The accepted dimensions for a Carry-On Bag are 9″ x 14″ x 20″ (22″ in the US) The accepted dimensions for a Personal Bag are 9″ x 10″ x 17″. The airlines are becoming stricter, forcing passengers to “Check” bags, at their own cost, that exceed the posted dimensions. To avoid future problems at the airport I made myself a tote bag using the Personal Bag dimensions. I have been using my Messenger Bag as my Personal Bag. My Messenger Bag, as well as my extra sweater, scarf, toiletries and snack food can all fit comfortably in the tote bag. The tote is an extra bag for carrying groceries or painting supplies during my trip and folds up easily when not in use.
First I made a prototype out of a paper bag and duct tape. I wanted to make sure that my messenger bag fit easily inside of the tote.
As usual, I overcomplicated the design with loops, ties and a cover…… none of which are necessary. I designed the paper pattern allowing for French seams, wide shoulder straps and shorter handles.
To keep the dimensions exact, I ironed each seam prior to stitching it. In less than an hour, the simple tote was complete, having eliminated the idea of loops, ties and cover.
I cut a piece of foam core 9″ x 17″ that fits nicely into the bottom of the tote. It is easily removed and stored in one of the outside pockets of my carry-on. The paper bag prototype fits inside of the tote to support the shape while in use. It folds flat and stores with the foam core base. The tote also folds flat and stores with the other two parts, adding very little weight or thickness to my carry on luggage, a Rick Steves Bag with wheels that meets the International Dimension Restrictions for Carry -On luggage.