I didn’t intend to make a piece of luggage when I started the HotPatterns Mega-Shopper, but in the end, that’s pretty much what I got! This is a Very Large Bag – the finished size is 16 x 7 x 12 inches.
Thank goodness for Diva Ann – I had to finish this up on her industrial machine, because my Bernina 180 just didn’t have the horsepower to sew through all the layers. And we still broke a leather needle! The end result is not even close to perfect, but I like it anyway.
There are 4 layers to this bag: The red wool twill, a canvas fused to the twill, heavy nonwoven double sided interfacing (thankfully there a use for this stuff 0utside of *gag* fabric bowls) and lightweight cotton fused to the second side of the double fusible. All of this structure the enables the bag to stand upright. The bottom of the bag is upholstery grade leather. Inside, between the leather bottom and the lining, is a piece of 1/8 inch thick Masonite with another piece of the heavy fusible glued on top to soften the surface a bit. The Masonite keeps the bag from falling over.
The inside photo shows you just how large this bag really is – I could easily carry a small dog. The original pattern had some interior pockets, and I added a few more. There is a large zipper pocket all across one interior side, two smaller pockets opposite, a gusset for a wine bottle or other tall item, and a swivel hook for my keys. In a bag this large, without the swivel, my keys would drop to the bottom like an anchor.
Aside from the challenge of such heavy materials, this bag really isn’t hard to put together, and using a lighter weight fashion fabric would make sewing much easier. One thing I will do, if I ever make something like this again, will be to sew the sides wrong sides together and just bind the edges. I noticed before I turned the bag out (which was quite a wrestling match) that the corners were nice and square. Now I know why big totes are often finished with binding. That idea, however, will require some nice leather and an industrial grade binding foot to really make it look good – a project for another time.
Ann and I will be in New York next week (stay tuned for some live blogging from the Garment District!), and I wanted a big tote for shopping. That was definitely achieved with the Mega-Shopper!