My week with the Weekender

I’ve been working on this project for what seems like FOREVER.  Seriously.  It started out because I saw the Weekender pattern at remnants:fiber[culture] and Jessica offered to trade me the pattern for a sample out of shop fabric.  I said sure.  Then we chatted about me teaching a class on it later in the Summer.

I am not a fan of giant bags, but this makes for a good alternative to the backpack I’ve been carrying around for weekend trips.  It’s somewhere between a backpack and a small suitcase.  I’ve heard of some people using this bag for a sewing machine carrier.

Well, the pattern rode around in my car for a month or so.  I thought about making the bag, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to make it out of.  Skip to last week.  Jessica wants a bag to take to Portland for collecting swag.  I offer to make the bag as part of our original deal.  Then the bag proceeds to take over my sewing room and a major chunk of my “free” time.  I was obsessed.

Adustable Zipper FootSince I was planing on teaching a class I decided to use as many of the recommended materials as possible (Shape Flex® SF-101 by Pellon®, 20″ wide Peltex® #70 by Pellon® , Heavy Duty Template Plastic from Prim-Dritz ™).  I only used one sewing machine (things move so much faster when you set up 2 machines with different feet/thread).  I used the every day machine (Babylock 1550) instead of my Necchi work horse.  The one “specialty” item I would recommend having is a good zipper foot.  Not the snap on kind, but the adjustable kind.  You will need it to sew on the piping.  It’s a good investment piece.

A few key things before you start working on this bag.  Decide what modifications you want to make.  The internet is full of suggestions on what to do with this bag.  These are a few sites I found to be super helpful:

The mods will dictate the order in which you assemble the bag.  So planning is key (this is why it took me a week off and on to finish the bag.

Other tips to speed up assembly

  • Read the instructions before you sew.  I skipped this part and made a few “mistakes” along the way.  I went rogue on pattern layout and I had to piece one of the top panels.  I also sewed the bag up without attaching the peltex to the side panels at the beginning.  It made for easier construction, but I had to hand baste them in at the very end.
  • Make continuous bias.  I used a similar tutorial to this one online and managed to make 7 yds of 1.5 inch bias tape. You need 5 yards for the piping.
  • Follow the jenandfranz instructions for making the piping.  It requires having hem tape on hand, but it’s worth it.
  • Cut down the lining by 1/4 inch before attaching the side panels instead of using the 3/4 inch seam allowance that they say to use in step 12 F.
  • You can machine stitch the lining to the bag using the top stitching line around the zipper as a guide.
  • I don’t know that these things sped up assembly, but it helped to have some instant gratification projects while working on this thing.  I made zippered pouches, and a cross body strap.

What I did to trick out the bag?
Exterior-  purse feet, id holder, d-rings, padded cross-body strap, zippered front panel pocket
Interior- zippered pocket under the false bottom, padded laptop pocket, separated panel pocket, zippered interior pocket

I plan on making this bag a few more times before the end of Summer.  I’m sure I will figure out more ways to change up this bag. Here’s the slide show on my week with the Weekender.