It's been 2 years since I started the Weekender Bag (pattern by Amy Butler), and I can't believe I haven't blogged about it yet! It is considered by many quilters, "the holy grail of all quilted bags." It's a challenge, but such a great achievement when you're finished! I wanted my bag to be really special, so I used all of my fabric fabrics that I had in my stash... quirky, bold, colorful prints. I was living in Ohio when I made it, and one of my favorite fabrics is the fussy cut "Ohio Star" at the top of the bag. It's splattered with Eiffel Towers, horses, arrows, anchors, triangles, hexagons, and a tiny little swoon block too.
(photo by Justin Hackworth)
I love this bag because its roomy, sturdy, and a great conversation piece! It travels with me to church every Sunday, and is the perfect size for all the supplies I need to teach singing time to the kiddos. Every so often, I clean it out and take it on a fun trip with me.
(photo by Justin Hackworth)
We had family pictures taken while we were on vacation in Utah, by one of my favorite photographers, Justin Hackworth, and he was so nice to snap a few of me with my newly sewn bag.
A big shout-out to my bestie Ashley for encouraging me to make this bag. I'm not saying I couldn't have made this bag without her help, but I'm saying I wouldn't have! It seemed like sooo much work, and I was afraid of tackling such a big project. But after seeing so many amazing bags on the internet, I was convinced I needed to join the Weekender Bag club. Ashley encouraged me every step of the way, and even came to my house on the night I began to assemble the parts to share her pointers. Boy am I grateful for her!
Here's a behind-the-scenes peek at the construction process of my bag. I made a few modifications, including all of these tips from Ashley, plus a few of my own:
-I used the quilt-as-you-go method, using my FAVE fabrics. Be SURE to use a walking foot if you try this method.
-Added a few personal touches- a swoon block and some hand stitching.
-I overlock stitched the sides of the all the raw edges, including the main panels, large pockets pieces, side pockets, top panels (all the pieces where you did the scrappy quilting).
-I used "seam a steam" on the piping instead of basting it.
-The pattern doesn't add piping to the top of the side pockets, so I added some.
-Per Ashley's advice, I made the handles 8 inches longer, so worth it!
-Added extra stitching to the handles, for extra reinforcement.
-I used oil cloth for the bottom, its so perfect because its a smooth fabric that can be wiped off, preventing it to get dirty and worn. Beware, once you sew though oil cloth, you can't really unpick and restitch since its a non-forgiving fabric.
-I used a home dec or canvas weight for piping, handles, and lining instead of a normal weight fabric.
This is a miniature Swoon Block, sewn with my favorite Liberty print. Thanks to Amanda from Westwood Acres for helping me figure out how to condense the measurements!
To make the panels of the bag, I used a quilting method called Quilt As You Go. This is the most FUN part of the project. It allows you to incorporate all your favorites and quilt them in different directions.
A look at my progress of the panels and side pockets... I hand quilted the hexagons for one of the side pockets.
All my finished quilted pieces.
With the piping and handles sewn on, the bag is ready for the zipper and assembly!
This is where it gets tricky... use pins and wonder clips, sew very slow, and keep going!!! It's totally possible to make this on a regular home sewing machine.
I had quite the adventure when I took my Weekender out for its official photoshoot. There I was snapping away, when all of a sudden a HUGE flock of turkeys snuck up on me! They minded their own business, thank goodness!
They are some of my very favorite creatures here in South Dakota. We see them almost every day. They were so close, I could have snatched one for dinner!
One last look at this side...
I'm not sure which is the front or the back. I like them both equally!
Thanks for joining me on my Weekender Bag journey! I'm off!