I’ve been in need of a travel bag for a while. I have been using an old broken and holey duffel bag we had laying around for our camping trips and I really wanted something where I wasn’t worried about stuff falling out of the holes and with zippers that worked. (I know, high standards, right?)
Last year before we headed out on our big family vacation I tried to make my own bag – without using a pattern. It did not end well. The pieces didn’t fit right, it was completely the wrong size, and I totally messed up the zipper. I ended up tossing the unfinished mess into a corner to deal with later.
Seeing as I’m going to need a bag in the near future it seemed like the right time to buckle down and finally make it! I tore apart my old useless bag and scavenged the usable pieces to make this new one.
Simplicity 2274 Travel Bag Pattern Review
I wasn’t looking for anything overly complicated in my bag. I wanted something with some extra pockets (preferably at least one with a zipper) and a zippered top so the bag can get tossed around and I won’t have to worry about losing stuff.
I couldn’t find any bag pattern that I absolutely loved so I just grabbed this one up when it was on sale. It seemed pretty simple but covered my basic needs.
The pattern writing is okay. I haven’t been a fan of any of the big name pattern instructions that I’ve sewn but that’s probably more of a me thing than a problem with the writing. I’m not really a words person – I always have a difficult time understanding written directions without lots of pictures. I think that’s why I tend to gravitate towards online tutorials with lots of step-by-step pictures or videos instead. With these patterns I have to reread the instructions a few times and play around with the pieces before it clicks in my brain how things are supposed to come together.
In the end I was able to put together a functional bag and didn’t have to rip anything apart so the instructions were good enough to get me through.
Have you ever sewn a pattern and not modified something? I think part of the appeal of sewing your own stuff is being able to change things to fit your needs.
I used canvas (which is one of the recommended fabrics) but left out the batting and the quilting. I really don’t like the quilted look on bags and wanted something that looked a little more professional. Leaving the batting out was to reduce bulk since this bag will mostly be used for camping trips where space is at a premium. Empty the bag is pretty floppy but that just means it fits in the closet better! I don’t need it to stand up on its own.
I had a directional fabric so instead of cutting one piece on the fold I cut the body piece into two and sewed them together. This way all my cute little mountains would be upright.
I simplified the handles by using some cotton belting I had on hand and just sewed the ends into the seam I had to make for my directional fabric.
Instead of leaving the raw edge on the fabric by the zipper I turned the edge under to give it a more finished look.
In the end I was able to make a decent looking functional bag as a first time bag maker (and way better than my attempt to self-draft one)!
- I like that this pattern has two external pockets. The zippered pocket has pleats which makes it pretty roomy. Though the pattern only calls for two pockets – one small on the side and one larger on the end – you could easily add pockets to all four sides just by cutting out more pieces.
- This bag turns out to be fairly large with a finished size of 12″ wide by 12″ tall and 20″ long.
- The inside seams are all unfinished. The pattern mentions that you can finish the raw edges with a zig-zag stitch or a serger. In hindsight they meant to do this to each individual section. I misunderstood and tried to serge towards the end where you’re piecing everything together and this definitely does not work at that stage. (I broke a needle when I hit one of the zippers.)
- There are no extra internal pockets.
- I’m not a fan of the quilted look of the examples.
- It needed modification to work with a directional fabric.
- The zipper tabs are a bit on the big side. If I make another one of these I’ll definitely make them a bit smaller.
- There’s no adjustable shoulder strap, though the straps are long enough to slip over your shoulder. I feel that would have been an easy thing to add that would make the bag a little more versatile.
Overall this makes a decent, sizable, and functional bag. I know my list of cons was longer, but most are minor and easily changed. When I get around to making my husband a bag, I’ll probably be using this pattern again!