Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Weekender - phew

Weekender by Happier Than a Bird Quilts
Sometimes a project comes along and you just HAVE to make it. Amy Butler's Weekender bag was on of those for me. I kept seeing it everywhere and admired it, but it wasn't until I started seeing the many quilted versions that I knew I needed one of my own. But I was scared. I've sewn a few tote bags, even figured out how to make my quilted wine tote, but those are easy in comparison. I've been quilting for years, I can sew a straight line and all that jazz, but I'm quite the novice when it comes to sewing. I think you can see that in my bag - I love my quilted panels, they are lovely and well constructed. I think I rocked my handles. But the actual construction of the bag could have gone much better (look at those puckery corners um top, or how the center section in general is bunchy. Oh well.).
Weekender Bag in Progress
View details of photos in my Flickr Stream
Some details on my bag:
  • I used Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille. The lining is from Cape Ann by Oliver + S. I bought the solid blue twice and forgot to note what it was both times. My zippers came from Purl Soho (Red, 30" non-separating, and Aqua 10" non-separating zipper).
  • While I did not use the "quilt-as-you-go" method, I follow their tips. I pieced my panels, and then quilted them with a layer of batting between my exterior and a "backing" of canvas. I trimmed my batting 1/2" smaller on all sides. I just quilted as desired, though didn't over do it, and my panels are very sturdy.
  • I made my piping using my zipper foot, which worked nicely. But after I finished I saw a tip about using fusible tape rather than stitching, so you don't have to worry about covering your stitches when assembling the bag. I wish I'd read that tip before, because I would do it, my piping has stitches showing out the wazoo.
  • Straps: I cut three 6" wide x WOF strips. I cut 45 degree angle off one end of two of the strips, then folded my 3rd strip in half and cut a 45 degree angle off of the folded end. I then attached those two halves to the long strips like you would sew binding strips together. They end up about 10" longer than the pattern calls for, which is the perfect strap length I think. (I couldn't find any specifics about strap length, though I knew a lot of people lengthened theirs.)
    Then to make the straps, I pressed each long side 1" towards the middle. Then I folded in so that the final width of the strap was about 1.25" (I believe you fold one side in twice and one side in just one time.) I cut two lengths of canvas 1" wide x length of strap and tucked them inside the layers of folds, and then stitched the handle closed with a straight stitch about 1/8" from the edge, down both sides. I added a decorative stitch, to held stabilize the handle, using a scallop stitch on my machine. 
  • For my center panel I did not do the 6 layers of interfacing. I had one iron on interfacing at home already, and I applied one layer of that. I think I should have added a second, but I wasn't sure how the two compared. I think that mine feels stiff enough, but maybe a little more structure would have helped me avoid my puckering on the corners. 
  • I added a hidden pocket to my lining using this tutorial. I just adapted it to the size of my zipper (10") and wanting to be able to tuck important travel papers inside it if necessary.
  • I machine stitched my lining to the interior of the bag around the zipper. I pinned carefully, then stitched along the same line already holding the zipper in place on the exterior. I stitched the rest of the lining in by hand, but I went skimpy, only doing the bottom sides. 
  • I also added a key fob to one of the small outside pockets, but apparently I don't have a photo of it. =) 
I am glad to be done, and glad to have such a cute bag for traveling. Now I just need to plan a little trip so I can use it!
And now the photo bomb:
Finished Weekender
View detailed photos in my Flickr Stream
Linking up to the Long Weekend Blog Hop, make sure you head over and check out all the lovely Weekender bags! =)
{Yes this is my WIP post for the week. I have a bunch of stuff in progress, of course, but don't want to distract from this pretty post. Tune in next week for my regularly scheduled endless list of WIPs.)


  1. I just love seeing these beautiful Weekender bags ! Yours is lovelyl! And I appreciate the mosaic of your steps!

  2. It's gorgeous! Great job!!

  3. I think you did an amazing job! Great info. Thanks for sharing the details.

  4. You have done a lovely job on your bag. The colours are sew great!

  5. This is beautiful! I love the fabric you chose!

  6. This is beautiful! I love the fabric you chose!

  7. Wow - you did such a great job!! Beautiful choice of fabrics and I love the patchwork front. I am so inspired to make a Weekender bag :)

  8. Love the fabrics and the bag!

  9. I love the tote. I couldn't have picked a better selection of fabric. Very, very nice!

  10. Ok, seriously - this is so awesome. I see not any puckery middles or bunchy anythings - I see a fabulously gorgeous bag! With super awesome stitching on the handles ( like super super awesome). Now for a weekend trip! I must muster up the courage to try one of these!!!

  11. Your bag is fabulous! I've given up on doing a full WIP list too. It's just best to focus on one week in the future ad what I hope to accomplish. Maybe when I have some finishes, I'll let it see the light of day again. :)

  12. Hey, your bag looks fantastic! And it was so sweet of you to write up notes about how it went!

  13. Great write-up of a great project. Where will you be going to use it? ;-)

    1. I'm hoping for a trip to Park City, UT for our anniversary in January.

  14. Love your bag and the stitching on the handles was a wonderful addition. Even though I rarely travel, I want to make this bag. Thanks for all the great pics and insight on your bag making adventure.

  15. Your bag is just darling! Love the extras you added to it too!

  16. Your bag is so adorable, I love those cheerful fabrics! Beautiful job!

  17. This is just candy-colored bliss! I absolutely love what you did with your bag!!

  18. LoVely! I like your handles. Great personal touch! :)


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