FYI, it's stuffed with a giant pillow!
I've had this pattern for quite a while, I won it as part of the Fabric Mart Fabricista competition close to three years ago. In June we'll be taking a family vacation, and I didn't have anything suitable to pack my stuff. In the last four years we haven't done anything more than a single overnight with family. The Portside should do nicely for the roughly one-week trip (more on the capsule wardrobe planning later).
This is a fairly simple pattern, but I set about making it about three times more difficult. I've always loved Andrea's version at Four Square Walls, so I decided to use faux leather (from Girl Charlee, had it for ages) and basically copy her. Trying to stick with stash fabric as much as possible, I also grabbed a lightweight striped linen that I got from a relative. The lining is a fabulous twill, leftover from a review I did for Organic Cotton Plus. The twill leant the body I needed but couldn't get from the linen. Interfacing was a medium weight fusible from my stash. Not so sure about the combination of linen and leather? Check out this J. Crew version, which costs a mere $495!
Since the fabric and pattern were all stash, I splurged a bit on hardware. As-drafted, the pattern calls for zippers, D-rings and sliders, and swivel hooks. I added rivets, snaps, and feet. All my hardware was bought online at Hardware Elf (a supplier I found somewhat at random via a comment on Andrea's blog), with the exception of the magnetic snap, which was from Jo-Ann's, and the zippers on this bag, which were stash.
Strap webbing was purchased from AGraffSupplies on Etsy, via a recommendation on Lauren Taylor's blog. I purchased zippers for the Dopp kit and the zippered pouch (pictured above), but haven't made them yet.
As I mentioned, I changed a lot of things!
Constructed my own handles
Purchased 1" strapping instead of 1 1/4" (sliders, D-rings, and hooks are 1")
Added a magnetic snap to one of the outer pockets
Added interior patch pockets
Added interior zippered pocket
Added interior elasticized pockets
Added a label
Added pull tabs
Made a removable bottom
Interfaced lining instead of outer fabric (since it was leather)
Phew! I ended up printing the directions and making copious amounts of notes between steps to accommodate my changes. I've never made a bag of this level and I ran through the process over and over to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I also labeled my pattern pieces "leather" and "linen" because they're a little confusing as-is. They simply say "self" and "contrast" and it wasn't clear which was which (hint: it's the opposite of what you think).
The handles and pull tabs (near the zipper) are made from 4 1/2" strips of faux leather tri-folded and stitched down on both vertical sides, for a final width of 1 1/2". I opted for leather straps instead of webbing, I just thought it looked nicer.
For the three types of interior pockets, I used tutorials I found on Pinterest (patch, zippered, elastic). The removable bottom didn't need much of a tutorial, it's just two additional pieces of the bottom sewn together with this heavy weight fusible in between. The feet are screw-in and required quite a bit of reinforcement as the length of my screws was a bit long. I used a second piece of fabric, with interfacing applied, as a sort of underlining to the bottom of the bag. Sandwiched between this "underlining" and the exterior bottom bag were some scraps of felted wool, to get the distance correct. The lining inside the bag covers all this construction.
I did something similar for the rivets, except that I needed to purchase a rivet-setting tool to install them. I bought this one on Amazon.
I also had to reinforce the area behind the magnetic snap. First, I interfaced it, then added more of the felted wool to get the thickness right.
The backing on the male end is covered by the bag lining. The backing on the female end is hidden because I lined that pocket, rather than simply turning down the edge and hemming per the instructions.
Pocket with snap
A few times, I leaned on the Portside Duffle sewalong at Sew News, particularly for the end steps. For the life of me, I could not figure out how to sew the bottom to the bag. Maybe to a bag maker it would be old-hat, but I'm not a bag maker, so I needed the help. I also used the sewalong for assembling the strap, since many reviewers said that they didn't understand Grainline's directions at all.
The faux leather was a huge PITA. Did I mention it's faux STRETCH leather? I cut all the pieces on the crossgrain for more stability, but I still couldn't press it or make it hold still. I ended up using quite a bit of Wash-a-way tape to force it to behave. I had to tape the bottom of my presser foot to get it to move at all on the machine. The linen also had a tendency to grow.
I had planned to use my vintage Singer sewing machine for this project, but I ended up breaking a brand new needle right before starting and thought I'd start with my Brother and switch later. Later never came. I *thought* my Brother (CS-6000i) was handling the project surprisingly well, but now that it's done, I think I might have screwed it up a bit. It's pulling left, something it's always done to some extent, but it's more exaggerated now. I did abuse it quite a bit with the stupid, sticky stretch leather. I have a new presser foot on order (mine has deep grooves on the bottom which seem to be from the feed dogs?) which hopefully will help, otherwise I have to decide about putting money into servicing it, or looking to finally upgrade from this beginner machine (which, no, does not do embroidery, hence the wonky first-grader type writing you see on my label below).
Between the huge amounts of interfacing, the faux leather struggles, the hardware setting, and all my other changes, it took probably close to two months to finish this bag. We also dealt with a crap ton of illness right in the middle. I was glad I'd taken such good notes on my steps, because I forgot them all when I was sick. Speaking of sick, I'm now tired of this thing and will likely be scrambling to finish the Dopp kit and zippered pouch right before the trip.
Despite my current never-want-to-see-it-again feelings, I must admit I love the thing. The bag is sturdy, large, and I don't think it looks homemade at all. If you saw my IG story a week or so ago, then you know a certain five year old put it through a rigorous stress test. I can't wait to pack it full of me-made clothes and take it on our trip this summer!
I received the pattern for free from Fabric Mart, and the twill lining for free from Organic Cotton Plus in exchange for a previous review. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.