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Topic: Garden of Eden weekender bag!! (and a tip for "pinning" through thick layers)  (Read 6505 times)
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« on: December 01, 2010 02:14:06 PM »

Whew!  I finally finished assembling my first Amy Butler weekender bag!!   (And I leave tomorrow for my holiday!)  Grin

I didn't really make any modifications to the pattern, except that I added 6" to the length of the handles so I can put the bag over my shoulder easily, even if I'm wearing a bulky coat.  As many who have made this bag before me have commented, this is both a challenging and expensive bag to make.  For both the lining and the exterior I used decor fabrics that were on clearance at Fabricland ($5.00 - $6.50 per metre), and I also got 50% off the interfacing, peltex and zipper... so it wasn't nearly as costly to make as it could have been, but it definitely takes a lot of fabric and interfacing to make a weekender.  And it took me an evening just to cut it all...

Construction-wise, I didn't need to use a walking foot at all to keep the layers from bunching up, but that's probably because of the way it was all "pinned" and fused.  I did use my adjustable zipper foot a lot, and it did a great job of crowding the piping nice and tight.  My Janome JS1022 didn't have any problem with sewing through the thick layers of fabric, peltex and interfacing, but it still wasn't easy at all... I definitely had to wrestle with the bag during final construction to feed it through the machine.  I only broke one needle, and I think that had more to do with the way the bag was pulling away from the machine than with the thickness of the layers.  I used fusible tape to make the piping, as was recommended by many other craftsters.  

One of the things that was helpful in managing all those layers was a tip I learned from a marine upholstery video (11:55) I watched on sailrite -- I used staples instead of pins to hold everything together.  If you want to try this technique, you'll need a really good office stapler (the kind that can staple 50 pages together) and a staple remover that won't pinch and pull at your fabric too much.  Here's what I used:

It was pretty easy to sew the seams leaving the staples in, since they didn't hinder the presser foot or feed dogs at all, and they were easy to avoid running over with the needle, especially if I stapled only half-way into the seam allowance.  Then, after each seam was sewn, I just removed the staples from my fabric.  This meant that I wasn't constantly poking myself with pins while sewing the bag together, and it was way easier than trying to force pins through the layers of peltex and interfacing.

The part that was most difficult for me was attaching the lining... First I machine stitched the long seam allowances of the the top and bottom of the lining to the corresponding seam allowances of the main bag, and then I started slip-stitching the lining to the zipper as per the instructions.  I may have gotten 2 inches in before I wanted to scream out of pure frustration.  So I got creative.  I sandwiched some fusible tape inbetween the lining and zipper, holding it all in place with staples (what else?)... then I pressed it all together using an oven mitt to hold the seam up against my iron.  Kind of crazy, but it worked.  I'm not sure if it will hold, but if the adhesive fails, I can always slip stitch it later.  Here's a picture of how I attached the lining:

Despite all the challenges in making this bag, I can't wait to make another!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010 02:18:01 PM by cricket416 - Reason: typo! :) » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2010 03:07:23 PM »

so brave.  i'm terrified of the weekender. Smiley

yours looks great. i like the piping contrast...

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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2010 04:23:48 PM »

Your bag is gorgous!  I have this pattern on my to-do list...... but given how everyone says it's so difficult I've been a little intimidated by it, but one day, I will have my own weekender bag!!
Great job again!!

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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2010 05:50:04 PM »

great job on the weekender bag.  thanks for the tips.  i need a new bag and think i might make this one again.  i have made this one before. 


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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2010 07:35:10 PM »

This bag is absolutely stunning! The fabrics are gorgeous, the design works out well for them (you lined up the images so well on the top and bottom parts!)! What a dream bag!

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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2010 03:57:10 AM »

Thank you!

I don't think this pattern qualifies as terrifying... just challenging.  For terrifying, see here.   Grin  In fact, it's quite do-able as long as you take your time and have a few tricks for dealing with the un-fun parts, like wrestling with final construction and attaching the lining.  The rest of it was fine... so don't let it psych you out. Wink

The design was pretty easy to line up, because I used tracing paper for pattern pieces.  Before I cut one of the main panels, I traced a few elements of the pattern onto the tracing paper.  Then, I would line up those elements when cutting the front pocket.  That way, both pieces are cut on the same repeat of the pattern and would line up no matter what. 

« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2011 04:31:08 AM »

this is so beautiful!!
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2011 10:25:53 AM »

STAPLES! Genius! I'm definitely going to keep this in mind next time I have to pin crazy amounts of layers of thick fabric and interfacing hahaha this will reduce the number of crooked needles lying around my house for sure!

And great job on the bag, it shows that you put time an effort into it Cheesy now off to enjoy your holidays!
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