same thing ever since Jen released it last year. My advice – just do it! It’s a fun little change from clothing making, and so useful πŸ™‚

  10. Natalie January 22, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    The whole is really sweet, the fabrics all compliment each other well! I like the idea of using suede for bags, never thought of that before but it really appeals to me! *noted down for next bag project* I would love to put something like this on my to do list for making. We needed a duffle bag at short notice and couldn’t find any for less than $50 in the stores around us. We ended up buying the cheapest one and I still sigh when we use it because it’s ugly. I might just make my own now!

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

      Oh yeah! I’ve been looking for an excuse to use that suede for quite a while now, glad I finally found one πŸ™‚ You should totally make one – ain’t nobody got time to carry ugly duffel bags πŸ™‚

  11. Miss Celie January 22, 2015 at 9:57 am #

    I don’t know what size you needed. But, I’ve bought from To make dog leashes and collars πŸ™‚ And, I think they also sell swivel hooks too. Or, I got those on Etsy. I can’t remember…

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

      Ahh, that’s so good to know! Will keep this in mind for my next duffel bag makin’ needs πŸ™‚

  12. Inclement January 22, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    Lovely luggage! I also want to thank you for the brilliant idea of splitting up the Lurk My Closet section – just noticed that – now it loads without my laptop choking half to death! πŸ˜€

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

      Woohoo, you’re so welcome! I’ve been meaning to split that page for ages (it kills my computer too, WAY too many imagines), but I couldn’t figure out how to do it so I just ignored it for like 3 years haha. It’s a lot more manageable now for sure πŸ™‚

  13. Seifenblasenoptimistin January 22, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    the bags awe really wonderful, i need this for my own πŸ™‚

  14. Candie January 22, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    You are amazingly talented! Thanks for this, am getting ready to make a fold down bag myself.

  15. Michelle January 22, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    This is a great set! I love the fabric and the hardware you chose!

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

      Thank you! I’m glad I stuck it out for the hardware, I like it a lot better than the shiny nickel plated stuff πŸ™‚

  16. Elizabeth Amy Hajek January 22, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    Bag notions – every time I wear out a bag, I don’t throw it away, I cut out all the notions – D rings, zippers, anything salvageable! It might be worth lurking the purse sections at thrift stores for cheap worn out purses to rescue notions from.

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

      I thought about saving the notions from my busted duffel, but honestly, they were REALLY cheap and crappy – not to mention the wrong color metal for what I had in mind (but mostly, they were just shitty. If they hadn’t been so shitty, I would have made them work haha). That’s a good point to lurk thrift stores, though! Love recycling whenever i can πŸ™‚

  17. Alice January 22, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    Very nice! Thank you for the construction notes, too πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

      You’re so welcome πŸ™‚

  18. UtaC January 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    This is beautiful..That’s all I can say. And that you are super super talented.. these are like store bought…I dreammmmmmmm …:)

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

      Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

  19. Lusty January 22, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    I love the fabrics you chose. And those bags are awesome!

  20. Kelly January 22, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    I love the combinations of fabric you chose, they all look great! I was eyeing up your zipper tag thinking it was the goldhawk road stuff. I did have to google what a dopp bag was though, never heard that term before! I’ve been really tempted to make this set, but sourcing the hardware puts me off…

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

      Haha I’d never heard of a dopp kit either, but I like the way it sounds way better than toiletry bag πŸ™‚ As far as sourcing hardware – I saw a lot of it while I was in London! (I can’t remember the name of the shop, but Fiona could tell you since she was with me when I found it) I just didn’t buy any because it cost about the same as it does here… except there’s an exchange rate on top of it. Wouldn’t be a bad deal for you, though πŸ™‚

      • LinB January 30, 2015 at 11:35 am #

        Dopp kits are like Xerox and Ping Pong: name brands that have entered the lexicon as generic terms. I think that Dopp is still in business … well, sort of. Buxton bought them, still use the brand name Dopp.

  21. Meghan January 22, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    Oh man this makes me want to go out and sew luggage. My husband needs a new Dopp kit anyways. Somebody stole his, who does that?! Anyways, great fabric choice!

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

      What, are you serious? Hahaha that’s so fucked up (like… maybe they needed it more than he did? but WHYYY? Omg my mind is so boggled right now hahahaha). You should totally make him a new one… and embroider his name across the front, so anyone stealing it will have to also steal his name πŸ™‚

  22. sewcookgardenrepeat January 22, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    I didn’t know that I wanted to sew a duffel bag until right now. πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD January 22, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

      Dooo it! Join the Handmade Luggage Club πŸ˜‰

  23. trudy mae January 22, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    oh man, I’ve been eyeing this pattern for a while! I still use the duffel bag I made in 7th grade home ec hahaha xD
    yours came out awesome, I lovelovelove turquoise and gray together!

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2015 at 7:34 am #

      Sounds like you’re due for a new duffel πŸ˜‰ haha!

  24. Jen January 22, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

    We actually just updated the bag for the print version to read Fabric A and Fabric B instead of Self & Contrast to clear up confusion after customer feedback, the PDF should be updated shortly as well. I also am not totally sure what’s gone wrong with the ends matching up on the Dopp. Some people have problems and some don’t. My assistant Kendra is pretty sure it was due to a notch being too close to center and people attaching the almost square edge pieces the wrong way round so that they are a bit off. We’ve fixed that notch so hopefully that ends any further problems.

