Sunday, September 14, 2014

Travel cubes aka Packing organizers

Travel cubes are popular, but expensive. I have used drawstring bags to sort and organize clothing in a suitcase, but these work better. They make it easier to keep your packing focused/light and definitely easier to pack everything. I usually put tops in a medium sized, bottoms in large and undergarments in a couple smaller ones. Tossing in my shoes (which I put in newspaper plastic rain sleeves) on the bottom, toiletry bag (which is always packed) and then the packing cubes, I'm done really quickly. And if TSA roots through my stuff, I don't have to worry about things getting handled much. Yes, officially they could open them up and root through them, but frankly, they're probably not going to bother. 

You can make them any size. Google "travel cube" or "packing organizer" and you'll get a plethora of selections. Or you can look at them at Target, etc. You can pick a size from any of them, the sizing is pretty simple to calculate, just use your own desired Height/Depth/Width measurements. Here's a couple size suggestions:

Small - finished size approx 6" x 2" x 6" (Height x Depth x Width)
Medium - finished size approx 12" x 4" x 7"
(because the zipper takes up a little length, sizes are approximate)

Small - (1) 10" x 9" (Height x Width) fabric
           (1)  7" x  9" (H x W) mesh
           (1) zipper at least 9" long (W) - easiest to use longer and cut off excess

Medium - (1) 19" x 12" (H x W) fabric
               (1)  13" x 12" (H x W) mesh
               (1) zipper at least 12" long (W) - easiest to use longer and cut off excess

(at end of posting, I have the calculations you need to select your own size)

1. Right sides together, place short side of fabric on zipper and stitch.

2. Flip zipper over place short side of mesh on top, 
matching edges with fabric piece. Stitch short side of mesh
to right side of zipper.

3. Open the zipper at least 4-5" so you can turn it right side out later!

4. Right sides together, match all edges. The zipper will be a little more than half the Depth down from the top. Stitch the open edges. Finger crease the top edge enough to locate it in the next step. If you're nervous the zipper will come apart, zig zag across the teeth inside the seam allowance. Trim off the zipper ends.

5. To box the corners, about 4-6" diagonally in from the bottom corner, grab front and back and separate, the corner will look like a cone or 4-sided pyramid. Line up the corner side seam with the corner bottom seam. Flatten into a triangle. You will stitch across the triangle. Use a ruler to lay across the triangle until the stitching line is the Depth you chose - this is where you stitch. Repeat for other corner.

6. The top corners are done the same as the bottom
corners. Make a triangle out of the corner and stitch as close as you can to the zipper tape. If you want a loop handle, from the inside, you can tuck it in one of the top corners before stitching.

7. Turn right side out, pushing out the corners.
You're done!

This medium sized travel cube has 4 t-shirts folded inside.

If you want a different size, calculate needed fabric/mesh by knowing what finished size you want (Height x Width x Depth - H x W x D):

1) Fabric = cut a piece H + D + 1/2D + 1"   by  W + D + 1"
2) Mesh =  cut a piece   H + 1"                     by W + D + 1"
3) Zipper = at least W at minimum

           For example: if I want a large cube 15" x 10" that is 6" deep (H=15, W=10, D=6), I would cut
                                fabric 24" x 17"  (15 + 5 + 3 + 1  by  10 + 6 + 1)
                                mesh  16" x 17" (15 + 1  by  10 + 6 + 1)
                                zipper has to be at least 10" long.

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