Last fall my husband and I went away on a week-long vacation. We’d been planning for forever because it was for our 10th wedding anniversary. As I was packing, last minute of course, I realized it might be nice to have a large beach bag to use while we were there. Quite a few of the bags I’ve made so far would do nicely – but of course I needed to make something new! #sewallthebags

Enter the book Handmade Style from my favorite bag blogger, Noodlehead. I treated myself to a copy last year and it’s gorgeous. So many great project, clear illustrations and pattern pieces. Anna’s bags are simple, and perfect for showcasing your favorite fabrics. I’ve made so many of her projects I can’t list them all, but I think my favorite is my first Cargo Duffle.

Of course it was last-minute (as usual) and I auditioned fabrics from my stash. Heading to the fabric store afterwards to buy vinyl and a metal zipper. The fabric came from Warp and Weft a few years ago. I had grand plans of turning it into a quilt, but the bright colours looked perfect for the beach! The prints makes me think of elaborate tiles, which lead to piecing them as simple patchwork with some straight line quilting. I maybe should have quilted it 1/4″ on either side of the seams to add to the tile look. What do you think?

I added a fancy turn-closure to one of the open outside pockets, so it was a bit more secure to use on the plane. It’s a little nerve-wracking to cut a hole in the side of a finished piece. Yikes! #holdyourbreath Thankfully it came out straight. In fact, I’m pretty happy with the whole bag! Only thing I don’t like is the zipper tape width. The handles are added in directly beside the tape at the top of the bag, which makes for very little room and sometimes the zipper catches on the handles. Next time I would use a wider zipper, or add some width with fabric before sewing it in.

As far as the instructions, they were great too. And the bag is a good size. Over-sized for sure, but not too big to carry. Great for holding road-trip snacks or even to use as an overnight bag for the kids. It’s so big that I really didn’t need that much room for our plane trip, with just my husband and I. Of course, it would be a different story if the kids had come with us. Maybe I would have needed two of them!

In the end, I didn’t use it on the beach. The bag turned out fancier than I imagined, kind of by accident. The vinyl, fussy closure and pieced quilted body really dressed it up. Who would want to get that sandy? No problem – I filled in the gap with a souvenir bag from the gift shop – because I also needed to remember where we went, right?!

Have you made anything from the Handmade Style book?