I just finished making my Amy Butler Weekender Bag!!!!
(This post is a bit picture heavy. Sorry! What can I say, I love documenting my projects.)
I have seen these bags all over the blog world and when a friend made hers, it gave me the itch to make one also. So, I jumped in feet first. Well, really wallet first…this is a pricey bag to make! But, its something that I really enjoyed doing and it will give me great pleasure when I travel to know that I am carrying a bag that I made and not some cheap-o import.
I used Amy Butler’s LOVE line, the exterior is Paradise Garden in Midnight (a navy blue background) and the accents and lining are SunSpots in Midnight. I got it all from Fabric.com. I have never used a twill home decor type fabric before and it was really no different from a quilting cotton, only a bit thicker. Very nice to work with.
Starting at the beginning, this bag uses a lot of interfacing. At first, I thought everyone was just exaggerating in their blogs when talking about the interfacing. Nope, no exaggeration. Add this to the fact that I messed up and ended up double interfacing almost everything means that I used a LOT of interfacing. At almost $5 a yard in the store, I was jumping for joy that I had found a bolt of it on Overstock.com for $20. Having all that extra really saved my behind in the construction of this bag.
I ended up buying a piping foot before I started and I have to say that it made the cording actually easy to do! I wouldn’t have a care in the world to make cording again using that piping foot. It has a groove built into the underneath side of the foot that allows the piping to travel in and it keeps your needle nice and tight against the cording. Also, instead of sewing a basting line to hold the cording together, I used a nifty little product called Stitch Witchery. I found it at Wal-Mart and it is a double-sided fusible tape that meant that I didn’t have to worry about covering any sewing lines while making the bag. Made it much less stressful.
Cording added to the first outer pocket:
This is the top of the bag that contains the zipper and the side pockets have been attached:
Front & Back Panels with the pockets and handles attached and the cording has been basted on:
The directions wanted you to do the handles in the dots but I felt like they would be too flashy with the main fabric and I wanted everything to look clean and nice with just a pop of the accent colors. So, I made the handles out of the exterior fabric and I am so glad that I did. The dots are nice but very overwhelming in large quantities. (See the lining picture below)
The one thing that wasn’t as bad as everyone said it would be was the sewing of the main panels to the side/bottom panel (see pic below). I was afraid that there would be a ton of bulk and that I would have a lot of trouble. I really didn’t have much at all. Sure, it got bulky but with a size 16 needle and my piping foot, it came out really nice looking. The piping foot really allowed me to crowd the cording and get a nice tight seam. The only issue was the corners…I had trouble with the fabric bunching up there but in the end, I am the only one that will notice it so I didn’t worry and kept on going.
This is what it looked like after sewing the first panel to the top zipper & side pocket section. Also the bottom of the bag was attached at this point:
The lining was sewn in by hand. The directions state to just sew in the top but I have read and heard that the lining can pull itself down when the bag is full. So, I sewed up all 4 sides of the lining to the exterior bag and than twice across the top (once at the zipper and once a couple of inches below that at the seam line). I am hoping that it holds up. I think it will. It’s in there pretty snugly.
You can also see the zipper that I added. It took some figuring out but after scouring the internet for tutorials and using some of my own brain power, I got it in there:
This is the lining after getting it all sewn in. You can see on the left that I also added a couple of larger pockets. The main pattern didn’t have any and I felt that it needed a couple. (The bottom panel was supposed to be dots also but I forgot to cut it out and I ended up just using a scrap piece that was already cut.)
Side view of the zipper and you can also see the cording a little better:
I had a great friend give me some laminated fabric that she already had that was the exact same color and design of the one I was using for the exterior. So, I used that for the bottom. That way, I don’t have to worry about the bottom being wet or dirty. I can just wipe it right off.
I did a couple of things differently than the directions stated. I made the handles 7″ longer each and an inch wider. I wanted to be able to put it over my shoulder when we travel. I also added the internal zipper pocket and a couple of simple pockets on the inside.
The one thing that I would recommend doing completely different would be to interface in the bottom panels instead of sewing a pocket and inserting them later. Mine is very bunchy and it feels like crap. You can’t tell by looking at it but it’s my one regret. I debated on not following the directions there and I should have listened to my instincts…lol
All in all, it wasn’t the torturous experience that I thought it would be. Once everything was cut and interfaced, it went together fairly quickly. It is a HUGE bag though. I should have taken a picture of me holding it. It would definitely count as a carry-on if you were flying.
I have fabric to do another Amy Butler bag but I am running low on interfacing and I figure one large bag is more than enough for now. That one will get put to the side. I do have a couple of small travel zip-up pouches that I want to do. I also have a long list of quilts to get started on. Plenty to keep this girl busy.