    That said, love your bag, and yeah those tabs are beyond adorable in that color πŸ˜‰

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2015 at 7:37 am #

      Jen, this is why I love your patterns so much (and you, for that matter!). Thank you so much for this clarification. I think you’re right about the notch with the dopp kit – I find it really hard to believe it’s a drafting error, because I know how much testing your patterns go through. Glad to hear it’s been updated!

  25. Heather M January 22, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

    Another winner! If I make one anywhere near that handsome, I’ll have to update my travel wardrobe to go with it…..#)

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2015 at 7:38 am #

      You say that like it’s a bad thing! πŸ˜‰

  26. Kat @ House of Lane January 22, 2015 at 11:12 pm #

    Every time I see this pattern I want to make it. Your version is no exception. I love the faux suede. I might have to see if I can find something like that here.

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2015 at 7:39 am #

      I think that sounds like the universe is giving you a sign that you need new luggage πŸ™‚ And yes, I totally recommend the faux suede. Gives the bag such a nice polished look πŸ™‚ Plus it’s fun to cut hahahaha πŸ™‚

  27. Nicole Devlin January 23, 2015 at 2:51 am #

    The only thing that would be more awesome right now is wheels- a duffle bag on wheels that is handmade would be the bomb-diggity (I say this only because I know how heavy I pack my bags to be- LOL). Great job, great color combo!

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2015 at 7:40 am #

      Dude, if I could have figured out a way to make this a wheeled duffel, I would have been TOTALLY all over that shit! I saw a bunch of those in Paris (you know, while shopping for a replacement suitcase after I busted my duffel haha) and I was so tempted.

  28. Daisy January 23, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    Hi. We used to be lj friends and I’ve been wondering about you. Glad to see you’re doing well.:)

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2015 at 11:59 am #

      Hey girl! Yeah, I fell off the lj platform awhile ago, although I miss keeping up with everyone. How have you been??

  29. LinB January 23, 2015 at 11:46 am #

    Yay for self-sewn soft luggage! It’s worth taking the time to scout thrift stores for used suitcases. We scored four pieces of Hartmann leather-and-tweed luggage in excellent shape for less than $20 last week. Looks to be from the 70s or 80s, very roomy and quite sturdy. Were I a murderer, I could stuff you inside suitcase #3, inside suitcase #2, inside suitcase #1 and still have room for shoes and toiletries.

    • LLADYBIRD January 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

      I’ve been watching the thrifts for a good set of luggage for his exact reason, but I haven’t found any leather yet. Jealous of your score! I love the older luggage; it always seems to hold up and wear better than the newer stuff (plus, it’s a HELLUVA lot cheaper!).

      • LinB January 27, 2015 at 10:26 am #

        Us, too — Dear Husband is a traveling salesman. He can sure tear up some luggage. Thrifting advice: Keep your eyes open, and try looking behind the evening gowns … that’s where we found this set. I think someone else had stashed it there to come back for, later. Mwa ha ha ha ha.

  30. Katie Emma January 23, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    Fabulous travel set! I made the dopp and had the same problem with the pieces not fitting together, glad it wasn’t just me. I am planning on making a whole set for myself but was being lazy about sourcing materials – thanks for the link for the webbing!

  31. Divia January 23, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    Absolutely fab!! And you’re right! It does make me wanna run out and make one… even though I don’t need it… Lol. Love all your stuff!!

  32. Margo January 23, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

    I love these!!! Yes it does make me want to see my own. Impressive as always!

  33. odetosew January 25, 2015 at 4:42 pm #

    Amazing job on these bags! They look store bought and very well made. I’m blown away by your talent!

    • Ellen January 26, 2015 at 6:38 am #

      I love your new luggage! Having made many tote bags and purses I’ve found that plastic canvas also works well for the bottoms. Joann’s has it on their site @ 13×22 inches.

  34. lucy January 26, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

    This is a beautiful travel set. Great job and perfect fabric choice.

  35. Mia January 29, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    Absolutly fabulously travel set.

  36. Kim April 3, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    I’ve had my eye on this pattern for awhile now…

    Is the Dopp kit lined (in the pattern) or did you add that yourself?

    I also got my webbing from A Graff on Etsy. But, has a lot of options in other fabrics (nylon and seatbelt webbing for example). – lots of quality solid stainless and brass here. You’re paying a premium though but good stuff!

    I buy my YKK zippers from either (also on Amazon and Etsy), or is another fab source for zippers, with bulk discounts.

    I’m not affiliated with any of these links.

    I’ve used peel & stick tiles (peel & stick together & cut to size) for bag bottoms similar to what you’ve done so my bags aren’t floppy.

    I was reading others’ reviews on this pattern and their comments that they would use shorter zippers on the main bag and Dopp kit next time around (to leave room for tabs on zipper ends). Would you agree?

    It our bags are spectacular. Nice fabric!

    • Kim April 3, 2016 at 10:25 am #

      *your* bags are spectacular. Darn auto correct!

    • LLADYBIRD April 4, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

      Thank you! It’s been a while since I made my bag, so my memory isn’t the greatest, but I don’t recall the zippers being too long. Whatever size I bought (that is, whatever the pattern required) was perfect for both the bag and the Dopp kit. And the pattern does include pieces/instructions for lining the Dopp kit.

      That is a REALLY good idea to use peel and stick tiles for bag bottoms! I am going to have to try that next time!

      • Kim April 5, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

        I’m glad you mentioned about the self & accent fabric because like you, I had assumed that the “self” fabric would be the top fabric and the bottom was the accent piece. Now I have to go back and re-measure my fabric to be sure I have enough. I even asked on another blog because she called the top fabric “accent” and I thought she got it confused. Silly me.


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