Monday, April 13, 2015

Brass & Baubles ~ Weekender Bag

Does anyone else have a sewing bucket list? ... or is that just me....

The Amy Butler Weekender Bag has been on my sewing bucket list FOREVER. It is one of those projects that has become sort of an urban legend among quilters and bloggers everywhere. It is known for being very difficult to sew because of all of the thick layers of fabric and interfacing you need to work through at the same time. Well... I finished mine. 

I had to order the pattern online because it is one of Amy's older projects and can be really difficult to find. I used fabric from Carolyn Friedlander's Doe fabric line and a coordinating solid to put it together. I also used the quilt-as-you-go method instead of using layers of Peltex as directed by Amy. Here are the things I learned while making this bag:

~ Quilting your fabric onto a layer of mid weight interfacing and batting gives you more than enough stability and structure to avoid having to buy and use expensive Peltex

~ Make the straps longer and wider than the pattern calls for. Mine are at least 9 inches longer and and 2 inches wide.

~ Make extra pockets in the lining of your bag. I added one large pocket and two smaller ones. Now that I have been using the bag or a while I would probably add a full divider as well. 

~ Don't use pins. The layers of fabric are too thick for pins so I ended up using my clover clips to hold everything together as I stitched. Small binder clips would also work well.

~ Use a zipper foot or piping foot to get close enough to your piping. My Pfaff also allowed me to use the built in walking foot at the same time..... suuuuper helpful. 

~ Use a denim or leather needle and sew SLOW. 

~ I used a solid for the bottom third of my main panels. I knew that it would be hidden by the pockets and didn't want to waste any of my prints.

~ I made the piping using a fusible tape instead of stitching it. This gave me more leniency with my stitch line when putting the bag together. 

~ Add additional stitching to your handles. I stitched all the way down to the bottom o the handles and added X strengthening stitches. I also used my doubled back straight stitch for this portion. 

Hopefully some of these tips will help you out if you decide to make your own. Here are some photos of the process:

My Mini Block

Pocket Progress

Finished Pocket

Quilting Detail

Side Panel

Adding the Piping

Fully Completed Side Panel

Additional Stitching on Handles for Stability

Sewing on the First Side Panel

Using Clover clips to hold the bag together as I sew


Mrs. E

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