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|Amy Butler: AB021WT (Weekender Travel Bag) - Type:Accessories |
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|About rutaliet |
|Member since: 8/10/08 |
|Reviews written: 33|
|Favored by: 12 people|
|patterns reviewed: 33|
|Posted on:||12/29/12 7:48 PM |
|Last Updated:||12/30/12 12:11 PM|
Amy Butler Pattern Info
|Pattern Rating:||Difficult, but great for Advanced Sewers |
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|Having previously made Amy Butler's Sophia bag, I knew what I was in for when I decided that I wanted to make the Weekender. In preparation, I read probably every one of the 40 some reviews posted here and gleaned valuable advice, suggestions, and ideas from them. Here are my additional comments, insights and explanation of modifications.|
Bag Front View
Bag Side View
The Sophia bag was the first structured bag that I ever made so I was very grateful for the detailed instructions included with Amy Butler patterns. This bag follows suit and you can't go wrong if you follow the instructions. There are, however, a couple of recommendations that I would make:
- When cutting out the pieces, the instructions have you cut the main exterior fabric first with the suggestion that you then use these as templates for cutting out the various interfacings. I would suggest that you cut out the Peltex pieces first and before you trim off the 1/2", use these as the template. After all they are nice and stiff with a good tracing edge.
- When making the cording, I would suggest heavily starching your cording fabric prior to cutting. Actually, I cut and join my bias strips based on Sharon Schamber's (award winning quilter) methods. Her techniques are unique but they produce a really good outcome. Here is a link to a VIDEO TUTORIAL(for curved binding but same principles for making bias strips apply).
- When applying the cording to the main panels, I always clip the allowance around the curve. I don't know how else you get it on flat and with a smooth curve: PHOTO
- Wherever the cording intersects a seam allowance, as on the large main pockets, I pull back the cording fabric at the ends and trim out about 1/2" of the cord and then pull the fabric back. If cording intersects cording, it produces an unsightly bump, not to mention adding bulk to the seam allowances that you will need to stitch over.
- I was somewhat stunned by the instructions to overlap the cording at the bottom of the main panels where they meet. I followed the Sophia bag instructions for doing this: pull back the cording fabric on one end, trim out the cord so it just meets the cord from the other side, and then wrap the empty cording fabric around the end of the adjoining cord. Not only does this produce a nearly invisible join, it totally eliminates any extra bulk in the seam allowance. Considering there are several mentions of thickness when stitching, I am not sure why they would have you finish the cording this way. PHOTO
Exterior - a home dec fabric from Joann. I waited for it to be 50% off. I only purchased one yard.
Lining - I had plenty of a mystery fabric left over that I purchased last year and used to make the exterior shell of my PARKA. It is a sturdy, heavyweight acetate, I think. It was unlabeled, from Vogue Fabrics. In any case, it is some form of petroleum product.
Handles, exterior bottom panel, strap tabs - black 1000 dernier pack cloth. LOVE, Love this material for making bags.
- Put cording on the tops of the side exterior pockets
- Added zipper closures on the main outer pockets - I love the large exterior pockets but I had visions of laying the bag down on the security conveyor at the airport and all of the items in the pockets sliding out. No, something needed to be done to keep the contents in the pockets. I considered magnetic closure, thought about various flap options or strap options and then realized that just putting in a zipper resolves the problem without altering the clean look of the bag. My tablet fits beautifully with plenty of room to spare inside the secure zipped pockets. HOW I DID THIS
- Used a 22" purse zipper - First of all, I thought a 30" zipper was too long. In my opinion the bag does not need to open that much and the large opening reduces the capacity of the bag. Second, I don't want to have to reach around the side of the bag, hoping I am reaching for the side with the zipper tab and then having either dig around through the side or open the bag wide just to get into it. A center opening purse zipper allows me to open from the top and even to keep the purse slightly open while carrying it without any risk.
- Added tabs and D-rings on the sides for an optional shoulder strap - I found the perfect heavy duty detachable shoulder strap on one of my briefcases that works perfectly.
- Changed the way the straps are made and attached - Because I made the zipped outer pockets I could not attach the straps per the instructions. But I didn't want to anyway. First I made the straps out of pack cloth, added the swivel clips and secured with rivets. I had some round rings that I thought would work well with the circular pattern of the fabric. I agonized quite a bit about how to attach the rings to the main bag. Finally, I decided to use strap tabs (is that what they are called ?) and realized that I would have to make my own. Again, wanting to match the design of the fabric, I wanted these tabs to be rounded. I started with Photoshop and combined a teardrop shape with a narrow rectangle to come up with the basic shape of the tabs. I brought this shape into Embird, digitized it (which was quite easy) and turned it into an applique embroidery design. I stitched it out with fabric on the top and on the bottom of the hoop making a double-sided tab. I stitched the tabs onto the bag using an open toe foot for optimal visbility, using a invisible thread with a very short stitch length to make sure the curves were smooth. I had intended on putting a rivet into the center of each tab, but one of the rivet installs in the straps went awry so I was too afraid to risk this on the main bag. HOW I DID THIS
- Added organization to the inside - the thought of this cavernous bag without any interior pockets or organization gave me the willies. After overthinking it, I realized that I needed to accomodate various roles this bag will play: weekend road trips, carry-on on flights, project bag. Therefore, I needed a modular approach for the interior and came up with the idea of using a band of heavy duty snaps to use as attachment for any kind of small accessory bags. This way I can modify what kinds of pockets are used inside the bag based on the current function. Additionally, I used mesh to create some interior pockets: a flat zip pocket for undies and delicate items, and two drawstring pouches for shoes, dirty clothes, balls of yarn, fruit, etc. Although I hated working with the mesh, it has the advantage of having some stretch but collapses to nothing if not used. HOW I DID THIS
- Added 6 purse feet
- Did not make the false bottom
- Sprayed a couple of coats of Scotchguard on the finished exterior
This bag is A LOT of work but worth the effort. It almost feels like a piece of luggage. I anticipate getting a lot of use out of it. Just do yourself a favor if you are going to make this bag - buy a box of Clover Wonder Clips !
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