The Crafty Traveler Series: Part 1 – Travel Handmade with Tutorials, Patterns and Prizes

Hey everyone! Hope you’re having a great week so far!

I’m excited to bring you a new series today: The Crafty Traveler!

CRAFTY TRAVELER travel handmade series by ellison lane

As my sewing journey has evolved, I’ve discovered that I love to make bags. I simply love being able to make something pretty that’s also super useful.

Travel Handmade!

My favorite part of packing for a trip is gathering all of my handmade bags and loading them up together. Do you feel the same way? As I get ready for Sew South in 2 months, I’ll definitely be traveling handmade.

If you’re just getting started with bag making or if you’re a seasoned pro, you’re going to really enjoy The Crafty Traveler series. It’s a celebration of traveling handmade and in style with cute and pretty handmade bags, purses, totes, pouches and more.

travel handmade crafty traveler tote pattern from ellison lane

The Crafty Traveler series kicks off with my new bag tutorial. The Crafty Traveler Tote is roomy, completely customizable and perfect for traveling near or far. Load it up and you’re good to go!

crafty traveler tote travel handmade by ellison lane

See all pattern links below.

I’ll be sharing the free pattern with you including full color pictures so you can make one too. And you’ll want to join me because there are some great prizes to go along with this series! There will be a link-up at the end of the series for you to enter your Crafty Traveler Tote or any other travel handmade item for a chance to win prizes. (prize details coming soon!)

The Crafty Traveler series also includes a blog hop with some of my crafty friends sharing their favorite travel bag patterns with you. You won’t want to miss it!

The series kicks off with the Crafty Traveler Tote, then we’ll share other bag pattern reviews from the end of January to March! There will be plenty of inspiration and tips for making all kinds of handmade travel bags.

So since I know you’re going to want to make the Crafty Traveler Tote with me, here’s a list of supplies you’re going to need.

Crafty Traveler Schedule:

1/14 – 1/24: kickoff, supplies, cutting for CT Tote

1/27 – 3/3 /Crafty Traveler/Travel Handmade blog hop

3/6 – 3/12 link up

3/14 winners announced

CT tote 3

The Crafty Traveler Tote Tutorial


1/2 yard feature fabric

1/2 yard linen blend fabric (54″ wide)

1 yard lining fabric

2 coordinating fat quarters for pockets and pocket linings

3/4 yard Fusible Thermolam interfacing (TP 971)

1 yard Fusbible Decor Bond interfacing (Pellon 809)

1 1/4 yards Fusible Shape Flex interfacing (Pellon SF 101)

I used Free Spirit Fabrics:  Anna Maria Horner Fabric: Dowry and True Colors  and Free Spirit Essentials Linen Blend fabrics.

Let’s get started by cutting your fabrics for the tote.

Cutting Instructions: 

(width x height)

Feature Fabric: 

A: (2) 18″ x 16″ body panels


B: (1) 5″ x 18″ bottom

C: (2) 5″ x 16″ side panels

D: (4) 4″ x 26.5″ handles


LA: (1) 18″ x 33 7/8″ body

LC: (2) 5″ x 16″ side panels

E: (2) 4″ x 5″ handle accents

K: (2) 2.5″ x WOF binding

Fat Quarter 1: 

G: (2) 5″ x 8″ Exterior Side Pocket Front

H: (2) 7.25″ x 11″ Interior Pocket Front

Fat Quarter 2:

I: (2) 5″ x 9″ Exterior Side Pocket Lining

J: (2) 8.25″ x 11″ Interior Pocket Lining

Thermolam Interfacing:

(1) 17″ x 33 7/8″ body

(2) 4″ x 15.5″ sides

(3) 1.25″ x 45″ handles (subcut 1 piece into 2 pieces 1.25″ x 7.5″)

Decor Bond: 

(1) 17″ x 33 7/8″ body

(2) 4″ x 15.5″ side panels

(2) 4″ x 7.5″ outer pockets

(2) 6.25″ x 10.5″ inner pockets

Shape Flex: 

(1) 17″ x 32.5″ lining body

(2) 4″ x 15.5″ lining side panels


Don’t be daunted by the cutting. Once you get all that done, all you have to do is sew which is the easy, fun part!

