Amanda vs Portside Travel Set

Grown up luggage feels like something that should be under my belt by this stage of my life but I am still not there. I mean, I have a beat up tiny suitcase that stores my derby gear but otherwise this lady is all about the backpack. After checking into the prices of a suitcase (how can they be so expensive?!) I decided on sewing up a sweet set of weekender luggage – at a quarter of the prices and heaps more fun! Enter the twee-est, but also handiest, set of travel gear ever!


This is the Portside Travel Set by Grainline Studio. This pattern is a three for the price of one deal – duffle bag, dopp kit and travel pouch. The duffle bag features a front pocket, handles and an adjustable strap (which I left off). The dopp kit (fun history fact: the term dopp kit came into common use in WWII from their allocation to American GIs) has a sneaky front pocket and a handle at one end. The travel pouch is both tiny and quick to make – win! One thing to note – the pattern is crazy big so treat yourself to a print shop copy – no one needs to be taping that many PDF pages together!


Real talk: the fabric for this one is sitting right on the cusp of twee but I couldn’t say no to it. The main fabric is an adorable quilting cotton I picked up from Spotlight last year that was originally intended for sleep shorts. The contrast fabric is the stuff of nightmares – a sweet mint green pleather that stretches like Gumby every single time you start sewing. HULK SMASH! I had lots of trouble sewing this together and even with a teflon foot and a walking foot it just kept stretching. Heck, it took 8 attempts to get the duffle bag pocket on – thank goodness for the straps hiding the damage! In the end I used a stiff bag interfacing, a walking foot, released the thread tension by one, lengthened the stitch and took my sweet and slow time. It was totally worth it in the end and there is piece of the pleather left in my stash for when I’m feeling brave enough to take it back on.


Construction wise the pattern is quite straightforward and would be an easy make if you do not pick stretchy pleather. The toughest bit is sourcing the notions that are rather pricey and tough to find (at least in the Berra). I picked up all the necessary bits and bobs to make this when in Japan and in the end only used the zips and webbing for handles. Doh! The good news I have the extra there if I ever decided to make this as a present…

The Duffle Bag is super straight forward – it’s sewing together a bunch of rectangles and hand stitching a lining in. The only problem I faced here (apart from the cursed pocket pleather!) was the fact I had misprinted my lining pieces so the fabric didn’t go together. This meant a quick recut and we were good to go. One thing to note this sucker is HUGE! It is a total weekender bag rather than an overnighter.

Portside Duffle Bag

The Dopp Kit was a little bit fiddly due to easing the curves on the top but otherwise straightforward. One thing I did notice is that the pattern piece for the top was an inch too short – this was an easy fix and may be fixed on later versions of the patterns (I grabbed this when it was first released). The dopp kit is a fabulous size for all my toiletries and I have been using it for the gym  and it is all kinds of fabulous!


The Travel Pouch is crazy simple to throw together and is something I have made previously for handmade Christmas gifts (chuck in a handmade lip balm and some chocolate and you win at secret santa!) The only change made here was to add a lining and then heave a huge sigh of relief when it was done because my nemesis Pleatherino would now leave me alone.


What I loved about this pattern:

  • Nice and straightforward. It is so lovely to just sew something up without having to worry about fit!
  • The practicality. I finished this three weeks ago and have already used the entire set several times. The travel pouch is the perfect size for all your charges and cords!

What I would change for next time:

  • No pleather. Seriously lovely to look at but GAH! Or maybe I should amend this to only pleather if stabilised. Look at my fancy grown up compromising skills!
  • Tabs at the end of the zips. I saw this on Mel’s version and it makes so much sense.
  • Quilted contrast fabric for the duffle straps. This could look super cute AND be much cheaper and easier to get your hands on then webbing.
  • Line the Dopp Kit with waterproof fabric or plastic. Let’s be real: at some point in my future that travel shampoo is going to leak EVERYWHERE. If only I had some waterproof lining…


The Deets

Pattern: Portside Travel Set by Grainline Studio

Fabric: 1m x quilting cotton from Spotlight, 1m x mint green pleather from The Fabric Store, 1.5m x poplin from stash, 1m x heavy weight bag interfacing

Notions: all the notions! 2.5m x 1.25” webbing from Nomura Tailor in Japan, 21”, 13” and 2x 9” zips, teflon sewing foot, walking foot and lots of thread

See also: Poppykettle, Four Square Walls, Rennous Oh Glennus

Overall, I love my new set! Sure, it’s a bit twee and minty fresh but it is the perfect size for a weekend away. Or smuggling your dogs in…





  1. Pleather! And gorgeously mint coloured pleather to boot – love the match to the cotton contrast. Unexpectedly to me, the portside set has become one of my favourite things I’ve made. Yours is no exception – totally makes me smile to see it! It’s lovely, and I’m sure you’ll be receiving compliments to boot when you travel with this set 🙂

    • It is such a pretty colour that I can forgive the pleather its stretchy sins!
      Your set is freaking awesome and so glad to hear it is off – I’m thinking this will be on high rotation. Just need to convince Bretterson to more weekends away 😀

    • Thanks, lovely! So glad to hear this hasn’t verged into twee-town as I was worried O_o Bah, let’s just grow older and not grow up 😉

  2. Using that pleather for another project? No way lady – send that piece to the Salvos for someone else to suffer with it. Anyway your Portside and accompanying accoutrements are tres speciale. Total love.

    (And I was a backpack person too until one day I realised that ports were totally a thing and OMG they had WHEELS!! And now I’m showing my age … And my Qlderness)

  3. The puppies are too twee! (Who am I kidding, I had to look “twee” up on Google. I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy.) And Berra? That’s Yogi Berra the baseball player to us! Lovely weather year round to y’all. (Soon to be the Embarrassed States of America with our upcoming elections.) But, education and politics aside, LOVELY MAKE!!!

    Who makes the fabric? I lurve it, and really don’t think it’s twee. At least to a sewer, sewist, whatist? (Heated discussion on Facebook.) I would love to hear comments by fellow travelers!

    And thanks for the pleather advice. It looks fabulous, but I’ll probably steer clear now.

    • Ahh, Berra is the local shorthand for Canberra 😀

      The fabric is from Spotlight in Australia – not sure who designed as the selvedge is long gone 🙁

      I think most pleather is pretty stable – this one was super soft and stretchy. I’m keen to try it again with lots o’ interfacing!

      And dopp kit is not a term I’ve heard in Australia – I had to google it as well 🙂

  4. I love this set and if I saw it in a shop I would snap it up, the colours are amazing and that pleather is awesome.

  5. Oh, but it looks so good in spite of the pleather drama. And I think the fabric is ever-so-slightly twee in subject matter but not in appearance! I’d love to make one of these sets up some day 🙂

  6. Arrgh, cutest props / Q.T. Team ever! How much fun is the portside to make? Still gives me a bit of a buzz when I pull mine out. This is such a brilliant version, bad luck on the pleather saga but it looks brilliant despite the headaches

  7. I’d never have thought pleather would be crazy-stretchy. It’s good you worked out how to deal with it coz the combination of the two fabrics is pretty awesome. And the whole set most cool and groovy and very useful.

  8. Those quality control officers are the cutest and look like they mean business!
    I think a weekend trip is in order to try out your new luggage. It’s the cutest!

    • Poor Bimble is so patient but Pimble never has a bar of it!
      It’s finally starting to warm up here so a weekend away is on the cards – for luggage testing purposes, obviously. Not for wanting to go to the beach teehee 😉

    • Not going to lie – it makes me feel all fancy an grown up to have matching luggage. And this pleather was a pest but so worth it in the end!


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