Project Design Team Wednesday~Retro Travel Bag

Posted by administrator on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Hi there!!! I'm Melissa Mortenson of the Polkadot Chair blog and fourteen may sewing patterns.  I'm so excited to share with you this tutorial for my Retro inspired travel bag.....
did you notice... it's made from Laminated Chevron Fabric???? Oh- be still my heart love that laminated fabric!  I combined it with my new favorite fabric line, Millie's Closet!! 
*UPDATE: Click HERE for the corrected tutorial :) 
Just a note this project is an intermediate/advanced level... mostly because of the laminate and the interior lining.  It would be a great one to tackle if you're looking to hone your sewing skills. It will also give you a great reason to use some of those feet that came with your sewing machine!
**edited:  I apologize but there was a mistake in the measurements - the corrected measurements are below- if you have previously printed out this pattern, make sure you check that you have the updated version **
Here's what you need to make it:
1 yard of laminated cotton fabric
1/2 yard each of 3 different prints for the lining - I used Millie's Closet
Fusible Fleece
Heavy weight sewn in interfacing (I used decor bond and didn't heat set it)
1/4 yard Timtex or Peltex - get whichever one is only fusible on one side.
26" parka zipper- very important it must separate
2 packages of piping
2 packages of extra wide double fold bias tape
2 purchased purse handles
Teflon Foot
Cording Foot
Zipper Foot
Walking Foot
(most except the walking foot probably came with your machine, look in the box)
Spray Paint (if you want your handles red)
Piece of extra interfacing or heavy tissue paper or newsprint to make a pattern piece
Basting Spray
4 2" pieces of 1" wide ribbon
The first thing you need to do is make a pattern piece for your bag.
Start with a rectangle that is 22" wide by 12" tall.  Measure in 2" from each side of the top corners and place a mark.
Draw a line connecting the 2" mark to the bottom corner.
Cut off extra.
Use a CD to round each of the 4 corners of your bag.
This is the pattern piece you will use for your bag, bag lining and inside pocket pieces
Using your pattern piece, cut out 2 pieces from your bag outside fabric.  You will notice that I cut this in a different direction than normal- I wanted the chevrons to go across the bag.  Don't worry about the grain of the fabric at this point.
Next loosely cut a piece of heavyweight interfacing to about 1" bigger than your pattern piece.  It doesn't need to be exact you'll trim it in a bit.
Spray baste the bag front to your interfacing piece. This will help keep it from sliding as you sew the layers together. Add a few pins just to be safe. (If you are not using laminate fabric, you could just iron the interfacing to the fabric, I just didn't want it to wrinkle my laminate)
Using a piping/cording foot (or sometimes a zipper foot will work) stitch your piping to the edge of the bag. The raw edge of the piping will be lined up with the raw edge of the bag.  
For this step I find it easiest to pin as I go rather than to pin the piping all down at once.
After you have sewn the piping to the outside of the bag, trim the interfacing.
Repeat for other bag piece.
Next the zipper:
Cut 2 pieces of laminate fabric to 3" wide by 27" long 
Cut 2 pieces of lining fabric to 3" wide by 27" long
Cut 8 pieces of contrast fabric to 3" long by 3" wide
(this step not shown because I messed up the first time *wink*)
Sew the 3" x 3" piece of fabric to the ends of each of the 2 laminate 27" pieces and the 2 lining 27" pieces.
Now with your zipper separated take one part of the zipper (I find it helpful to mark the top right side of the zipper while working).  Pin the right side of one side of the zipper to the right side of the laminate piece of fabric.  Pin right side of the the lining piece to the wrong side of the zipper.
The zipper should be approx the same length as your 27" pieces- the 3" tabs should be hanging off the ends. (see photo below)
Stitch with your zipper foot the lining to the laminate fabric.  It's helpful to move the zipper pull out of your way as you sew.
Repeat for the other side.  Fold under and press the raw edges of the tab pieces that are facing the zipper.  Top stitch so that you don't have a raw edge any more.
Zip your zipper to make sure it works. 
Measure your piece, it should be 6" wide.  If it's not adjust the width of the next piece you cut.
From laminate fabric cut a piece 
6" wide by 28" long 
Cut a piece of interfacing the same size and baste to 6" x 28" long piece, now called your bag bottom piece.
Stitch one end of the bag bottom to your zipper piece.  Top stitch. Leave the other end open for now. (you will eventually have a big circle piece)
Find the center of the top of one of your bag pieces and mark it with a pen.  
Find the center of your zipper piece and mark it with a pen.
Matching centers begin pinning bag piece to zipper piece, right sides together.
