Yes, I may be crazy, but I started the infamous Amy Butler bag. Being in the quilting and sewing community, I had always heard whisperings about this bag, but I didn’t really understand why it was such a big deal. Then I told my sister I would maybe make her a bag using some Joel Dewberry Heirloom that she absolutely loved. Of course, if you knew my sister, you wouldn’t be surprised that the first link she sent me was to The Weekender Travel Bag. I immediately began some research.
And that’s when I found the Flickr support group for that bag. Flickr led me to a number of blogs and I finally understood what all of the fuss was about. I told my sister I wasn’t making her that bag and I still haven’t made her ANY bag. Although that may be remedied in the near future.
However, once I see something challenging, it’s hard for me not to accept the challenge. It’s taken almost an entire year, but I have finally decided to tackle the beast…with the support of some quilt guild friends, some who have already made at least one bag and others who will be attempting this for the first time with me.
This is a VERY spendy project. I knew that going in after reading all of those blog posts. I was able to get a lot of the materials with a Fabric.com coupon, so that was a plus. Also, I’m adding a few extra details so that’s added in additional cost.
Everybody is right about cutting. It takes FOREVER! I had to take a mental break to prepare myself for the rest of the project after all of that cutting. It’s very daunting. I could have most projects finished in the time it took me to cut out all of the stuff for this bag.
Of course, I had some extras to cut so that added more time, but the bulk of the cutting is definitely in the exact pattern.
After cutting, I decided to start on some of my additions. Here’s the list:
1. Shoulder strap complete with clip on hardware that requires little tabs hidden in the side pockets (Inspired by Needle Book.)
2. Interior large pockets – one will be divided in the middle and the other will have an elastic top (Inspired by a thousand different blogs.)
3. Interior zipper pocket hidden behind the divided pocket (Also inspired by a thousand different blogs.)
4. Hidden exterior pocket behind one of the large pockets between the handles (Inspired by girls in the garden.)
6. Handle wrap
7. Shoulder strap comfort pad
8. Dirty laundry drawstring bag (I bought cotton for this.)
Yeah, I know that’s a lot of additional work to an already crazy bag, but I want my first Weekender to have all of the bells and whistles. I plan on making another for my sister depending on the outcome of this bag. I’m pretty positive that I’ll be able to handle it though. I’m good at mucking my way through something.
I’m also making some modifications based on things I read on blogs.
1. Lengthening the handles
2. Adding piping to the side pockets
3. Using a double zipper
4. Adding feet to the bottom of the bag
5. Not using the template plastic
6. Putting the “x” on the handles for reinforcement
7. Using Stitch Witchery for the piping
I started two weekends ago on some of the small stuff. I knocked out the luggage tag, handle wrap, shoulder strap comfort pad, piping, handles, and shoulder strap. I had a little bit of trouble. First, I haven’t worked a lot with home dec fabric. I understand there are different types and this type frays pretty badly. A 1/4″ seam allowance doesn’t cut it. I learned that on the luggage tag. I wish I had some fray check because that would definitely come in handy. I might have to pick some up. Also, there must be some synthetic material in the fabric I chose because I can’t use my iron on the hottest setting like I normally do. It makes the fabric curl up.
I am using my mom’s old machine because 1) mine was being repaired for the whole FMQ issue and 2) it’s heavy duty so I’m hoping it will do better when it comes to sewing the whole bag together. I started using the walking foot because I saw that suggested in a couple of places and after creating the handles and having the WORST time with the fabric bunching, I realized that I’ve NEVER liked the walking foot and should have known better. I switched to a regular foot and the shoulder strap went much better. I was too lazy to redo the handles so the stitching on those isn’t the best. I’m a little pissed about it because I’ve been so careful because I want this bag to be fabulous, but it’s just not worth it to rip it all out and re-do it. I did enough ripping on those handles already.
The piping was also an adventure. I’ve never used Stitch Witchery before and after reading the directions, I was a little intimidated. I tested it out on a couple of scraps according to the directions and it wasn’t working AT ALL. The directions tell you to hold the steam iron over it first to get it sticky and then fold the fabric over. Well, that just totally curled up the Stitch Witchery and then it didn’t hold the fabric down at all. Eventually, after playing around with it, I found a method that worked for me. I had to use steam and I totally burned my fingers a few times, but I got all of the piping done.
That’s where I stopped. Next up: The actual bag!