My Ultimate Travel Bag

Bag envy – is that a thing? I think it is, as I do love so many bags that I see out there. This one caught my eye and I am happy to say the Ultimate Travel Bag by ByAnnie is ready for my retreat next week. OK, let’s be honest, I thought it might go to Ireland, but it didn’t. It really seemed complicated and I decided to take my time with it. But I did need something to go with me.

This bag* with the shoe compartment did and it was great but I did overstuff it….lesson learned. It was top heavy compared to my suitcase…due to boots and other sundry things, but perfect in many ways. However, I digress so lets talk about the Ultimate Travel Bag!

The Ultimate Travel Bag is perfect for shorter trips and this weekend it will hold my sewing projects. I would say it is half the size of the bag I took to Ireland. I spent months thinking about fabric and notions but finally made it! Here’s the story.

The Fabric & Quilting

It took me some time to move from pattern and fabric collection to a finished piece, but here are some of the choices I made.

I found this fabulous Blueberry fabric at the Maine Quilt show in July. I believe I picked up the pattern in June.

I decided to use this lovely lavender Island Batik that I had for the lining.

This bubble batik is the binding on the inside and also holds the plastic sleeve that keeps the bottom stiff. I bought it in October at Mainely Mimi’s. I really love it !

As I read the pattern I realized I wanted purple strapping*, that was acquired in August. It probably took me 5 months to acquire all the parts…some of it my ignorance about what I really wanted, and some of it just took time…living on an island an traveling seemed to add to it.

I did quilt this on my longarm using a Prostitcher design, called Angled Squares. This is a picture from the screen with the area all set up for quilting on Soft and Stable*, the “batting” Annie recommends. It really does give a nice body to the bag.

Making the Bag

It is a process!

First, the straps were made and the padded cover for the detachable/adjustable strap.

Then a bunch of pockets and the side piece. The buttons are on the bottom to protect the bag and help it stand. You can see some of the other pockets that go on the front and back above this strap. One is a double zip, one becomes a pocket with the trolley strap, and one is a big pocket for the inside. Also, there are pockets on each side and a strap with hardware for the removable strap to attach to on each side.

Next you add the inner pockets to the front and back and begin the assembly! Clips and a stilleto are your friend. You can maybe see I clipped the strap to the pocket so it didn’t get sewn into the wrong spot.

Bending the piece and getting it under the machine is a lot of wrestling. But eventually….

Here is the complete bag before turning right side out and one of the other interior ockets.

And, here, is the finished bag, right side out.

And just so you can see, a shot of the inside of the bag. I have been working on this New Year’s Day and finished it on the 8th. I didn’t work on it every day so maybe 6 days back and forth on it. This was the right way for me to make it as the instructions are dense.

My honest review is that:
1. It is a good pattern, but more pictures would be helpful.
2. The accompanying videos are great, watch them.
3. You need a good machine that doesn’t mind bulk.
4. Take your time and read and re-read the instructions. More pictures of what you are making would be helpful. Some of it is on the videos, some of it not.

You may remember that I was able to make a bonus from the quilted fabric, a Call Me Bag, before I even made the bag. There were leftovers, once I cut the pieces. If you haven’t done a lot of bag sewing, the Call Me Bag is a good way to start. Now, there are more leftover pieces, so I will make a few more things in a bit. I need to asses what is there and what I might want to make!

Coming Up on My Blog

Today we go to Medford (outside of Boston) for a few days. Monday to Wednesday I will be retreating with 4 of my Boston bee friends. There will be a SAHRR posts but nothing else really until those. Tips and Tutes will be another Electric Quilt video for some of the things you might want to know if you are doing SAHRR and want to play on the computer with choices.

SAHRR Center Block 1/15/24
Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd 1/21/24 (a day early)
SAHRR Round 1 1/22/24
Diatom  Finish
Sea Glass Joy 


Finished or Not Friday
Free Motion Mavericks
Monday Musings
Wednesday Wait Loss
From Bolt to Beauty

Fabric Stash

I donated 11 yards to Common Threads of Maine in addition to the 4.25 for the bag. It is a nice jumpstart for the year!
Fabric in this month: 0 yards
Fabric out this month: 15.25 yards
Fabric in this year: 0. yards
Fabric out this year: 15.25 yards
NET Fabric:  -15.25 yards

Disclaimer: *Links with asterisk indicate an affiliate link and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Your price is not any different, but a small percentage of the sale will go to supporting my blog.