When you get to the other side (the part of the bag bottom not attached to the zipper piece) go ahead and stitch the bag bottom to the other side of the zipper piece.  Finish pinning and stitch zipper piece/bag bottom to bag.
Here's a tip to make your piping look great on the outside.  You know that stitching line you made to attach the piping the first time? Just sew right on top of that same stitching line. That way you know that your piping will be in the right spot. I recommend using a cording foot for this step.
Mark the center of your other bag piece.  Pin it to the other side of the zipper piece and stitch as you did in the previous step.  You should now have a completed outside bag.  Clip rounded corners.
To make tabs to attach the purse handles.
Cut 8 pieces of fabric to 2" x 2.5".  I chose to fussy cut the purses from the Millie's Closet fabric. If you are fussy cutting you can change the size of your tabs to fit, the size is not that important.
Cut 4 pieces of heavy weight interfacing (I used fusible for this step)
Fuse interfacing to the back of 4 of the 8 fabric pieces.
Place 2 fabric pieces (one fused and one not) right side together and sew around 3 sides, leaving the top open.
Clip corners.
Turn right side out and press.
Turn under the top seam (un sewn seam) 1/4" and press but do not sew it yet.
Cut a piece of ribbon to 2".  Fold in half and stuff down the tab, so that about 1/2" is showing above.
The placement of the tabs on the bag will depend on the handles you choose. Pin the tabs to the bag 3/4" down from the piping and lined up so the handle will be in the center.  
Stitch around 4 sides of tab, double stitching over the top piece.  The ribbon should now be secured in the tab. Do not attach handles yet.
To make the bag lining:
Cut 6" x 28" piece of fabric for lining bag bottom.
Cut a piece of timtex 5" x 26".  Center the timtex in the bag bottom piece. (you will have 1/2" of fabric on the long sides and 1" of fabric on the short sides not covered by timtex). 
Using your walking foot on your machine, quilt straight lines through the timtex/fabric.
Using your pattern piece cut:
2 bag lining pieces
2 pieces from fusible fleece
2 bag pocket pieces (simply fold down the pattern piece to make the piece the desired height for your pocket in your bag)
1 fusible fleece the same size as the bag pocket.
Iron fusible fleece onto each bag lining piece. Using a walking foot on your machine, quilt straight lines in both pieces.
Iron fusible fleece onto one of the pocket pieces. Place the 2nd pocket piece behind so that the wrong sides of the fabric are together.  Quilt straight lines.
Using a piece of double fold bias tape finish the top edge of the pocket piece.
Place pocket piece onto of one of your bag lining pieces and baste in place. If desired stitch lines into the pocket to divide pocket.
Okay, here's where things get tricky... just go slow and you will be fine.
Find the center bottom of your bag lining bottom piece, mark it on both sides.
Find the center bottom of your 2 bag pieces mark it.
Pin one of your bag pieces to your bag lining bottom piece, right sides together.  Match the centers, it's very important.
Stitch bag lining bottom to bag piece.
 START stitching where the timtex is, and finish stitching where the timtex ends on the other side of the bag bottom. You will not be stitching through the timtex (that's why it's 1/2" short on the sides, it's too bulky to fit in a seam).    You will have approx 1" of fabric on each side of the bag bottom piece that is not attached to the bag.
Repeat with the other bag lining piece. Again, make sure you match your centers.
Clip curves.
Now turn your bag outside piece inside out and your bag lining piece right side out (or so that the fabric is showing and not the fusible fleece) Your bag/bag lining should be wrong sides together.
Slip your bag outside piece into your bag lining piece.  Match centers and curves.
Pin well.
Once again stitch along your previous stitching lines to ensure that your piping on the outside looks good.
Stitch from the bag bottom piece around the top down to the other side of the bag bottom piece.  You'll leave that 1" of fabric on the bag bottom lining NOT sewn down.
Repeat for other side. You now have a completed bag, just with some raw edges.
To cover the raw edges, use double fold bias tape. (mine was 1/2" folded over).  Pin the bias tape OVER the raw edge and stitch down.
To do this I found the following helpful:
-use a cording foot
-new sewing needle
-go slow
-hand stitch down trouble spots
Leave about 1" of bias on each end not sewn down.
To finish the bag, fold down the 1" piece of fabric (on your bag bottom lining piece that does not have timtex behind it). Pin it to the bag and hand stitch the bag opening closed.  Stuff the ends of your bias tape into this little flap and hand stitch them in place also.
Attach your handles according to the directions for the handles (I spray painted mine red!)
YOU ARE DONE!! Just turn the bag right side out!
post signature

Thanks Melissa!
SOOO cute and perfect timing for the
summer travel season:) 

Please visit her at: 

Don't forget to visit next Wednesday for another great project! 

