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Reveal & Pattern Review – Amy Butler’s The Weekender travel bag

Today’s post is a part of a series called The Quilt Maker’s Toolkit, showing and teaching about the products I use while I make my quilts.

There are no products in this series that I do not use and use often, though sometimes my opinions may change as I grow and move along in my journey of quilt making.  To view all posts in this series click here.




What do you think of when you are thinking of the greatest feat when it comes to making a quilt?

Is it a Lone Star quilt?  Maybe one of the Farmer’s Wife quilts?  Or maybe an English paper pieced hexagon quilt?  All of those are huge endeavors of time and patience.

BUT if you were thinking of the quilted bag of all quilted bags, you think of The Weekender.

Amy Butler fabrics were the first fabrics I was drawn to when I first started making quilts.  Nine years later, they are still high on my list.  The florals!  And super saturated colors.  That’s what Amy does.

I’ve made several of her patterns and always loved them.

This pattern though.  I think you can look at this bag and just know it’s complicated.  Look at that cording.  The pockets.  The super long zipper.  Plus, this bag is HUGE.

It is also sublime!  The first time I saw this bag it went on my ‘someday makes’ list.

I have heard that it’s complicated.  I have heard some tales.  I have also seen the pinterest page for incredibly pieced and quilted Weekender bags and if that doesn’t convince you to go for it I don’t know what will.

I am always amazed at people’s creativity.  I get so inspired by other makers.

So I bought this pattern last November.  I wanted to make this bag for my mother in law for Christmas, then one for me and then one for my own momma.  I wanted it pieced and quilted, just like a quilt.  Cause that’s what I do!

My mother in law travels a bunch, so I thought this would be perfect, but time gotta away from me and I ended up not making it.  Then time kept passing.  And it was suddenly her birthday, so I thought I’d make her one then, but no, I procrastinated and procrastinated until the day before we were supposed to meet her for lunch.  Then, of course then, I would decide to make this bag.

Yesterday: the day before we were to have lunch with my MIL.

I had to bed time to finish this bag for her.  I posted this on IG and everyone was telling me I was crazy.

They were right.

The Plan

So the plan was to use orphan blocks to make the panels.  I have SO MANY orphan blocks in an assortment of colors.  I thought this would make things move quicker and it did to a point, but it also was kinda difficult, because I needed to make things fit certain places.  I managed though.

I also wanted it to be quilted and super sturdy.  No sense in doing all this work for a bag that wouldn’t last.

Michelle from Cole and Taffy told me she had some tips on making this pattern on her bag and I found it SUPER helpful.  Her bag was amazing!  But her skills on bag making far out passed mine.  Her bag had feet.  How clever!  And her bag also had zippers that met in the middle.  So cute!  I didn’t have those supplies, so that was a no go for me.

BUT she did mention lengthening the straps to 55″, which I did and am glad about.  She also linked to a post from Elizabeth Hartman about making this bag.   And that was very helpful, because it gave me the idea for the cotton duck.

In case you don’t know, cotton duck is super sturdy.  Think military bag materials.  That’s what it reminds me of.  And I had a whole bolt of the stuff.

So I layered the cotton duck, my batting, and the quilt panel.  Then quited with the skinny wonky lines, and THEN cut my front and back using the templates from the pattern.

This part was easy.  To be honest, the whole pattern was well written, and easy to understand.  Every step was completely do-able, manageable.  There was just A LOT of steps, and most of them were time consuming.  I rarely make bags, and I promise if I can do this, ANYONE can.  I have no bag making skills whatsoever.

If I hadn’t have squeezed all of this into a single day, I might have enjoyed it more (I did enjoy making this bag, but there were a few steps that I thought would be the death of me).

Here is how my evening went:

3ish pm:  decide to make the weekender bag

5 pm: still quilting panels

6 pm: cutting out pieces and lining

6:30 pm:  I think this is going to take a long time to make

7 pm:  at the beckoning of my husband, I reheat leftovers of last night for dinner.

8 pm:  What was I thinking?

9 pm: Why am I giving this bag away?

9:30 pm: start putting the exterior together

11:30 pm: finishing putting the exterior together.  OMG.  Broke 5 needles during this step.

12 am: sewing together lining

12:30 am:  pinning interior inside exterior

12:45 am: gathering thread and needle to do the last step.  The slipstitch

3:09 am:  done.

The cotton duck made this bag very hard to sew, but it also made it very sturdy, so I don’t regret using it.  I do wish I had a denim needle on my machine.  That might have made all the difference.

The corners are where my needles kept breaking.  I was just using 80/12 and 75/11 size microtex.  Bad choice, but all I had.

I used cotton webbing for my handles, that saved some time.  But I love these for bags, because it holds up well.  Doesn’t show dirt and I like how it feels.

My bag is mainly made up of blocks from the Farmer’s Wife, that I sadly never finished.  I think I had made 16 of the blocks and then quit.

It features several Heather Ross prints as well.

The rest of the bag is just scrap pieces that I just sewed together until the panels were big enough.

For the cording, I used a Tasha Noel fabric.

Oh, and on the bottom I used my cotton duck.  I used it because like I mentioned before it’s sturdy and it doesn’t show wear or dirt much.  I didn’t want to put something pretty on the bottom and then get mad when it gets dirty.

The interior is Anna Maria Horner fabric. A sturdy linen that I’ve had a bolt of for years now.

Remember that last step?  The slip stitch?  Well that was a nice surprise at the end of this pattern.  You had to hand stitch the interior in place.  It looks amazing, but it took me two hours.  My fingers still hurt the next day.  I had to put my fore finger on ice.  It’s my own fault though for rushing.  I know.

I feel like I’ve joined some club of incredible quilting feats.  Ha ha!

This was the first time I’d ever done anything with cording.  I really like how cording looks.  It really makes this bag, I think.

Okay.  Confession time.  You know I made this for my MIL, right?

I cannot tell you how much I love this bag.  And it’s so me, I think.  This morning I showed my husband and he says to me, “you know she is not going to appreciate that the way you do.  She’ll probably stick it in a closet.  You should keep it.”

I did not need much convincing.  I kept it.  BUT I gave her a beautiful quilt instead, which is what she really wanted anyway.

I’m horrible, aren’t I?  I feel horrible.

When she opened up the quilt she squealed with delight, so that makes up for it, right?

Make me feel better, people!

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