Friday, January 9, 2015

It's a Pouch. . . It's a Cosmetic Bag. . . No!! It's a Travel Purse!

Multi Purpose bags

Last Weekend my husband and I went to Boston. There was a couple of reasons for going. First, my husband is a university professor and he was attending a conference where he was meeting with a publisher. My husband is going on sabbatical next year and this publishing company wants him to write a textbook on Agriculture and Food Policy. This was the first time they were able to meet. Second, it was a much needed respite for the both of us. It's nice to get away from everyday life and do something different.

I was looking forward to our Boston trip and a couple of months ago, I did a tutorial on some cute multi purpose bags These bags could be used in a multitude of ways without any straps such as a cosmetic bag, wallet, utility pouch, personal items, etc. Since that tutorial, I have added removable straps. These strap options really increases their functionality. Now they can become a small purse for traveling, going shopping or for anytime that you don't want to carry your everyday purse and just need a few necessities. 

Multi purpose bag with strap enhancement

So before I left for Boston,  I decided that I would make one of these bags for myself with the new enhancements and take it along with me to Boston. I wanted to test the purse's functionality and accessibility and just see how practical these bags really were when used as a small travel purse. Moreover, I didn't want to carry my big everyday purse on the plane, since I had already decided to carry on my computer and I had to carry on my CPAP machine, a medical machine for apnea and hypopnea. All that weight would have overtaxed my shoulders.  A small travel purse on the other hand would be the ideal solution. 

I began constructing my travel purse the same way as in my tutorial. I always use home decor fabric for the outside of the purse for the following reasons:

1. There's a variety of fabric designs and solid colors.
2. It's thicker and stronger than a regular cotton fabric.
3. The fabric can be washed in the washing machine and dried in the dryer.
4. You can iron it and out any wrinkles that may have occurred during the drying process to make it look like new again.
5. There is also and option to spray a chemical called ScotchGuard for Fabrics that can be sprayed on the fabric after each washing to help protect the purse from dirt and stains.

For the enhancements, I made two 3/4" (2 cm) double folded tabs about 2" long for on each side of the purse. Then I wrapped each tab around a 1" (2.54 cm) split rings and sewed them into place between the top and bottom zippers. Next I made a crossbody strap in the same way that I did the tabs. (I could have made a wrist strap, but I didn't feel it was functional enough for my needs). I decided the crossbody strap needed to be long enough so that the bag could hang down to my hips when attached. Normally, I put on swivel clasps, which have a clip at the end so the strap could be removed. However, I had ran out of them, but for my purposes it didn't matter that the strap was going to be attached permanently, or at least until I could get more clasps. 

When I had finished making it, the purse measured about 8" X 6" (20 cm X 15 cm) with the customary 3 zippers, as in the tutorial.  Now it was time to decide what items I needed to have with me in Boston. I decided I would put in my cell phone in one of zipper pockets. In another, was my car keys and some gum for traveling. In the third zipper pocket I put in some lipstick, additional business cards and a little 3" X 4" square purse that had 2 more zipper pockets that was given to me as a gift. In one of those pockets, I put in some money and the other pocket had my driver's license, debit card, insurance card and a few shop cards.  

This purse turned out to be just perfect for my needs. It was accessible and all my essentials were at my fingertips. The crossbody strap was very comfortable and I never had to worry about it slipping off my shoulder. The purse with all of the contents was very lightweight, less than a pound or a little more than a 1/3 kilo. Because of these features, I hardly took it off when I was out and about. 

In addition, this purse got a little more use than just a weekend away. My husband and I got caught in a snowstorm on our way back from Boston and our flight to Sioux Falls, SD from Chicago, which normally took about an hour, got cancelled, not once but twice. We didn't get home until late in the evening the next day. We had to get rerouted through Dallas-Fort Worth before catching our flight to Sioux Falls. However our luggage didn't come in with us. We had to wait another 3 hours for the next flight from Dallas-Forth Worth in order to retrieve it. Luckily the roads had been cleared enough for an easy 1-1/2 hour drive home.

I would have to say that after using this purse for my Boston trip, I'm not quite sure that I'm ready to go back to my everyday purse just yet.  The functionality of this purse and easy accessibility of having my basic essentials at my fingertips is what I really like about it. I don't have to fumble through my everyday purse or dump or take everything out to just find what I need.  I also like that I can remove the straps (or will be able to when I get some more clasps) and use it in a different way. In addition it's durable; comes in a variety of designs, colors and sizes; has easy care instructions and it's so Eco friendly. 

Currently in my Etsy shop,, there are a few of these bags available without the straps. I will be putting more multi purpose bags with strap options in the near future. In addition, I will be adding various fabric designs for a custom made orders and more DIY kits. The tutorial with the strap enhancements will also be available in the shop. So keep checking the shop for the latest items and don't be afraid to contact me through my shop if you have any questions. I will always get back with you. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy browsing my shop.