how to sew a vinyl applique luggage tag


At one point in my life I went nearly five years with getting on an airplane. This may not seem like a huge deal to some people, but, at the time I was dating a comedian who traveled almost every week and never stopped inviting me to join him, no matter how many times I’d say, “Sounds fun, but if I can’t get there in a car, I’m not interested.” The truth is, that I was interested but I always had a deep fear of flying. In sixth grade my parents took my to a psychiatrist who specialized in curing fear of flying. After a month of boring sessions I was still terrified but claimed I wasn’t so I wouldn’t have to sit in his office with the awful seascape watercolors. I’ve even turned down all expenses paid trips to Hawaii and Europe from generous friends. I’ve become quite good at steering vacation destination conversations away from places like New York or Bali, by asking, “Wouldn’t a road trip through the Southwest would be more fun?”

A few years ago traveling for work became unavoidable. Delilah and I began scouting new locations for Patchwork Show as well as expanding our network and skills by attending conferences and retreats throughout the country. Remember our trip to Camp Mighty? Or our speakeasy party in our hotel room at Alt Summit? When I suggested that a ten-hour drive to Alt Summit in Salt Lake City seemed like a better option than a flight that took just over an hour, Delilah put her foot down. I was no longer able to avoid plane travel.

Now, I fly once or twice a month. Honestly, I’m still not very good at it. I try to remember something a friend of my dad’s said to him as my dad gripped the seat in front of him with white knuckles while going through a thunderstorm in a nine-seater plane. The friend said, “Listen man, there’s absolutely nothing we can do right now. If it’s our time, it’s our time. Wouldn’t you rather spend the last few moments feeling the rush of excitement than terrorizing fear?” The reminder that he was powerless in the situation calmed my dad down. That’s what I tell myself when a bit of turbulence sends me reaching out to hold the hand of the stranger sitting next to me.

Now, instead of thinking of flying as something I have to suffer through to get to where I’m going, I try to think of it as a part of the vacation. I bring snacks, my favorite magazines, sketchbook, art supplies and if possible I’ll watch a movie while I craft and snack my way to my destination. I think about the new places I’ll see and people I’ll meet and remind myself that there is absolutely nothing I can do.

Aside from all play and no work vacations like my honeymoon trip to Montreal (where I get into more detail about my fear of flying and similarities between Mr. T [aka: B.A. Baracus] and me), most of my trips are to conference and retreats. Not only do I have to get on a plane but I also have to budget my money and take time off work. BUT, It’s worth it! I talk about why I attend conferences in this post. The connections I’ve made with fellow creatives and skills and tips on running a better business are beyond valuable.

With Craftcation just around the corner, another plane trip is creeping up. Keeping with my philosophy that flying is part of the vacation or in this case working vacation, I decided to give my luggage a little love. Depending on where I’m headed, I carry different sized suitcases and bags. I wanted to create something that I could transfer to any bag, would be durable enough to get tossed around by the airlines and was cute and colorful so I could recognize my bags in a sea of other ones.

Now, the second my suitcase comes down the baggage claim ramp, I see my bright luggage tag, grab my bag and pat myself on the back for completing something that I avoided for so long but that takes me on life enriching adventures.

Want to learn how to make your own vinyl applique luggage tag? Click here to see the how to on the Bernina blog, We All Sew.



  1. Girls idea for the luggage tag is great, except for one hhing: we were advised years ago NOT to put our physical address on any luggage tags. If there is anyone out there with less than pure motives (and there is!) they probably have friends or contacts in your home area who can easily find your empty home, and decide how they’d like to enter…. (We are not listed in the local phone directory, and while thieves can obtain information easily online now, the lack of an address is a definite deterrent.) Our luggage tags contain only our name, city and state, and cell phone number. I share this with you in the event that you might want to rewrite that part of your project.

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