Thursday, March 31, 2016

Quilting: Weekender Bag Tutorial

Hello! I would love to share with you how I make my Weekender bag by Amy Butler. Let's get started!!

Materials List:
-1.5 yards of 42-44" fabric for exterior panels, top, bottom and handles (you should have enough to make the lining for the two small side pockets and the lining for at least one large lining pocket (possibly 3).
-1.5 yards of 42-44" fabric for interior (aka lining in the pattern) (this should make two interior panels, interior top and interior bottom, lining for both the exterior large pockets and both the interior  pockets exteriors. (I didn't make the false bottom, it is a waste of materials in my opinion).
- various fabrics or patchwork to make your four exterior pocket exteriors.
-3.5 yards of ShirtTailor interfacing in place of Shape Flex.
-2 yards of 40" Decor Bond in place of Peltex or Timex, you will need to double cut the decor bond (so cut two pieces everywhere the pattern says to cut one!) except for the bottom panel you need just 4.
- at least 1/2 yard of 40" fabric for piping, see my tutorial on how to make the piping. 
-6 yards of 6/32 rope (found in home decorating section). The pattern calls for 5 yards but I was a bit short..
-steam a seam to make the piping
-a 30" zipper, good luck! I bought 40-44" sports zippers from Joanns and cut them down to size, easy.
-binding clips (seriously!) at least 20!
-a zipper foot (not a piping foot)
-size 14, 16 and 18 needles (trust me)
 -thread (wait! This project takes thread?)
-I left off the plastic from the pattern, didn't use it 😉
-a seam ripper (😂😂😂)

REQUIRED: (haha I wish but this is what I also used):
- a 1/4" foot if you have one
- little house pins to use to pin the pattern pieces on and the zipper on, the rest of the time use binding clips
-Aurifil thread
-creative grids ruler, or two or three 😉
- a Juki TL 2010q (it's awesome for this)
-fabric pencils (chalk pencil)

Things you should know:
1. I changed the size of the straps to 4" by 54"
2. I didn't use a false bottom
3. I'm sewing the interior on way before the end
4. I used different fabrics for the exterior pockets, I did not use the exterior main bag fabric for everything. Take this into consideration when you are purchasing the fabric. However, I believe you will be able to cut the pockets out of the exterior fabric with 1.5 yards if you want. 
5. I added two pockets to the interior of the bag. If you want to as well you will need to cut four more large pockets (2 for the interiors pocket exterior, 2 for the interiors pocket lining). Here's a pic of the inside of my first weekender bag 
I chose to make the exterior of the interior pockets match the interior fabric and I made the lining of the interior pockets a different print. I also plan on making the lining of my exterior pockets different prints, just for fun 😀
6. I chose to make my handles out of the exterior fabric, not the interior fabric. Take this into consideration when you purchase your fabric. 
7. I added piping to the small exterior pockets.

Cutting Guide:
The pattern includes a guide as to how to cut your fabric and interfacing. Well here's my quick guide for cutting the exterior fabric. This is using 1.5 yards at 40" wide. You will be able to cut:
2 exterior panels
2 handles 4" x 54"
1 bottom panel
2 top panels
2 small pockets (I say use these for the lining and do something more fun for the small exterior pockets but it's up to you)
1 large exterior pocket (or like with the small ones you can use this for the lining of one or the lining of an interior pocket). 
I believe you will have enough to cut two more large pockets, or one more large pocket and two more just depends on what you want. 

Interior (aka lining on the pattern):
From the interior fabric cut:
2 large panels,
one bottom panel, 
2 top panels, 
4 large pocket panels (2 for the exterior pocket linings and 2 for the interior pockets exteriors). (Say that 10 times fast)
I believe you would have enough to either cut one more large pocket or two small pockets. The small pockets could be the lining if you decided to use the exterior fabric for the small pockets. It all just depends on how you want your bag to look.

Quick guide:
8 large pocket panels
4 large exterior panels
4 top panels
2 bottom panels
4 side pockets
2 handles 

Cut the following from the ShirtTailor:
2 large exterior panels
4 large pocket panels
2 small pocket panels
6 top panels 
1 bottom panel

Decor Bond:
Cut the following from the decor bond:
2 1" by 54" strips
4 large exterior panels
4 large pocket panels
4 bottom panels

Here's what mine looks like all cut out: exterior

(I'm only doing one pocket on the inside for this bag)

Decor Bond tip: before you iron on the decor bond I cut 1/2" off all the edges to make sewing a lot easier later on. It eliminates the bulk.

Ironing!! My least favorite part!!
For your two large exterior panels you need to iron on 2 layers of decor bond and one layer of interfacing. 
For your two exterior large pockets (on the exterior fabric not the pocket lining fabric) iron on 2 layers of decor bond and one layer of interfacing. 
For your two exterior small pockets (the exterior fabric not the lining fabric of the pocket) iron on one layer of interfacing (yep just the one). 
For your exterior top panels iron on three layers of interfacing on each panel (2 panels)
For your exterior bottom panel iron on 4 layers of decor bond and one layer of interfacing 
For your handles we will iron the decor bond as we make them, so wait

For your two interior pockets (not in the pattern but you added them) iron on one layer of interfacing on the exterior pocket panels 
That's all for the interior. 

You need at least 5 yards, I recommend 6. Follow this guide:

If you need to piece your handles try to make the seams fall 8" or less to the ends of the handles, then the pocket will cover them. 

1. Lay out your handle fabric and press it in half, short side.

2. It is up to you how much you want to fold in your handle. I folded up each edge 1/2" and pressed 

3. Take your decor bond 1" strip and lay it on one side of the center fold, under one of the edge folds (as shown). 
4. Now fold in each edge and then fold in half on the center fold, lining up the folded edges. Slowly press, fusing the decor bond in place. 

5. Top stitch down each side of the handle. I used a size 14 needle, changed my stitch length to a 3 (from my normal 2) and I stitched the side with the two folded edges first, with the decor bond side of the handle facing up. I also used my 1/4" foot to get an even seam.
7. When both handles are done line them up with each other and cut the edges to make them even. (Just a bit). 

Putting the handles on the exterior panels!!
I do this differently than the pattern says, feel free to follow that if you like. 

Lay your first panel on your table and place your handle (double folded edge to the exterior, in the pic I did the left side first, so the double fold is on the left) on the panel. I lined up my ruler with the bottom of the panel, measure 4.5" in. See pic to see how I measure it (I measure from the top of the ruler not the bottom.) just be consistent. Pin in place, just at the bottom

Now pin the other side, just at the bottom, doing the same thing, 4.5" in measuring from the top of the ruler with the double fold on the right now. Don't twist your handle. 

Now let's pin the handle at the top of the panel. This time we line up our ruler with the top of the panel and measure from the bottom of the ruler. 3.75" in. Pin in place. Repeat on other side. 

Using either a fabric pencil or pins measure up 9" from the bottom and then 13" from the bottom. Mark each spot. It's hard to see the white lines in the pic. Do this for both sides of the handles 

Time to sew!! 
I used a size 14 needle, made my stitch length 2 and moved my pressure up one to give me a bit more room.

Starting at the 13" mark sew down the handle following the stitch mark from where you top stitched the handle, back stitch at top and bottom. Then sew across the bottom like 1/8" from the bottom of the panel. Then cut your thread and move back to the 13" line and sew down the other side of the handle. Repeat for other side of the handle. 
Once the lengths are sewed down go back to the 13" mark and sew between the two seams, horizontal to the top and bottom of the panel. Back stitch at beginning and end. Leave the needle down and pivot your panel to sew diagonal down between the seams to the 9" mark. 

Pivot your bag at the bottom and sew horizontal between the seams of the 9" mark, back stitching at beginning and end. Pivot again and sew diagonal making an x between the seams back up to the 13" mark. 
Repeat on other side of handle and on second exterior panel. 

Mark your panels!!
This is going to make your life so much easier. For both exterior panels, fold them in half and mark the back ( interfacing) with either a chalk pencil or a regular pencil. On the two top exterior panels fold them in half and mark them. Fold the bottom exterior panel in half and mark it as well. 

Let's make the exterior large pockets!! 
First add the piping to the exterior large pocket panel. I changed my needle to size 16 and used a zipper foot. 
Hanging the piping over the edge by about an inch, line up the raw edges of the piping with the top of your large pocket panel. 
Push the zipper foot up close to the piping rope part, you don't need to be super close, you will go back over this closer when you put the lining on. Leave an inch at the end hanging off the pocket. 
Now take your exterior large pocket lining and place it right sides together, use binding clips to hold it in place. 
Sew as close to the piping as possible. I like to push my zipper foot basically right up to the rope part of the piping. Use your finger as a guide feeling the piping as you go. Go slowly. 
Because of the decor bond you will have a high fold above your piping once you flip the lining over. Finger press this down 
Your piping should be at the very top of your pocket. 
Still using your zipper foot, top stitch your pocket, 1/8" from the piping. Making sure to keep the lining panel pulled taught so that you don't have that fold sticking above your piping. 

Using your zipper foot sew around the sides and bottom of your pocket, connecting the lining with the exterior. Dont go too far in, you want this hidden later on. 

Placing your exterior large pockets on the exterior panels!!

Lay out your exterior panel and place your pocket on it, lining side down. Use binding clips to hold it in place. 

Starting above the piping, sew down the sides and around the bottom, connecting the pocket to the panel. Do not sew across the top of the pocket. Use the 1" extra piping on each side to help you move the needle over the piping (almost like a little handle) I just kind of grab it and pull it backwards, helping the needle along. Follow the stitch line from when you sewed the exterior pocket to the lining. 

Let's make the small exterior pockets!!
I add piping to mine, I don't think the pattern has you add piping.
You are going to make these just like the large exterior pockets 
Line up the raw edge of the piping with the top of your exterior small pocket panel. Leave about 2" overhanging and use your zipper foot to see along the piping, not too close.
Lay your lining right sides together and sew as close as possible to the piping rope part. I apologize in my exterior pic I showed the lining as navy, but I messed up and used the wrong one, so now it's gray. 
There is no decor bond on the small pocket so you should not have that high fold issue like on the large pocket. Top stitch 1/8" from the piping. 
Stitch around the pocket, attaching the lining to the exterior. 

Making the interior pockets:
I completely forgot to do this on my bag, I had it all cut and ready and then forgot!! So excuse the pics, they are in a different fabric then the rest of the tutorial. 

Take your interior pocket exterior and your interior pocket lining. 
Place them right sides together and use binding clips to hold the top edges together. Using a regular foot, stitch across the top 1/4" seam. 
Fold the lining back, and finger press the top edge.
Top stitch 1/8" across the top of the pocket.
Sew around the pocket, attaching the exterior to the lining. 
Lay your large interior panel right side up on your table. Place your pocket lining side down on top of the panel. Pin in place and stitch around both side and bottom to hold the pocket in place. 
Fold the panel in half and press
Using the crease you just created, start at the top of the pocket and sew straight down the center of the pocket to create two smaller pockets. Back stitch at the top and bottom. Repeat for other interior panel. 

Let's make the zipper!!
I purchased a 42" double zip zipper at Joanns. The only time I broke a needle making this bag was by going into the thick plastic at one end of the zipper. I decided to avoid that this time. 
Unzip your zipper about 4". Go around 3 inches down from the end and stitch back and forth at least 5 times over the zipper, making a new zipper end. Cut off that thick plastic edge but leave a least an inch from your new stop. 

