Second Time’s a Charm or….Christmas in September!

First off, thanks so much for all the lovely compliments on Quilt #4. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one that thought it turned out pretty good! You guys are awesome.

I hope everyone out there is having a lovely Sunday afternoon. Yesterday was a really nice day around here. A leisurely morning at our favorite neighborhood coffee shop, where we chatted with some new folks over Kentucky and Kerala (we had all stayed at the same hotel in Cochin!), followed by the start and completion of Christmas gift #2 (soon to appear on this here blog), and then a post-dinner stroll that involved stopping in at the same neighborhood coffee shop to have a cup of tea (or coffee for my husband) and a listen to the excellent band they had in for the evening, Blue House. Just lovely. And today is proving nearly as good. May you all be having days just as lovely!

My sister had a conniption after seeing the photos of my Weekender Bag and insisted on having one for her very own, graciously recommending that I could just make it for her for Christmas. You gotta know my sister (head shaking). At any rate, I decided to start on this last weekend and see how far I could get. Lo and behold, I finished nearly all of it before the weekend was up, and it took only one or two more evenings to completely finish it AND make the matching handle grip to go with it (tutorial for that coming soon, by the way, I promise completed!).

Weekender Bag #2
I can’t begin to describe my shock at getting this done so quickly. I attribute this in part to having made one before and knowing what to expect. But I also attribute it to my new machine and all it’s lovely accessories, which I did not have when I made the first Weekender Bag. I would actually describe the process this time as nearly painless. I honestly thought the worst part was hand-tacking the lining into the inside of the bag, and I usually don’t mind hand stitching. So that’s saying something!

Weekender Bag #2
I have a few tips to pass along to you when working on this project or one like it. First off, if you ever do anything with piping, you MUST MUST MUST get a piping foot (or in this case, since the piping is 1/4″, you actually need a welting foot). Mine was worth every blessed penny of the $15 or $20 it cost. I now think I could put piping on anything!! Last time I was using my old machine and trying to do the piping with the zipper foot, which, admittedly, is what the directions call for. Also, my old machine did not let me move the needle in the direction I needed to. This meant that when it was time to sew everything together with the piping I literally had to do each of the steps THREE TIMES, with the stitching a little closer each time, in order to get the stitching close enough to the piping so it didn’t look like a complete mess. And this time with the new machine, loads of needle position options and the miracle welting foot? Once. Just once. ‘Nuff said.

Weekender Bag #2
Another thing I highly recommend if you make one of these is frequent use of a walking foot (yep — the one you use for quilting!). This works GREAT on all those funky unequal layers — like when sewing a piece of fabric to a thick piece of Timtex. It really is great. Whenever I had lots of layers like that (which is nearly all the time on this project), I used the walking foot and I found it to be REALLY helpful.

Weekender Bag #2
And I even got to do twin needle stitching for the first time. The instructions call for two lines of topstitching on the end pockets, and I thought it was a perfect time to try this. It was fun, even if it was kind of complicated sorting out how to thread the machine. Oh, and one of the threads got caught and I had to do some emergency machine surgery to extract said piece of thread from somewhere between the tension disks and the take-up lever. But no harm done in the end. And fun!!

In case you are wondering, the main fabric on this is from Amy Butler’s August Fields collection. When I spotted this in the store I thought, “That there is Weekender Bag fabric!” The piping, handles, and lining are Anna Maria Horner’s Drawing Room. I actually did not realize they weren’t both from the same fabric line until I got home. They match so perfectly!

Christmas gift #1 completed! Woo hoo!!!!

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10 comments to Second Time’s a Charm or….Christmas in September!

  • gorgeous bag! I love the fabric. My sister request things from me in the same manner 🙂

    Now I definitely want to give this pattern a try

  • Alissa

    I have had the fabric for this bag all cut out for many months now. This is inspiring me to actually MAKE it! It’s truly beautiful – your sister is lucky!

  • Gorgeous.

    I’ve been really wanting to see some of those new Amy Butler fabrics in person.

    I’m so impressed that you made a second one of the Weekender. And so quickly! Thanx for the pointers… IF I ever make another I’ll use them.

  • elliek

    I made this bag several months ago and I love it so much. Yesterday I just began purhcasing fabric for my second one. It’s good to know it’s so much easier the second time around! I actually got the That same fabric (in seafoam) for the interior! The bag looks great!

  • The bag looks great! Your sister is going to love it. I’ve been meaning to make one for myself. Thanks for the handy tips. 🙂

  • kc

    this is unbelievable. i am bookmarking your tips because i’ve made this twice, exercised horrible amounts of profanity, and almost held a pattern-burning in my backyard. normally i love all things a. butler but i swore i would never do this one again. now you’ve changed my mind. a couple of new feet and a promise to cut back on the swearing are all that keeps me back! thank you, thank you!

  • Amy

    I’m just popping over from your link on Sew Mama Sew…

    What a gorgeous bag, and such perfect fabrics. Amazing that they go together so well when they’re from two different designers. Sound like you’ve got a great sewing machine. I’ve avoided piping so far, but I guess I’ll have to just hunker down and learn how to do it 🙂

  • Sheila

    I have problems fitting multiple layers of thicker fabric under my walking foot. Is there a secret to it??
    I can do many layer of lightweight fabric but not the heavier weight that we use for sewing purses.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  • I’ve had the pattern for this bag since August ’08, hoping to get the courage to start it. I’m still stuck at getting fabric for it. I’m inspired by your choice!

  • fantastic post and an amazing illustration,Thank you for this post.Wonderful design and a wonderful display of colors and moods in the text.

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