Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Done: Weekender Bag

Happy 2007! I hope you all had a good time ringing in the new year. I have some lofty goals for this upcoming year and some musings on last year, but that's for another post because--


(the top looks kind of bumpy. I think it looks crisper when I'm holding it.)

Pattern. Weekender Bag by Amy Butler
Exterior Fabric. Amy Butler, Sunbloom Collection
Cording Fabric. Amy Bulter, Charm Collection
Lining. Khaki Fabric from Joann's

I relied a lot on the tips from other bloggers who made this bag and wanted to give something back to the blogging community, so here are my....


1. Dominating the cording. As the layers increased in the sewing, keeping the cording sandwiched in place became challenging. I had the best luck pinning the fabric together parallel to the fabric edge, rather than perpendicular. Stopping so often to remove pins got a little annoying, but was better than ripping and resewing.

2. Topstitching = Enemy number 1. I don't get it. I can't sew a straight line when I need to, but you could line a ruler up with all my hidden seams. I think a lot of my trouble stemmed from keeping my sewing machine on a rubbermaid container. I was hunched over and without proper leverage. My skills improved greatly with my new craftspace.

3. Pins = Ouch! Prepare to prick yourself a million times. I'm not just talking about fingers, either. I think I pricked my legs just as many times while pinning the rest of the bag. And at least three of my fingernails have big white marks from being jabbed with pins. I look calcium-deprived.

4. Embrace cutting. This bag requires cutting, more cutting, and then even more cutting. Also, read Amy's instructions and actually follow them. Despite whether or not you think your way is better than Amy, just sit back and trust her. My interior fabric was different length than the pattern specified, so I thought I would take matters into my own hands. Famous last words, right? Everything worked out, luckily, but this episode marked cutting as my least favorite part of the process.

5. Let your perfectionist side take over. If you see something that sort of bothers you and you think you can live with it, just fix it! If a component of the bag frustrated me and I didn't feel like reworking it but still wanted to work on the bag, I would just move on to the next part. Two steps later, I would decide I *needed* to fix the shoddy part. It's not always easy to go back.

6. Learn from bloggers. Read other bloggers advice. I can't tell you how many times I read and reread
Steph and Angela's entries from this project. Thanks for the help!

7. Shopping. Plan on shopping around a lot. I went to Joann's three times and still didn't have everything. Surprisingly, I found the missing piece (heavyweight interfacing) at Walmart. Plus, I had to pester the salespeople for help in finding the right interfacing, cording, etc. Salespeople are your friends.

8. Buy more than enough thread. I've read this advice on many blogs, but it's valuable. Thread is so cheap and when can you ever have enough? I think I bought four spools! That might have been over the top, but it made me feel better. Plus, my sewing machine is marked with an evil, thread-eating bobbin. I swear! It's not sewer error.

9. This bag is giant! Seriously, HUGE! I love it.

10. Make interior pockets. Explanation below.

Pockets. I am by nature, the messiest, least organized person. Some people (namely my husband) would go as far and call me a slob. So, one giant compartment with a few side pockets does not give me any help in this area. What's a girl to do? Make more pockets! I knew I'd at least need a zippy side pocket for my keys and cell phone, so I used
this tutorial from Craftster.... It was invaluable, I followed it to a T. Check out my zippy pocket:

Because I had some extra fabric (I accidentally cut the fabric upside down, flipping the lotus flower pattern) and was feeling motivated, I made a three-pocket side compartment on the other panel. To do this, I cut two pieces of fabric the size of the front pockets and sewed the top and sides together. I then pressed & top-stitched the top and sewed the pocket to the main panel. I took some measurements and stitched three pockets, then continued with Amy's directions. The panel pockets (note the flipped lotus flowers):

Fabric for cording. I ran out of the lining fabric, so I had to use some lighter weight Amy Butler fabric I had in the house. It looks pretty sturdy, but I'm not sure how it will hold up over time. My hunch is that I'm in the clear (fingers crossed).

(I think the bag could already use some ironing!)

Overall, this bag was a fun project and it's already seen a lot of use - even before it had a lining. If you're thinking about making it, go for it. Even if you're a beginner sewer, you'll learn a lot. Just take it one step at a time.

Now, it's time to begin bag number 2!

PS - For you all crazy cat people like me, look at Zoe climbing the screen while I was outside photographing the weekender!