Saturday, March 22, 2014

Luggage Hacking

The "personal item / purse" I've been carrying when I travel is a Thirty-One Retro Metro Weekender.  It's close to being a duffel bag in size, but the empty parts have a lovely way of squishing down to fit under an airplane seat.  :)  It will also double as a nice backrest when I'm sitting on a hard floor in a crowded airport for several hours. I didn't pay full price for it, if course.  I waited for it to become a special and then paid half price.  It's a nice canvas bag with a crazy purple paisley pattern that I adore.

It has five pockets inside, and the rest is a virtual cavern.  That can be great, if you're not trying to keep things organized, or you don't feel like digging around for the item.  I prefer to know exactly where the item is, and put my hands right on it.  

I'll admit I love bags and garments with plenty of pockets and hiding places.  I searched the internet for months and found no websites with suggestions on how to modify or "hack" a purchased piece of luggage.  

Those five pockets weren't quite enough for me. They were fairly small, and the large one gapped open annoyingly with anything heavy inside.  I corrected that problem with a bit of Velcro.

I know, I'm probably asking too much from a humble weekend bag.  Either that, or I would be a fantastic baggage designer.  :) 

Well, I wanted more pockets inside to hold things out of the way. Bigger things, such as the laminated street maps I'm taking with me to the UK.  (I just like having my bearings in an unfamiliar place rather than wandering blindly.  It's comforting.)

I did consider just safety-pinning in some large pockets made from bandannas, but that seemed a bit tacky.  I also realized that down in those deep opaque pockets, I'm bound to lose a lot of things.  I really wanted those pockets to match, and couldn't find anything that would work at the local Wal-Mart.  

Being the only local fabric source, you'd think that ole Wally World would have a less pathetic selection of fabric, but I believe they are only grudgingly supplying fabric and crafts items as it is.  

I considered lace fabric, but there was none to buy.  *sigh*. However, a trip to the laundry basket & clothes hanger section of the store turned up a simple mesh drawstring laundry bag.  You know, if you cut open the seams, something like that becomes a large piece of mesh fabric.  :D. It's lightweight and see-through, so I began sewing panels into the existing seams inside the bag.  Now the bag has several large pockets inside, and I'm a happy girl.  

I'll share pictures later when I'm finished adding pockets, because I have a couple more to add, and they have to be hand-sewn.  Thanks to my mom and my stepmother for what they taught me about sewing.  :). 

My stepmother taught me a bit of hand sewing -- mostly so that I could mark my socks and keep my sister from taking mine, but also so that I could sew on my own buttons.  My mother taught me to use a sewing machine when I was sixteen, and whenever I got a chance, I would sneak and use my stepmother's forbidden sewing machine.  Hey, I was careful!  I don't think she knew what I was doing. 

Isn't that funny? Some teenagers sneak their parents' cigarettes, or their alcohol, or even their cars and jewelry.  I was sneaking the use of a sewing machine.  Ooh, I was such a bad kid.

Actually, I had a Singer beginner's sewing machine somewhere in the house, hidden from me.  My sister and I both were given them when we were very small.  If only I had been allowed to use it, and had a few needles bought for it, I could have indulged my creative side a lot more.  Nobody but my mom really encouraged me to be creative, probably due to my tendency to be messy.  But you know how us creative types are -- we're messy geniuses.  :).  I have a ravenous desire to know how to do so many different things with my hands.  Sometimes I lose interest in things, and sometimes I become a bit manic about indulging my passions.  

So get over it, because it makes me happy.  Someday I may be able to do something more with my skills than just make gifts for people. 

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