It’s All in the Bag

Sewing Projects

The Eye of a Needle, Sewing Shop Taupo, Fabric Shop, Sewing Supplies
  • June 24, 2017

On the last overseas trip I took to Israel eighteen months ago, I made a pledge to myself that I must travel lighter. You would think that I would have learned by now. Memories of traipsing around the U.K. with a suitcase that no one else wanted to lift, as well as a good sized 7 kg ‘hand luggage’ suitcase as well as my handbag – really? Does a girl need to cart that much stuff around on a 2 week trip to the other side of the world?

So another of my challenges this week is how can I travel light?
Fortunately we are heading in to warm tropical weather, which instantly alleviates the need to pack warm coats and boots. Fortunately too, fashions are very layered these days and so two or three layers work well both from a styling and a practical perspective.

As a stylist, my challenge is that I like to dress well and I don’t like to wear the same outfit two days running. But layering works well in this situation, so I guess as long as it’s clean, who’s going to notice? I’m not going to be seeing the same people every day, and so I can switch the layers around and have enough options to change one top each day and look as fresh as a daisy!
Black items come into their own when travelling, so it’s a great colour to coordinate other items with. Since I’m not just a stylist, but also a colour consultant, I try hard to stay away from too much black when there are so many other lovely colours to choose from – I have to confess though that this trip my wardrobe consists mainly of black and white with the odd splash of red, blue and grey. Call it the ultimate capsule wardrobe. And if there aren’t enough clothes for me to wear something fresh every day, then I will just have to buy it.

My challenge will be keeping my bag under the weight limit. We have two internal flights as soon as we get to China with a maximum weight of 20kg. Fortunately it’s early on in our trip so we will hold off heavy shopping items until we hit Shanghai in our last week.

Another challenge I have been pondering has been how to find things in my carry on luggage. I have memories of grovelling around in a dark plane trying to find my toothbrush at the bottom of my back pack! This week I whipped up a couple of little bags, which I think are kind of fun, and will hopefully solve any short term dilemmas of not being able to remember where I put some necessary travel items.
I made this little green pouch out of scraps after making a cushion. It’s a new home for my groovy new headphones which fold down and all other things technical for iPhones and iPads (chargers etc). It’s soft and just the right size to squeeze into a side pocket.

According to the Lonely Planet guide it seems that there are several different electrical plugs you can use in China, so we took the plunge and bought a universal kit which has one plug for USA, one for UK, another for Europe and several others which plug in to a universal adaptor. Ironically the kit is made in China, and there is no actual plug for China, so here’s hoping one of the ones in this kit actually works there. My son tells me that NZ plugs usually work, so hopefully it’s not a complete waste of time. Anyway I had fun playing around on my ‘scan and cut’ machine and made a stencil using the word ‘plugs’. If you have a really close inspection, you might be able to see that my first attempt at printing the stencil on to the fabric ended up being upside down, so I had to camouflage it with some pretty hexagon templates…and once I started sewing them on, I couldn’t help myself and just kept going. I think I will remember that this little bag is for plugs, and it hardly needs a signpost! In hindsight I could have ditched the ‘plugs’ stencil all together and just sewn on a few flowers. But it was fun being creative and I quite enjoyed the process which kind of evolved as I went along.

I like making little bags like this. They can be lined with a few scrap strips sewn together so all it takes really is a bit of time, a zip, and some batting. I plan to sew up more of these bags once I return from my travels, as they are an easy project to pull together in the evening, Hopefully I can use some unique China fabrics. If you like the sound of this and would like to have one for yourself or one to give away, please let me know what your favourite colours are and I will make one for you for $25 + P&P. I think most colours work well against the neutral ‘drop cloth’ fabric, especially once a simple floral is added and highlighted with a quilting stitch. The lining isn’t seen much but you can add all sorts of embellishments that match what’s inside the bag if you want to. We are hoping to source a few crafty kinds of embellishments while we travel in China, which may include handles and accessories – another reason why we need to travel lightly to our destination as the bags may be slightly heavier on our return!

We are always looking for new ideas and love the downloads we are getting as we pull together our online shop. There’s a bit of work to do with setting up systems before we leave. I love the way we are being directed and how the vision is coming together. It is NOTHING LIKE what I originally saw, and yet it is EVERYTHING that I imagined, only better. That’s the cool thing about working with the Lord. We are simply called to manage, govern and administrate His ideas as we seek him for wisdom and wise counsel and direction. It’s challenging and fun all at once. And when you are creative it doesn’t feel like work at all.


  • Fiona

    Fabulous, Id be interested in these but wondered if you can make is square as when I travel for work I put my oils & bathroom stuff in a basket so if I had one of these that I could just lift out it it would be fantastic, colors well anything but purple, pink or kaki green…I like what you have done so be happy with that 🙂 Have an amazing trip & Im sure the plans will unfold as you step out. Have fun & be inspired 🙂

  • Kay

    I have a pattern for a ‘square’bag so I will play around with it when we get back from our travels