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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Taking Off With A New Flight Bag

Betz White Flight Bag crafted by eSheep Designs
My version of the Flight Bag by Betz White...
A while back, I gave my initial impressions of Creativebug, the crafting website that's more or less in the same internet space as Craftsy. Today, in celebration of "back to school" for the kiddies (yay!) I'm going to show you what I made with a lesson found on their site.

In June, Creativebug offered a free one month subscription without requiring a credit card, so naturally, I jumped in and did some browsing.

Unfortunately, I was away more than I was home for much of June, so I did not have as much time to keep exploring as I wanted to, but before my preview expired, I grabbed the Betz White Flight Bag class as my "keep forever". (For each month that you are a paid up subscriber, you earn the right to select one class to keep in your personal library forever, regardless of whether or not you remain a subscriber.)

Betz White Flight Bag Class on Creativebug.com
Image courtesy of Creativebug.com...

For those of you who are not familiar with Ms. White's catalogue of patterns, this Flight Bag is a variant of her Jet Pack Bag, which is a convertible backpack/shoulder bag. With a little bit of creative thought, it wouldn't be hard to add the required bits to turn the Flight Bag into a backpack, but backpacks are not my thing. I was, on the other hand, looking for an alternative to the Professional Tote for a travelling companion and really felt compelled to tackle this project for that reason (if not for the simple fact that this was a freebie and it would be a shame not to take advantage and spread the good word).

Check out Craftsy's latest promos...

So one weekend, I printed the pattern templates for the Flight Bag and spent the rest of the first day cutting, interfacing and pinning (as the video class played in the background). There are a lot of pieces. Maybe it's just that I haven't done a project this involved in a long time, but I really felt overwhelmed by the amount of prep work! It's no wonder that I have a fondness for quick and simple projects, although I totally appreciate that to make something like this, you need to put in the hours.

Anyway, at the end of day one, here is what I had... all pieces cut out with Robert Kaufman Satsuki (black cherry blossom) as the main fabric, a Jysk duvet cover as the lining and some black cotton twill for the accent trim.

Flight Bag pieces
Reminded of what I don't like about taking on big projects... so much prep!

I managed to make major headway on the second day, getting to the point of completing the entire outer body and attaching the interior pocket to one of the lining pieces.

Betz White Flight Bag crafted by eSheep Designs
Making tremendous progress on day two...

The third (half) day, I completed the lining, the strap and all of the painful hand sewing required to secure the lining to the zipper. (I hate sewing by hand and came away with a sore middle finger and a bandaged thumb for my efforts, despite using a thimble.)

Betz White Flight Bag crafted by eSheep Designs
Back and side views...

As is my preference when I can get away with it, I did not go out and purchase any supplies for making this bag. The project called for woven interfacing for the lining and while I'm sure that it would have made the lining look and feel more "fabric-y", I just used my supply of Decor Bond. (Yes, it tends to do that "wrinkly thing" but it's a lining and I can live with it.)

Betz White Flight Bag crafted by eSheep Designs
Interior of the bag with a divided patch pocket on one side...

The zipper was supposed to be a metal zipper but I was intrigued by one of the zippers I had in my collection and decided to use it, particularly as the colour highlights the red in the main body fabric. The interesting part is that it's a double-ended zipper normally meant for outerwear; for instance, so that you can unzip a jacket from the bottom. I figured that if I use it on this bag, then I can open it from either side. Instant added functionality!

Betz White Flight Bag crafted by eSheep Designs
With this zipper, I can unzip from either side of the bag!

In terms of hardware, the twist lock came from a set of ten that I purchased on eBay (I have eight more!) and the two rectangular rings were taken from this chain belt:

Repurposing a chain belt
This belt is going to yield some more rectangular rings!

How's that for re-purposing?? There are fifteen more rings, a length of chain and a lobster clasp to be harvested from this item! (Am I excited about this find from my closet? Given that Walmart charges $2.97 for a set of two rectangular rings, what do you think?)

Betz White Flight Bag crafted by eSheep Designs
This gives you an idea of the size of the bag...
The strap was supposed to be an adjustable strap with a slider; however, I wasn't convinced — since this bag is for me — that I needed it to be adjustable. So I just chose a length that worked for me for regular over the shoulder use (but that was also long enough for occasional crossbody wear if I were running through an airport for instance) and used what has become a favourite method for me to secure to the bag: snap fasteners. (To tell the truth, I wanted a strap that I can switch off for other bags and this does the job for me.)

Verdict on the final result?

I really like it. Actually, I'm surprised I like it as much as I do. It's simple, yet entirely functional. The exterior back slip pocket provides convenient access to a magazine or travel documentation. The front pocket provides secure storage for passports and such. The interior lining pocket can be customized to hold whatever you want; I sized them to accommodate my e-reader and some pens. And of course, with the wide zippered top opening, everything is kept safe inside.

Not only do I think this bag is a good size for an airplane carry on (even though I haven't used it as such yet), it could also do double duty as a work bag. Some of you may recall that I recently agreed to go back to work on a part-time basis; I've taken this bag on my trips downtown for meetings, since I no longer have a briefcase sort of thing to tote around. This makes a good alternative without being too big. While it won't accommodate larger laptops, my little netbook computer has no problem fitting inside, even horizontally. (And of course, for anyone wanting it to be a laptop bag, a simple resizing will do the job.)

For those of you who may be interested in the class, I will be back in a couple of weeks with a complete review. If you don't want to wait, click on the above link or here to sign up for your free 14 day Creativebug trial, which provides unlimited access to all premium content, along with the ability to keep this (or any other) class forever. [Or, if you're reading this sometime in October, click here and use the promo code HALLOWEEN to get one month free access!]


  1. That's a great bag Rochelle! I don't do much traveling but like you said it would work for other times when you need to haul stuff around. I like the photo of the model showing how large the bag actually is. Is that you??? Nice fabrics too. I have made some of Betz's bags and her instructions are excellent. I'll check out the Creativebug link in a minute.

  2. I love this bag - what a great size and shape. But what I especially like is the way you get creative in the supplies you use to sew with! :)

  3. You sold me on it! :) I love how your bag turned out, so I went ahead and signed up for a free trial and chose this bag as my free class. In watching so far, I love the way it's produced, and who cannot like Betz?? I'm looking forward to your review on it. Thanks for introducing me to the flight bag.


  4. Hi! Your bag is beautiful! I've started mine, but found that I am unable to locate the dimensions for the shoulder strap in the materials provided by CreativeBug. Do you know what the strap length and width fabric cutting dimensions are supposed to be? It would help me a lot!
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. As to your question, if it's not in the PDF materials, I believe she would have talked about it in the video before she made hers. Try watching that section again, because I am sure it wasn't omitted.


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