Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Weekender Finished - or Ignorance is Bliss

I'm sure many of you have heard of the infamous Amy Butler Weekender Bag and its notoriety for being difficult to assemble. I had never heard of it when I spotted the pattern at my LQS and decided I had to have this fantastic bag. Let me say, I'm glad I was totally unaware. I would never have attempted this bag if I had read all the blog reviews about it and I'm so glad I did it!
This is my 2 year old in the unfinished bag a while back. It's a good reference for how big this bag actually is. I've heard a lot of people use it for carrying their sewing machines - a great idea!


Here's my finished bag! Let me say, I've only made 2 bags and probably about 3 pouches before this so I am definitely a beginner when it comes to bag making. The bags I've made were Lazy Girl patterns too which are fantastic patterns and from what I've seen they are super easy. So if I can make this bag - you can too!
The challenge with this bag - it is not quick. Be prepared to go slowly, be patient and READ all directions (maybe even twice) before doing the step. The lining was a bit of a pita. It's all sewn in by hand. I wish I had hubby snap a picture of me sewing it in the bottom because I literally had my whole upper body in the bag to sew it.

Some details from my experience:
  1. I did not use Home Dec Weight fabric as the pattern calls for. You can get away with this if you want because of all the Peltex and stabilizers used. BUT - be aware, the pieces that the zipper is attached to run from the bottom of one side to the bottom of the other side. Quilt weight fabric will not be wide enough to make these pieces in one cut. I pieced mine together and hid the extra piecing in the side pockets. Hopefully this won't affect its durability.
  2. I didn't like using binder clips as recommended for holding together multiple thick layers (during one step). I found that as I released the clips all the layers went everywhere. I found my daisy head long pins worked well. 
  3. Pretty much all the pins I used for this project are warped and have been thrown out.
  4. I also lengthened the straps so they fit nicely over my shoulder. My strap and binding fabric is Quilters Linen by Free Spirit. I cut the length to WOF which I think was about 54".
  5. **ETA - I forgot to talk about the cording. I didn't sew my fabric to the cording the first time, I used steam-a-seam to attach it. I think I steamed my fingerprints off my left hand, but I'm glad I did it. Each time you sew the cording (about 3 times I think) you get closer and closer to the cording and have to hide the last row of stitches. Using steam-a-seam gave me a little more flexibility and less stress with that step. 
I decided to add a zipper pull to this. I figured with such a big bag it would be nice to find the zipper faster.
I've never done a zipper pull myself before. I followed this tutorial. I am a little nervous about how well it will hold up since it's just bent wire holding it all together. But I have zero experience making jewelry so I have no idea how to make one of these. If anyone wants to share a great tutorial, I'd love to see them!

I'm linking up to Sara's Amy Butler Sew Along over at Sew Sweetness.


Project Stats:
Pattern:  Amy Butler Weekender Bag
Fabrics: Quilters Linen by Free Spirit in Turquoise, 
Laura Gunn - Big Poppy in Aqua and Dogwood in Olive
Date Finished: 8/23/11

28 comments:

Elizabeth D. said...

Wow!!! So super fab, I'm so glad you posted this! I'm about to start on my own Weekender bag, and I will definitely follow your tips and hints! Yours looks so lovely :)

Melinda said...

I think you did a great job! A friend picked up some Amy Butler upholstery fabric for me at a yard sale. Makes me want to use it for one of these!

Linz said...

WAY cute bag!!!

Jacey said...

It's amazing, Becky! I don't think you can call yourself a beginner bag maker any longer! Congrats on a big finish!

Denise in PA said...

Wow, I'm impressed! Love the fabric and love the pull! I've heard the Amy Butler bags can be difficult. I have a Lazy Girl bag pattern to make and I'm terrified - LOL! You're going to look fab on your trip!

AnneMarie said...

I'm starting my first AB pattern for the Cosmo bag. I'm already scared.... from your post, I'm not even going to search for reviews. I like the ignorance is bliss philosophy! Your bag looks wonderful!!

Shannon said...

Your bag looks amazing!! The poppy print is just perfect! I really want to own one of these bags, but I'm not sure I'm up for making one...yet!

Kati said...

That bag looks fabulous! You did a great job. It almost makes me want to make one, although I really have no need for a bag like that.

Issabella The Cat said...

Blinkin' heck woman that bag is out standing! Well done with the print matches too. By the way I love seeing the scale of bags in photos and putting a small child in one really does show it off well...must remember this for future bag making :)

Rebecca said...

Gorgeous bag! Great job!

Irina said...

I love it! Great fabric choice too! I love these poppies and the combination of red and aqua.
I've spotted this pattern and I'm thinking of giving it a try, thanks for your review!

Marci Girl said...

Congrats Becky! It is beautiful and looks fabulous! I don't like using binder clips either, so next time you can try quilt binding clips (or flat clips you put in your hair) and maybe save some of your pins! LOL I sure hope you enjoy your bag and put it to a lot of use for years to come!

Candice said...

Oh my wow!! I've only made one pouch and this just blows me away :) You are incredible!! I love it!!

Patti said...

Congratulations and very well done. Unlike you, I HAVE read all the posts on this bag from other bloggers...therefore, I am way too cowardly to try it yet! And it makes such a cute "child tote" as well...who knew!

clumsykristel said...

Looks gorgeous! What a great use for the big Laura Gunn prints.

I have a book of Amy Butlers and I don't think I'll ever buy a pattern of hers again because I just don't find them user friendly. (I don't know if that's because I'm a newb to that type of sewing, but so many people seem to have issues with her stuff.) It's a shame though because I pretty much always love the results whenever anyone makes anything of hers.

Cindy Culp said...

Gorgeous bag, Becky! Did you already go on your trip? Does this fit under the seat on a plane or does it go in the overhead compartment?

Katie B. said...

This looks so awesome! You should be so proud!

(I'm still scared to try it!)

Laura said...

The bag looks amazing, even if it sounds like making it was a nightmare! I've had the pattern for a while and was wondering about making one for my MIL as a Christmas present, but from the sounds of it, I don't have enough time!

I love your zip pull - such a good idea on a great big bag like this.

Kiera said...

That came out amazing. Very, very nicely done. I may have to attempt this one!

Sara @ Sew Sweetness said...

WOW, this is your 3rd BAG?!? It looks perfect! You did a really great job...I spent a lot of time on mine. But it's worth it, right? And look at your little helper :-)

Jessica said...

Wow!! This is a beauty and loom like perfection, I have been eyein this pattern for some time, just may have to give it a try!!

**nicke... said...

i have wanted to make this bag for a while but haven't picked up the pattern yet. i have my fabric for her messenger bag pattern cut and ready to piece together for a long time... i think it is dusty now...

A.J. Dub. said...

Woohoo for you! Way cute bag and the contents too. :)

Live a Colorful Life said...

Your bag is gorgeous! the fabric is beautiful and the zipper pull awesome! My bag still has not made it to a weekend trip. I'm starting to be friends with it and not have recurrent flashbacks on all the horrors that it caused me.

Kim @ craftyNHmom said...

I love it!! I've wanted one of those for a long time. Seeing yours and reading your tips has really helped. Someday I will attempt it, it looks like it's worth the trouble! Great job!!

Emilie said...

What a great bag! By your comments on it, I don't think I'd have the patience to go through with it, but you did such a great job... and I love your choice of fabrics!

Irina said...

hey, you're not a finalist so that means that you could be the winner! the more I see your bag the more I like it. The fabric is PERFECT for it. Good luck!!!

Debbie said...

This is lovely! Now it's a year later & I am just finishing my own Weekender - now sewing in the lining which is not fun, as you say!

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