Readers of this blog know that my sister was diagnosed with Uterine cancer in September, just a few days after my mom died. Geri had a hysterectomy a few weeks ago and when the pathology report came back she didn't have uterine cancer, but had ovarian cancer! At first we were super freaked out because reports of surviving ovarian cancer are few and far between. But my sister is an exception. She is Stage 2. Most people when diagnosed are stage 3 or 4. The doctor expects her to make a complete recovery and live a very long life.
She starts chemo tomorrow and weeks ago asked me if I would make her a chemo bag. When I got home from vacation, I had a few commitments to complete first, but started on Anna NoodleHead's Cargo Duffle bag last week. The pattern is available for free on the Robert Kaufman website. I used Art Gallery Fabric Denim and Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander prints for the pockets, trim and gusset.
I've made lots of bags and feel I am a confident bag maker. This bag requires that you know what you're doing, but it is not difficult. I knew I didn't want to use the canvas on the inside because I planned to line the bag. I also assumed using by Annie's Soft and Stable would make a nice stiff bag that would stand on it's own. I also didn't want to quilt the entire bag. I chose to quilt the zipper gusset and the bottom gusset.
Geri wanted lots of pockets, so I added one to the backside of the bag and several inside the bag. After I completed the outside portion of the bag I realized it was still a little floppy.
I interfaced the lining with Pellon 808 fusible interfacing and I added Peltex to the bottom gusset of the lining. I wanted to make the lining in a lighter color because it's way easier to find things in a bag with lighter colored lining. This newsprint from Carrie Bloomston is fun and that word, BLESSINGS, is perfect. Since her diagnosis, my sister has been blessed many times over by good news and loving acts of kindness from old and new friends.
The inside zipper pocket is finished with a facing to make it easier to see. It's a big, roomy pocket.
One little pocket on the inside gusset panel is perfect to put in a cell phone or chap stick.
The last pocket is an elastic topped pocket that is good for holding a bottle of water.
I added a few extras that I found are essential to chemo patients, by searching Pinterest. Geri will add a squishy, comfy blanket, water bottle, her iPad and other things she thinks she might need on this journey.
Geri stopped by this morning to pick up the bag. She let me know she was really happy with it and thinks it will be perfect now for transporting her "stuff" to chemo and then it will make a great carry on bag after chemo is just a memory.
Here is a list of changes I made to the bag:
- I made the bag 4" wider.
- I used by Annie's Soft and Stable instead of batting and the canvas inside.
- I added a small, patch pocket to the backside of the bag.
- I added a 2" decorative section to the gusset, below the zipper ends.
- I only quilted the zipper gusset and bottom gusset portion of the bag.
- I made the handles 2" longer and used 2" wide Craftex, instead of batting in the handles.
- I lined the bag, duplicating the front, back, bottom gusset and zipper gusset pieces. I interfaced these pieces with Pellon 808 and also added Peltex to the bottom gusset section. Iadded three different style pockets to the lining. I assembled the lining then placed it inside the bag and attached it by hand along the inside of the zipper gusset. Because it was interfaced and had the Peltex it doesn't sag and did not need to be attached in the corners like others have said when lining their bags.