Here are the other steps for the Crafty Traveler Tote:

Crafty Traveler Tote Tutorial: Part 1 Interfacing & Cutting  (you are here now)

Crafty Traveler Tote Tutorial: Part 2 Handles

Crafty Traveler Tote Tutorial: Part 3 Pockets

Crafty Traveler Tote Tutorial: Part 4 Assembly & Finishing

Crafty Traveler Tote Pattern PDF Download

Be sure to tag #craftytraveler and @ellisonlane on social media so I can check out your progress. And here’s the graphic one more time so you can grab it and add it to your blog if you’d like. :) (just right click on the image or on a mac, hold down control and click.)


See y’all tomorrow!





  1. 3


    I need a hip Gandma diaper bag and this looks great… Question ? See the handles and the rippling.. I have made several bags and they all do this? Maybe you know why, I dont know why it bothers me, I am not meticulous, but it does especially since we all buy great fabric.Thank you for the series, I will be a bloggeralong..

    • 4


      I think using Peltex (not the fusible) would take care of that. It won’t take away the rippling (because that is the result of using fabric) but it should help some.

  2. 5

    Karen says

    ohhh, I love this series and I love a good bag. Your’s is so cute Jennifer, I love the lining. I think I’d better count myself in since I’ll be going to Sew South. I’d probably be shamed to the janitor’s closet if I came in with all my sewing supplies in a paper grocery bag.

  3. 6

    Kerri says

    I also love making things we can use. I am looking forward to making this bag and following this series. Thanks!

  4. 12

    Shirley says

    Perfect timing to get some fun bags made to take to Sew South! Don’t want to end up in the janitor’s closet with Karen!

  5. 13

    Holli says

    Thank you, Jennifer! I love to travel handmade – this looks like an excellent tote to include for my journey to Sew South!

  6. 15


    This is gorgeous and I would love to join in but I have a question about all the interfacing. I can’t get interfacing where I live so all I have is some thin fusible interfacing and 1/2 yard of fusible fleece. Can I just use batting instead and maybe quilt it to hold in place? Thanks for any advice you can give :-)

    • 16


      Yes- you can! You can quilt the bag with batting. I would use interfacing on the lining of the bag. It will make a much floppier bag without the added interfacing but it would still be quite functional.

  7. 18


    I am also curious about interfacing. I have’nt made a bag before, though have wanted to, because I don’t know what/where to get it. I’ve asked in one shop if they sold any, but they said they might not have the “right” stuff as the US has different brands/names. To be honest I don’t even know what it looks like to know what I’m looking for to begin with! Is there an online store that sells these kinds of interfacing, internationally? Or are there other alternatives that can be used ?

  8. 21


    Hello, I just found you blog this morning and love this bag! I was sitting in a waiting room yesterday with a stack of my own sewing books I had carted along to look at and was thinking how much I wanted a dedicated bag for them, but it had to have pockets for my notebook and pens. I was going to start a search for a pattern, but this morning as I was browsing online (and I have no idea how) I ended up here! Divine intervention? So happy! I’ve already got my fabric cut out and am playing catch up. Thanks!

  9. 22


    I’ve never done a sew along before. I love your bag and I think I will give the sew along experience a try. Sounds like a lot of fun. I do have a question. When cutting the fabric, is the length or width cut along the selvage? Still learning. :) Thanks!

  10. 23


    Just finished Step 1! Love all the extra details- band on the pockets and binding. So many chances to up the cuteness. I bought new fabric for the body and sides, but am using my stash for the rest. Pictures soon! Off to make pockets…

  11. 25

    Jean says

    I Love The Crafty Traveler Tote I Had So Much Fun Making It. It Is So easy To Use… Just Open

    And Grab What You Need. Thanks A Lot

    Thank You For Your Patterns,


  12. 26


    can a girl have too many bags, certainly not when they are like this one, will be joining in on this for sure
    I am a bit confused re the interfacing etc being from the UK, thinking one is a fine wadding/batting? not sure about the other 2 but will try and puzzle it out


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *