Done!

I was starting to worry that this would turn into one of those projects forever sitting in my “to be continued” box… But this past weekend I made myself sit down and hand sew the lining in and now it’s really done!

Now that it’s finished, I can take a step back and see what little details should be fixed for the next versions.

Pockets. What kind of bag doesn’t have at least one pocket on the inside??

The bottom of the lining and the false bottom are the same fabric in mine (it conveniently hides the fact that the false bottom doesn’t really want to stay in place). I didn’t bother tacking down the lining in the bottom corners and I probably won’t in future versions either unless anyone can give me a particularly compelling reason too. But I *will* consider adding snaps to the bottom lining and the false bottom to help keep it in place while still being easily removable for washing.

I will also likely raise the height of the side pockets so they match the front/back pockets. I don’t know why this wasn’t already done; I think it looks a bit sloppy with the uneven heights. As mentioned in a previous post, I’ll probably also add piping along the tops of the side pockets to keep them consistent *or* I’ll make the side pockets wider than called for and add elastic to the top for a stretchy pocket to keep water/baby bottles secure.

This shows how the bag warps when it’s being held up with about 10 lbs of items inside. I.E. Not very well. Although there is a horizontal stitch about 2″ below the top of the bag, I have no idea why there wasn’t any additional stitching above because the bag clearly caves in on itself the second you put anything inside and pick it up. Also, I don’t think only two bars of stitching (one at the top and one lower down hidden by the pocket) is really going to do the job if you plan on using the bag for any real travelling.

So, I really recommend just sewing the handles down vertically from top to bottom (though obviously not over the piping). Try to follow the stitching lines that are already on the handle or go all out and use a decorative stitch in an alternate color to make it purposely stand out (I will likely follow this route myself so my  mistakes aren’t as obvious). If you’re really against the idea of the vertical stitching and would rather follow the pattern and only have the two horizontal lines, at least do yourself a favor and have your top line be at the very top.

Also on the topic of handles, I recommend following this tutorial on making a handle grip for your bag. The handles are very narrow and not padded in the pattern and this will make it a little easier to carry if you’re like me and will try to turn this into a Bag of Holding.

And there you go! Some final thoughts on the fabric:

  • I used regular old quilting cotton and had no problem. I’m sure using the heavier home decorating fabric called for in the pattern would help keep things a little stiffer and probably help your bag stand up to a bit more wear and tear, but I’d have no problem using quilting cotton again in the future. I do, however, recommend doubling up on the interfacing if you’re looking for a stiffer bag.
  • Don’t restrict yourself to just using two different patterned fabrics for your bag. Go nuts and get creative! Use remnants and make piping that changes colors over the length or sew a single pocket using three different fabrics. Whatever you want, just don’t feel like you *have* to only do what the pattern says.

I am not the first person to tackle this bag, so the biggest piece of advice I can give you (other than to not stress and do try to have fun while making this) is to learn from the experiences of others. Below are the most useful posts and pictures I could find on the internet from people who made this bag before me. I highly recommend reading through all of them if you’re going to make this bag and write the most useful suggestions directly on your pattern.

http://blairpeter.typepad.com/weblog/2008/07/travellin-bag.html
http://www.elliphantom.com/2006/05/finished_weekender_travel_bag.html
http://www.sewsweetness.com/2011/05/amy-butler-weekender-bag.html
http://girlsinthegarden.blogspot.com/2012/01/amy-butlers-weekender-bag-tips-hints.html http://www.madebybird.com/4-weekender-bags-in-4-weeks/
http://hiuma.blogspot.com/2008/10/first-big-project-weekender-bag.html
http://needlebook.blogspot.com/2008/05/weekender-progress.html
http://craftoholic.blogspot.com/2006/05/my-weekender-bag.html
http://knitlint.wordpress.com/2007/07/14/finished-object-amy-butler-weekender-bag/
http://allbuttonedup.typepad.com/all_buttoned_up/2006/08/the_weekender_i.html
http://www.amyalamode.com/blog/2008/08/06/get-a-grip/
http://www.amyalamode.com/blog/2008/10/31/hipster-gripster-handle-grip-tutorial/
http://dragoknit.blogspot.com/2006/10/done-weekender-bag.html
http://madewithlove-candice.blogspot.com/2009/09/snail-mail-craft-swap-project-revealed.html
http://www.dontcallmebetsy.com/search/label/weekender
http://thehappyzombie.com/blog/?p=515
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=365974.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=198260.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=109789.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=214894.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=225336.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=242776.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=246228.0
http://roadyjane.blogspot.com/2008/10/amy-butler-weekender-bag.html
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=294327.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=296031.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=343406.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=343748.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=304172.0

 Good luck!