Bronwyn’s Handmade Christmas in July: Luggage Tags
For this month’s handmade Christmas project, I was inspired by my summer vacation. What? I know. I know. Bear with me.
Last week, my family got back from an 11-day road trip. We’re calling it Dino Drive 2016. (Our first one was in 2013.) My son is 8 and has loved dinosaurs since he was an itty-bitty thing. He’s slowly losing the passion for prehistoric creatures, so his predicted career path has been evolving from paleontology to video game design. I imagine those plans will further evolve over the 10 years between now and college. (Yikes! Only ten years?!) Still, he’s our only child, so we cater to him. We also happen to like dinosaurs and science-y things. So we embarked on a 3400-mile, 59-hour drive across the country. We went to Denver, CO; Vernal, Price, Lehi, and Salt Lake City, UT; drove through Idaho (and 6 minutes in Wyoming) to get to Bozeman, MT; and finally, Billings, MT. We went to ten museums and two zoos. Whew!
The best deal of the trip was that we got in free to most of the museums. We have a family membership to our local Peoria Riverfront Museum; one of the benefits is free or discounted admission to a long list of other museums around the world. Our $95 membership saved us $254! If you’re thinking of traveling to museums over 90 miles from home, a membership to your local science center or museum is definitely worth checking out. Similar reciprocal programs exist for zoo memberships, too, so be sure to investigate that, too.
So what does all this have to do with Christmas? Well, with all the traveling we did, we lugged (get it?) lots of suitcases around. That made me think that it would be nice to have a pretty luggage tag. Whether you need to spot your suitcase among a hundred others on an airport baggage carousel, distinguish yours from your husband’s matching bag, or even add identification to your knitting project bag or tote, a luggage tag is a good idea. And if it’s something you’d like to use, then your friends and family might appreciate it, too. You can even use the luggage tag as a gift tag for another handmade gift. Even better!
I searched Pinterest and Craftsy for pattern ideas. I settled on the tutorial by Ms. Elaineous. I liked that my personal information wasn’t on display for all to see. I also loved that I didn’t have to cut a million pieces of fabric. And my mom’s name is Elaine, so that was the clincher. I had saved a vinyl pouch that pillowcases came in, so being a packrat paid off; I used a piece of that for the clear sleeve on the luggage tag. (The frugal part of me is wondering how well a freezer bag would work.) I agree with the tutorial that using a walking foot for sewing the vinyl is definitely a good idea. The only fusible interfacing I had was featherweight, but I fused a second layer and it was perfect. With fabric I had on hand, I was able to sew this tag without a special trip to the store. That may be a crafting first!
My one criticism is that when the tag is folded exactly in half, the strap has to backtrack to get into the buttonhole, making the tag gape open. Next time, I think I’ll sew the buttonhole closer to the edge or make the entire tag about 1/4″ longer, or both. Then I’ll fold it just shy of the midpoint.
Now I just need to get my act together and make a few more! Have you started your handmade gift plans? You have five months left!