Oh and don't forget to enter our Doodlebug twine/RBD Fat Quarter giveaway! CLick HERE to read all about it:) 


Category: Project Design Team Wednesday


  1. HOLY FREAKING FABULOUS BAG, BATMAN! Omg. I'm seriously in love with this bag!
    by Bree
    May 02nd, 2012 at 9:33 a.m.
  2. This is an amazing project! I love the laminate, and how you gave it body. I'm going to have to give this a go!! xoxo
    by Amy Chappell
    May 02nd, 2012 at 9:45 a.m.
  3. So cute...I could tell it was your project just by the photos. Everything you do is just darling.
    by liZ@SimpleSimon
    May 02nd, 2012 at 9:47 a.m.
  4. What a cute project! I just love it. Any tips on where to find parka zippers?
    by Amanda
    May 02nd, 2012 at 10:02 a.m.
  5. Where did you get your fabric and handles at?
    by Jennifer TAylor
    May 02nd, 2012 at 10:22 a.m.
  6. HOLY COW, Melissa! That is gorgeous in everyway.
    by Becky @ Ucreate Crafts
    May 02nd, 2012 at 11:15 a.m.
  7. This is super cute. I just received a yard in each color. LOVE the RB laminates and this bag is just awesome!
    by Cindy@liveacolorfullife
    May 02nd, 2012 at 12:51 p.m.
  8. Ouha this bag is biewtiful ! Thank you for sharing !!!
    by Laure
    May 02nd, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.
  9. I love this SO MUCH! And when I saw Millie's Closet on the inside - it was like finding the cereal prize right at the top of inside the box! Beautiful bag, beautiful fabrics - I'm itching to make this!
    by happy zombie
    May 02nd, 2012 at 7:28 p.m.
  10. Wow. I have just purchased some laminated fabric. NOW I know!! I would LOVE to make your purse !!
    by Rose E. Glasses
    May 02nd, 2012 at 9:03 p.m.
  11. I wish I could just purchase one from you.....probably not though? I'm willing too though....
    by Demeri
    May 02nd, 2012 at 10:54 p.m.
  12. I have never learned to sew but would love to have one of these bags. How can I get one?
    by angie
    May 03rd, 2012 at 8:02 a.m.
  13. where is the fabric from?!?
    by ellen patton
    May 03rd, 2012 at 8:51 a.m.
  14. Melissa - This is why I adore you. Everything you do is FABULOUS!! Great job!
    by Kristyn
    May 03rd, 2012 at 11:10 a.m.
  15. I'm going on my honeymoon in September and I've been looking for the perfect carry-on bag for the plane. OBSESSED WITH THIS BAG! Do you have an etsy store that you sell these on? Or would anybody else be willing to make me one and sell it to me? I don't sew nor do I know anybody that sews. I can beg or bribe if I need to :)
    by Claire
    May 03rd, 2012 at 2:16 p.m.
  16. My email is if anybody really would make this for me!
    by Claire
    May 03rd, 2012 at 2:18 p.m.
  17. I can't sew very well so I can't make this!!!! But I would buy one! Do you sell them?
    by Noelle c
    May 03rd, 2012 at 5:50 p.m.
  18. If Melissa is not making and selling this bag, I would be willing to do it. I used to make handbags and sell them, pre- children ( I have 4) but I am now getting back into sewing them again. If It is alright w / Melissa, I won't step on toes, I would love to make some of these. I am trying to find the fabric that she used, cuz I too LOVED this bag. E-mail me if interested and I can send pix of bags of made. Thanks
    by Lanell Rostad
    May 03rd, 2012 at 6:47 p.m.
  19. I am sew all over this...what a delightful purse/bag//I seldom carry bags..but this one...oh yes I would
    by mdm samm
    May 04th, 2012 at 7:24 a.m.
  20. Very nice!
    by Hiren Modi
    May 04th, 2012 at 7:28 a.m.
  21. I wonder if you can use Oilcloth instead of the laminated fabric. I love this bag, and really need to make myself and my grand daughter one for our up coming cruise. (I am 60 and the grand daughter is 11.) They will be different colors. =) I love, love, love this!
    by Debbie J
    May 04th, 2012 at 9:27 a.m.
  22. i like this! a whoooole lot!
    by amber
    May 04th, 2012 at 5:07 p.m.
  23. This is sooo adorable and is EXACTLY what I am looking for to take to the beach! I cannot wait to try this pattern this weekend!
    by Holli
