Portside Dopp Kits

by | Jan 12, 2016 | Accessories, Crafts, Sewing Projects | 2 comments

Making dude gifts are hard.
Only that certain male in your life is going to enjoy a quilt with tiny bunny faces on it, and there are only so many things you can make out of old rock-n-roll t-shirts before you will, you know, have no more clothes to wear.
I run into this struggle yearly; mom’s get everything, while dads and uncles and husbands are left standing outside, in the cold and rain,  without even a quilt to keep them warm.

Not this year!
Brian had been bugging me for months to make him a leather dopp kit, as many moons ago he planned on buying one for himself and I pulled out the “ppfffft, I can totally make that” line that I use oh so often. Cut to many, many projects that got pushed ahead of this promise, due to sheer procrastination and fear of stepping into an famously difficult fabric.
However, as stated previously, Christmas is the time to give up all previous inhibitions and step eyes closed into the inexperienced abyss!

I have been in-love with the Grainline Studio‘s Portside Travel Set for quite a while, and I thought this would be a great reason to buy this pattern for “gifts” (it’s not selfish if I use the pattern for myself later…right…?). So it’s off to the Dopp Kit assembly line for three different versions of this little guy!

  1. Basic Dop Kit in contrasting Plaid and Charcoal


I loved this combo very, very much. It’s super macho, and the charcoal was accented wonderfully with the red plaid. Please, don’t ask me to tell you what these fabrics are and where they are from, because this was a true and true mystery stash buster. The plaid fabric was pretty sheer and flimsy, so I used a ‘heavy’ interfacing from Michael’s Crafts to give it some oomph. I don’t necessarily believe Michael’s when they say ‘heavy’ interfacing, but I do not use the stuff often, so I may just be mis-informed. Either way, it worked well. I used fusible fleece on the bottom charcoal pieces, because I wanted the bag to be super duper sturdy, and I love using fusible fleece wherever and whenever I can!


I was pretty horn tooty about my pattern matching on the top two strips of fabric, until of course, I totally failed to match it up while piecing the side bits. You live and learn, am I right? Anyways, the zipper installation in this bag is crazy easy, so if you are worried about the zips, don’t be! I don’t have a zipper foot, and this still went very breezy.


You can see how light weigh the fabric actually is if you look at the inner bits as opposed to the other bits, so yeah I guess the interfacing is ‘heavy’. Forget what I said earlier, er, I mean…eh, I’ll fix that in post. Initially when this pattern said you had to hand stitch the lining in, I cursed ‘THERE MUST BE A BETTER WAY’, but it actually wasn’t to arduous of a task at all. Hindsight 20/20 Natasha wins again.

  1. Leather Bottom Canvas Moon Phases kit


Next, I put on the Rocky Soundtrack, did some air punching motions, and mentally prepped myself to tackle Brian’s leather bottom bag. The top fabric is the Moon Phases by Beloved_co in an Eco-Canvas fabric, printed by Spoonflower and the bottom is a bargain bin leather piece purchased at local fabric mega-mart Dressew.


I purchased Schmetz Leather needles in sizes 100/16 and 90/14, as some blogs recommended different sizes (and also said needles may break) but ended up only using one 90/14 needle for my whole project (#blessed). I made sure to use pattern weights, not pins, and a rotary cutter used only for leather to cut it. I also made sure there were no noticeable imperfections in my leather before I cut it. Finally, as I sewed, I remembered there is no turning back with leather, so I had to stitch with gumption as all of my mistakes would be highly visible. However, with all of that in mind, it turned out pretty swell! This leather was not a total hag to work with as it is not super thick. It is probably not accessory weight leather (if that is a thing) so I had fairly smooth sails throughout the entire project. As for the canvas, I wanted to see how it would hold up without any interfacing at all. With the canvas lining and canvas outer fabric keeping everything pretty sturdy, I don’t think there are any issues with this bag being non-interfaced at all!


The one thing I will change if I make this bag again would be to bump up the seam allowance in the lining a bit, so that it fits a bit more snugly into the inside of the bag. As the pattern pieces of the inner and outer are the same size, I imagine this will give it just the amount of difference needed to make the lining less jenky inside.

  1. All Over Sailing kit


Finally, I took my last dopp bag for a crazy ride! I decided to use Red Boats on a Blue Sea by Jandersondesign‘s in an Eco-Canvas fabric, printed by Spoonflower for all of the outer pieces in this kit.  Although I am in-love with the dual fabric look of my previous two buds, I can’t handle how cute this little guy is.  I also ended up using a zipper that had a gigantic pull tab on it, instead of making my own (which is called for in the pattern, but which I did not do in the first two kits).


The inner fabric is Sailing Pattern by Alex_Lasher in Kona Cotton,  printed by Spoonflower. I opted to use fusible fleece for all the outer fabric pieces, because I wanted this bag to be super duper sturdy.


The only pattern adjustment needed would be to cut an extra full side piece (used for the inside of the side pocket) instead of the two side pieces that are called for in the instructions. If you are wondering why the bag is so lumpy, it’s because I forgot to get a picture before my dad immediately started using it. Which is the best; people who open and use gifts immediately post-wrapping rip are my favorite kinds of people.

I hope none of the manly men in your life went without a gift this Christmas. If they did, well, I bet they deserved it. Just kidding! But also, screw gender norms, these bags are not just for bro’s; I want about 1000 of these bags for myself!

Finally, ugh, I think 2016 is going to be the year for better photos, guys, I can feel it.
I can feel it in these bad photos which kill me every time I look at them.



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  1. da geez

    lovin my sailin dopp bag..!!!!!……pops



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