  1. January 12, 2024 / 7:59 AM

    I’m so impressed with your bag! Those fabrics are just wonderful, each one of them but especially that blueberry one, love it!

  2. January 12, 2024 / 8:33 AM

    You were wise to wait and take your time with the bag. Her patterns are very detailed, depending on what you are making. I use a walking foot whenever I can on her patterns; it helps with the bulk. Your bag turned out really well, and the other two bags were a great couple of bonus projects. Enjoy your retreat!

  3. January 12, 2024 / 11:20 AM

    I’m always impressed by machines that can stitch through so many layers to make these bags. All the pockets inside and out make this look like a really great and user friendly travel bag. Have a great time at your retreat!

  4. January 12, 2024 / 11:55 AM

    Wow! I love your bag, Kathleen! I know it isn’t an easy pattern, but you make it look easy…so long as one takes her time! I’ve been looking forward to this post! 🙂

  5. Eva
    January 12, 2024 / 1:04 PM

    What a good and lovely result! People always think, bags are done in a minute. They are not. na d you did soooo nice! The fabric you choose is very good, and the buttoms on the ground! Thanks for this hint!! I hate to put bags on the floor! Soft and stable is perfect to stabilize for some parts of a bag. You did right to go slow steps and the result is brilliant and you will have much fun with it. Good and complete instructions for bags make the difference when buying pattern! Have a good time, see you at the SAHRR project!!!

  6. Cocoa Quilts
    January 13, 2024 / 8:16 AM

    Kathleen that is a gorgeous bag! I’d be afraid of getting that bulk through the machine. Great fabric choices, I hope this bag has a great time at your retreat!!

  7. January 14, 2024 / 1:03 PM

    What a fantastic bag – love the fabrics you chose. By Annie patterns are great (I’ve just made one – a small backpack) and do I ever agree with you that they are dense with instructions and intense, that the videos are a must, and the makes are rather hard on a machine with all the bulk. I have intentions to make another – already bought a pack of Soft and Stable, but haven’t picked a pattern yet. Thanks for linking up with TGIFF!

  8. January 14, 2024 / 10:46 PM

    It’s beautiful! Annie’s patterns are dense, that’s for sure, but the finished bags are pretty, useful, and durable. I hope you enjoy using yours!

  9. Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting
    January 15, 2024 / 9:56 AM

    I do love quilted bags, though I tend to not get around to making them. Both of your bags turned out beautifully, Kathleen! Very pro!!! Love the quilting motif, too!

  10. quiltinglearningcombo
    January 15, 2024 / 10:19 PM

    Hi Kathleen, that is a wonderful bag. I’m sure that there is such a thing as bag envy but I’m not envious enough to make them! They require accuracy – so not the best project for me! Thanks for linking up to Free Motion Mavericks. Have a great retreat!

  11. January 17, 2024 / 10:23 AM

    Oh wow!! that is so impressive!!! and a lot of work!! but again WOW!! what a stunner of a bag!!!

  12. January 21, 2024 / 2:21 PM

    Kathleen, your bag is lovely!! I do love ByAnnie’s patterns, but like you sometimes wish there were more photos, though I do love the videos she makes and can usually figure it out. Thanks for sharing on Monday Musings!

  13. January 22, 2024 / 11:40 AM

    It is always good to have your own handmade bag, but they can cause frustration. This bag is lovely and I’m sure you will enjoy it for years to come!

  14. inquiringquilter
    January 23, 2024 / 11:15 AM

    Love your bag! So nice to have it ready just in time for your retreat. Have fun visiting your friends! I love ByAnnie patterns but yes they are dense! I just take it one step at a time and check off the steps as I do them. I love checklists so that must be one reason the patterns appeal to me! Thanks for sharing on my weekly show and tell, Wednesday Wait Loss.

My Favorite Tools

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Freezer Paper Sheets
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Hobbs Premium 80/20 Batting
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Mettler 60 wt. Cotton Embroidery Thread
Sandboard for Hand Sewing/Appliqué
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Electric Quilt 8
Quilter’s Dream Select Batting
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Paper Templates for Lucy Boston
Lucy Boston Templates,MPP
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Thread magic
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