I am so relieved, I am finally finished with my “secret” project... And it has been gifted, so that means I get to share it with all of you. It was really hard not to share it with you along the way, but I wanted to make sure it was a complete surprise for Miss Dawn. And it was. And she loved it.
Presenting Dawn’s Weekender Bag. I made it with her wedding colors, brown and blue. I thought what does a fashionable bride-to-be with a destination wedding need? Well, a matching carryon bag. And since I had been wanting to try Amy Butler’s scary Weekender Bag pattern for a while, this was the perfect opportunity.
You know how I said scary in the last sentence, that is the truth. I had myself so hyped up and nervous before I started that I procrastinated a bit. Goodness, I have had the fabric since November... And I started the process a month before the wedding. Smart. I took a day off to focus on cutting out all the fabric and interfacing. I am glad I did. It was a big job and I had to do it on my basement floor, so my back was not happy the next day from all the up and down. I totally need a counter height cutting table. For the sewing, I broke it down into pieces, 1-2 hours of sewing at a time. It made me think, why was I so scared? Well, I figured that out when it came time to sew all the big pieces together. I broke three needles and almost wanted to throw my sewing machine across the room, but I didn’t scream! I ended up having to hand sew a few spots in order to get the stitches close enough to the piping. Sounds awful, but it was less stressful that messing with the machine. Plus, I was able to do that while relaxing on the sofa.
All in all, seeing the finished product has erased some of the pain. It makes me want one of my own, but I doubt I will ever try again... I may try a Betty Shopper or a Messenger Bag instead. But for now, I am going to stick with smaller, more manageable projects.
Some more Weekender Bag notes:
- Match your thread to the background or main fabric color as closely as possible. Do not use thread as an accent. Sewing through the interfacing (I used Pellon) makes the needle pop around a little bit. I tried brown first and quickly switched to blue. Imperfections were much more noticeable with the brown.
- The Front Pockets instructions tell you to sew a 1/2 inch seam when attaching the interfacing to the fabric. I suggest a 3/8 seam. This will help you when you go to sew all the pieces together. It is really hard to get a perfect 1/2 inch seam when you are attaching all the pieces, so it may be hard to cover up that first seam. I did a little bit of stitch ripping out once I was finished – this might save you from that.
- When sewing the front to the sides, I had trouble getting a 1/2 inch seem tight to the piping. The heaviness of the materials kept pulling the bag down and away from the machine. If you have a long arm or quilting extension... Or even a stack of books to the left of your machine to rest the pieces on, it may help.
- Plan to spend a long afternoon cutting and take extra time to match up patterns. To do this buy a little extra fabric.
- Pinning is hard as the fabric thickness increases. Get out a thimble and strong needle so you can hand baste with big stitches. It seems like it will take more time, but it actually lets you sew faster and not worry about having to remove the pins as you go. Plus it will save your hands and fingers from extra pin pricks. I had a few of these injuries along the way.
- Baste your zipper in too.. This is how I learned way back when and it is the best way. You will get a straighter stitch line when not stopping and starting to take pins out... Or worse, sewing over them.
- Lastly, this is an expensive project in both time and materials, plan to spend at least $60 (would have been more if I didn’t use my fabric store coupons) on the supplies (décor fabric, zipper, interfacing, piping, thread) and about 12 (or more) hours working your sewing magic. Luckily Dawn is such a great person and good friend, I knew she was worth it all along. Only make this for someone you know appreciates handmade things.