Way back in 2012, I wrote a tutorial for a Retro Weekender Travel Bag. I had no idea it would take off the way it did and to this day is one of the top 5 most viewed sewing projects on this blog.
Through the years I’ve made a few small changes to the bag to accommodate readers requests, but the pattern remained essentially the same. Today I’m happy to announce a completely re-thought and refreshed Retro Travel Bag Sewing Pattern.
I’m still steadily working through what I’m now calling the “great pattern writing binge of the summer”. Most all of my sewing patterns are being refreshed and re-photographed, I am also adding several new ones to the mix.
I’ve been planning a refresh of the Retro Travel Bag since last fall but didn’t want to rush it. I wanted it to be right, and I wanted to simplify the construction of the bag as much as possible (it’s still an advanced intermediate pattern).
I think I’ve made more than 15 of these bags now, with about 6 of those during this year alone. After all of the testing and redesigning I’ve come up with a pattern that I am SO excited about.
As with all of my PDF sewing patterns, if you’ve purchased a pattern in the past, and it is updated, you can download the update for free (just email me).
About the Retro Weekender Travel Bag Sewing Pattern:
A few of the key improvements to the patterns:
- Eliminated the Contrast Strip on the side of the bag
- Completely Closed in the side
- Simplified the Zipper panel construction.
- Eliminated the need to use bias tape to cover the raw edge on the inside of the bag (YIPPE!!, that was not my favorite part either)
- Added options for 3 different handle styles
- Added external zippered pocket
- Included instructions for both laminate fabric (as shown on the original bag) and non-laminated (i.e. quilting cotton) fabrics.
- Improved interfacing recommendations.
- Printable Pattern Pieces (no drafting your own).
Personally, I loved the contrast strip on the zipper side of the bag, but it did complicate the construction process. I realized after a while that you could get a similar look by cutting the bag bottom piece out of a different fabric than the zipper panel piece. Here you can see where I used some of the pink bunny fabric from Wonderland.
About the Leather Handles:
This version of the bag is sewn from Riley Blake Large Gingham in Black and features leather handles. The leather handles are just leather belt blanks, you can purchase them on Amazon or at your local leather store (like Tandy Leather).
They are really easy to attach. As you can probably see from the photo above, I put them in the wrong spot the first time and have holes in my bag (UGH!!) anyone with a suggestion as to cover the holes? I’d be much appreciated. (Luckily I was able to fix the photo in photoshop for the pattern cover).
The bag features one external zippered pocket and one large divided pocket on the interior. You can pick up the metal zippers at ZipIt on Etsy.
Instructional Video for the Retro Travel Bag Pattern:
I’m also happy to announce that there is now a video series to help you construct your bag! I’ll add a link to it below. You will still need the pattern but I’ll walk you through making the bag step by step in the videos. You can find them on the Riley Blake Designs YouTube Channel.
Here are a few other versions of the bag pattern I’ve made over the years:
Where to Get the Bag Pattern:
You can pick up the pattern in my SHOP. It’s in PDF format now and will be emailed to you immediately after you purchase the pattern.
It is also now a printed pre-packaged pattern as well. If you have a store and want to carry the patterns let me know and we can work out a wholesale order.