    May 04th, 2012 at 8:20 p.m.
  24. This is my next bag! i love it and can't wait to get started! Thanks Melissa for your work!
    by Tracy VT
    May 05th, 2012 at 4:45 a.m.
  25. I want this bag! I can't sew, but would buy it! for whoever is making them~
    by Jamie Harrington
    May 06th, 2012 at 1:57 a.m.
  26. Wow, this is a fabulous bag! I would love to try this pattern when ive brushed up my sewing skills.
    by Jessica Reyes
    May 07th, 2012 at 5:03 p.m.
  27. This is SO cute. Love, love, love it!! Thanks for sharing!
    by Andrea @ TheTrainToCrazy
    May 08th, 2012 at 2:03 p.m.
  28. I want to BUY this bag....can anyone make one just like this one? message me if you can!! thanks!!
    by Leanna
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:58 a.m.
  29. Love the bags! Can't wait to create one.
    by Mary
    May 16th, 2012 at 12:14 p.m.
  30. I made this bag the weekend before Mother's Day. It is awesome. I had to adjust it a bit as I made it with the incorrect measurements, but thankful I sorta have enough skills that I could just go with it. I am definitely thinking about making another one. Awesome pattern! Thanks so much for sharing!
    by Tiffany
    May 16th, 2012 at 8:47 p.m.
  31. I love this bag!! I have a favorite laminated raincoat that I've saved for many years just waiting for the perfect project-this is it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    by Bethanne
    May 18th, 2012 at 5:14 p.m.
  32. really really nice bag... i loved it...
    by nunuk
    May 19th, 2012 at 3:40 a.m.
  33. OMGosh! I love this bag and will totally buy it if someone makes one! I am going to email the other lady who said she makes or made bags before! BEAUTIFUL!!
    by Jenny Sellars
    May 19th, 2012 at 7:43 p.m.
  34. Wow! I love this bag!! Thanks for the tutorial :)
    by Terrie
    May 21st, 2012 at 2:04 p.m.
  35. Love this bag!!!! Do you sell these also I hope?!
    by Katie
    June 02nd, 2012 at 3:32 p.m.
  36. Love this a whole lot! Would buy one definitely!! Email Me at alicatwhitener@
    by Allison
    June 09th, 2012 at 1:24 a.m.
  37. I would love to purchase one of these!
    by MistyBlue
    June 23rd, 2012 at 8:47 p.m.
  38. Hi Riley Blake! I <3 this tutorial and would love to feature it (and some of your others on May I have your permission? Please drop me a line and let me know. Thanks! Caroline
    by Caroline
    June 24th, 2012 at 8:31 p.m.
  39. Awesome. I think this is just the neatest bag ever. Would be a challenge, but will definitely try to make one. Thanks for such detailed instructions.
    by Marjorie
    July 07th, 2012 at 5:48 a.m.
  40. just perfect ! I have wanted to make one of these for my first ever cruise. Cant wait to get started.
    by kanga ruby
    August 27th, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.
  41. I'm in love. But it's way out of my skill-league. How much to send me THIS one. Gorgeous colors.
    by Michele
    September 15th, 2012 at 6:33 p.m.
  42. I featured this adorable bag in my Friday Favorites round up blog post
    by Niki
    September 28th, 2012 at 3:11 p.m.
  43. Great Bag!! I'm a true Bag Lady and this might be the next one I make. Now I need to go fabric shopping again. Thanks!
    by Cindy P.
    December 15th, 2012 at 8:32 p.m.
  44. Nice tutorial, thank you very much for sharing. I would have a question though. I saw you pinned the laminate. Do not stay the little holes in it after you removed the pins? Thanks! Hi Tunde. We have not had any problems with pinning our laminates. We use our smallest size pins and holes, if any, or quite small.
    by Tunde
    January 19th, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.
  45. the only computer I can print from will not allow photobucket, so I can't see any of the pics in the tutorial and I am dying to make this bag - I LOVE IT!! is there a pdf you can send me? I would so appreciate it! I've tried to get my IT guy to open photobucket but its a big no go.
    by Stephanie
    March 04th, 2013 at 9:20 a.m.

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