Take your two exterior top panels and use binding clips to pin them right sides together. 
Measure in 6" from each sides (the long side, not the short sides)
Starting at one side, stitch at 1" seam, at a thread length of 2 up to the first 6" mark. Back stitch at beginning and end. Change your stitch length to s 4 and stitch a 1" seam from the 6" mark to the second 6" mark (the center area). When you reach the next 6" mark change to a 2 and stitch 1" seam back stitching at beginning and end. 
Press your seams open
Starting at the first 6" mark, lay your zipper face down (the wrong side of your top panel should be facing up). Make sure your zipper is lined up with the seam. Pin in place. 
Flip your panel over so that the right side is facing up. Using a zipper foot, start at the 6" mark and sew 1/4" from the seam down to the other 6" mark. 
Pivot and stitch across the zipper, back stitch, stitch 1/4" down the other side and then pivot and stitch over the zipper, back stitch. 
Using a seam ripper rip open the seam exposing the zipper. Make sure you can unzip the zipper ok. Trim off the excess zipper

Adding the interior (lining) (what? Now?, yep)
Take your two interior top panels and just like the exterior ones pin them right sides together and mark 6" from each side. 
Stitch from the edge to the 6" mark, back stitching at beginning and end. Do not stitch between the 6" mark. Stitch the other side up to 6" mark. 1" seam. 
Press the seams open and press the unsewn center part with a 1" fold. (As if the entire length was sewn).

Lay the interior top panel wrong side up and lay the exterior top panel wrong side down. Match up the center seam at both edges. 
Pin in place. 
Place the exterior right side up and sew directly on top of the seam you sewed for the zipper, still using the zipper foot. Sew across the zipper and up the opposite side and across. 
You should have a double top panel now that. Looks like this, just the zipper part sewn in, no outside edges. 
Fold up and clip your lining to leave the ends of the exterior top panel clear. 

Sew on the small pockets!!
With your lining pinned out of the way. Lay your small pocket lining side down on the exterior top panel. Pin in place and sew down the sides and bottom. Not across the top. Feel free to use your zipper foot. Repeat on other side.

Adding the rest of the interior panels!!

Unpin the lining you had pinned up. At the bottom edge of the interior top panel pin the interior bottom panel right sides together. Before you sew make sure the exterior top panel is out of the way. Use a regular foot and a 1" seam.
repeat on the other side attaching the bottom panel to the interior top panel.
Take one interior panel and Clip it to the interior top and bottom panels. Use lots of clips and be sure the top and bottom are lined up evenly. You may want to press the bottom panel in half and the large panel to line up the creases. Stitch with the large panel down on the table and the top and bottom panel up towards you, I found it easier to do this way. Use a 3/4" seam allowance and a regular foot. Go slowly. Pin the exterior top panel out of the way when necessary.

It should now look like this, one side and the top and bottom done. Pin the next side on, make sure it's lined up straight. Unzip the zipper all the way. Stitch around it doing everything the same except leave almost the entire bottom edge open.
Here's what it looks like, see the gap at the bottom, that's important. Now your interior is done!! 

Let's finish this!! 

Flip your bag so that the exterior panel is wrong side out. Play with the lining to keep it out of the way. With right sides together pin the bottom exterior panel to the top exterior panel edge, sew with 3/4" seam allowance, repeat on other side. 
Take an exterior panel (I suggest using the one you think may give you trouble)
And line up the pencil marks you made earlier. The top and bottom panels with the side panel. Now you will know they are straight. Change your needle to size 18, turn your pressure all the way to the lowest setting and use a zipper foot. Start where your piping met and with the large panel down on the table sew around the bag getting as close to the piping as possible. Use your fingers to feel where the piping is. Stop and check frequently to see if it's close enough, adjust and stitch and stitch again until your are happy. 
When you get to the piping ends stitch straight across leaving a little v. You will probably have to do it two or three times to get close enough. Use your little handles 😉. 
Once you are completely happy (and not before) pin the other side to your top and bottom exterior panels. Line up your pencil marks. Make sure the zipper is open!!! This is more tricky because it's hard to see. Use a flashlight to look into the bag, through the lining hole to check your corners and make sure they are sewn right. Put the panel down on the table and squish the other one out of your way. Repeat the same steps getting as tight as possible and fixing until perfect. 
Once it's all sewn yours will look like this. Using the hole in the interior (lining) carefully turn your bag right side out. Go slow, a bit at a time. Push your corners out and grab your lining where the hole is. Pin it together and sew it with your machine. Push it down into your bag. 
 that's all there is to it!!