Friday, May 2, 2014

Weekender bag, version 2

yesterday I became engrossed in making another version of Amy Butlers pattern for the Weekender bag.   I'm recording what I did differently this time, which might only be of interest to anyone interested in the techniques of bag construction....
I had gotten a turquoise blue zipper, so I pulled out fabrics to go with it.
I even found a little charm I picked up at a junk shop a couple years ago that fit the color theme. I thought I could use it for the zipper pull.
This time I decided to cut down the size a bit from the pattern but to keep the main shape. I made it about 3 inches shorter in height and a couple inches shorter in width.
As with anything, once you've gone through a process,  the second try seems a lot easier.
Again,  I started with the easy part. I made the pocket panels for the two sides, sewing the front and the lining on to some soft and stable foam batting.  
The pattern calls for piping, but that is just a bit beyond me at this point so again I used a false edge of the  polkadot fabric, wrapped around the upper edge of the pocket.
I quilted the two pockets and the two side panels. This time I'm not making a lining for the bag at all. Because of that the quilt sandwich is going to be the front and the back that you will see as the bag is used.
I kept the handles the same as they were on the pattern, just cutting them down a bit in length because of making a smaller version.
It looks like I forgot to take any pictures of how I did the zipper part. I just  sewed it between the two pieces used for the top edge of the bag, adding a 1-1/4 inch strip if fabric to use as a facing to cover the raw edges of the zipper, 
I ran out of soft and stable, so for the bottom gusset I just quilted the pieces onto bit of batting.
I was glad of this later because its  pretty tricky to sew the sides of the bag onto the gusset. The batting was a little more flexible than the soft and stable foam and so was easier to maneuver.  I can't even imagine how hard it would be if you used something as firm as Tim tex, as the pattern calls for.
I sewed just the top part of the gusset onto one of the bag sides at first in order to fine-tune the size of the gusset.
So the main thing that I did differently from the pattern was to omit the lining. In place of it, I put a type of binding over the raw edges of the seams.
On the top edge of the butt gusset, I had cut the lining about three quarters of an inch oversize all the way around.  I just wrapped the excess fabric over the raw edges of the seam and handstitched it down.  
For the bottom half of the bags gusset, the edges of the piece were too messy to do this, so I added in an extra binding strip
This is what it looks like when I folded it right side out. I think it turned out pretty well except that the seams tend to pull in toward the inside.  I think when it's full of stuff and has been used a bit this will go away
However it made me think that maybe if I sewed the bag so that the the seams were on the outside, the finishing binding strips would look like piping... Maybe that's something to try next time.
It seems that making these things can be a bit addictive.
And here's a shot with the zipper pull attached.


  1. that's a really nice bag! i think it was a good idea to quilt to batting instead of using the foam - reducing bulk makes construction a bit easier and makes the bag a bit more useful in the long run, imho. and i really like the idea of the 'reverse seams' - looking forward to seeing you try it!

  2. You are very brave LOL....but it turned out really cute!!

  3. Three cheers for tenacity! This bag looks great. The reverse seams idea seems a very clever way to deal with the piping issue. Take that, Amy Butler!! lol!!

  4. Well, thank you, all. I might have to make a third one at some point, using the seams on the outside idea. Maybe try a different shape.... Handbags are pretty satisfying to make, I think. Molly, I have a book by a Japanese sewer, and all her handbags are quilted onto batting., they look pretty nice.


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