Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside!

I'm off on my holidays on Monday - and I. Can. Not. Wait! My boyfriend and I are jetting off to Kuala Lumpur and then touring around Thailand for three weeks. I have been before and I also grew up in Indonesia, so I have quite an affinity to Asia. But this will be the furthest my man has travelled and the first time in Asia - so I will be tour guide for the three weeks (the poor soul doesn't realise yet that I have organised out Bangkok sightseeing around all the best fabric shops!).

I've been busy trying to organise my wardrobe for the three weeks - much harder than it sounds. I'm taking a rucksack rather than suitcase, so space is at a premium. And because we are doing so many different activities (City break, jungle trekking, beach hol, scuba diving) it's hard to get the right balance. I think the key is to pick a colour scheme and work everything around that. Mine has turned out to be Red, White, Blue and Black.

My other issue was my hand luggage bag. I didn't want anything too big, as it would be cumbersome while walking from place to place with my rucksack on my back. After trailing the shops unsuccessfully, I decided I should just try and make something (as hinted here) - and therefore be able to tailor it to my needs....those being:
  • Zip closure (for safety)
  • The right size for hand luggage requirements
  • Easy to carry
  • Lots of pockets
  • Suitable to double up as a beach bag
  • Therefore must also be large enough to carry a big towel and other beach paraphernalia!

And so my holiday bag was born:

I pretty much made up the design - but it's really just a classic tote bag (with the pinched bottom corners) with a zip closure. Because I wanted it lined, I followed a tutorial on how to make a lined zip purse - but just scaled it up considerably! You can see from the photo below that I managed to line up the stripes pretty much perfectly (if I do say so myself!) on either side of the zip.

The straps are sewn into the base, and just over half-way up the bag for extra strength. They are made up of quite rough hessian type fabric, so I decided I needed to sew fabric onto the tops of them so that they wouldn't rub my shoulders or hands raw when carrying the bag! It ended up turning out to be one of my favourite features of the bag.

I decided to add a fun contrasting outer layer, which, when the straps were sewn down, created three pouch pockets on either side of the bag - perfect for carting your suncream and book to the beach. For neatness, I lined this strip too.

 As you can see the photo above, I didn't line up the red stripes at the sides. But you know what? I quite like it like that!

Inside the bag I made two types of pockets. On one side, I used my newly acquired skill to make a zipped pocket (learnt from making this bag) - again, super-sizing it!


And on the other side I used some left over red striped fabric to make a pouch pocket which was sewn onto the lining. I was going to divide it up into multiple pockets - but in the end it just has the top left hand corner separated into a pocket big enough for suncream, or mobile or wallet (something small basically!). I left the rest open as I'm going to be taking an A4 size folder with all my documents in it, and this fits in perfectly (it will also fit the all important glossy mags to read on the very long flight too!). It does flop open a bit though, so I put a little velcro closure on it.

Oh, I cannot wait to put this bag into use! Hot, sunny climes - here I come!


  1. It's fantastic, I love it! It looks so professional, that kind of bag in Boden would cost you at least £70. Hope you're pleased with yourself?! Enjoy your holiday. x

  2. Oh wow Jane, what an amazing compliment! Yes I am so pleased with how it turned out. Thanks again for your lovely comment :)

  3. Wow, your bag is amazing Suzie...way better than any I've seen in the shops lately! I'm also very jealous of your visit to Thailand, I spend 4 weeks travelling there after Uni and enjoyed every second! Have a great time!!!

  4. It's lovely! Small suggestion for when your hands are full and you're juggling - thread something through the end of the zipper pull and knot it (a ribbon or cord or?) so you can grab it easier.

    Have a great trip!

  5. Good idea Debbie - thanks for the tip!

    Marie - thanks for your lovely comment too. Yes, I went to Thailand after Uni too...and I've been dying to go back ever since!

  6. Whoa! What a great bag. I really like this. It does look really professional and well done. And have a great time on your adventure!

  7. Fantastic bag! Have lots of fun and maybe share some photos when you're back, especially of fabric shops :)

  8. I love your bag! it looks fantastic, i hope you both have a fantastic holiday! Great idea organising the sightseeing round the fabric shops :)


Thank you so much for your comments - they really do make my day!

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