Amy Butler Weekender Bag

I finished this bag yesterday and breathed a huge sigh of relief. I have made many bags before, but this is the most difficult. The multiple layers of Peltex interfacing you need to sew through, combined with the cording, make it really tricky (although, this is the last step in assembling the exterior; getting through all the other steps is not difficult. Really.). The only thing about the cording is that when sandwiching it between the layers, if you need to sew through it with the Peltex side on top (which you’ll have to do at some point, because you’ll need to wrangle it through your sewing machine differently at different times), it’s really near impossible to feel where the cording is, so I felt like I was sewing blind (I just kept sewing closer and closer to the center, and kept checking, until I felt I had sewn close enough). Anyway.

Here’s my lovely cording.

Fabric – I used 1 yard of Anna Maria Horner Garden Party Tablecloth in Ice for the exterior. The thing about that is, the pattern called for 1-5/8 yard for the exterior. How did I make it work? I used a Kona solid for the reverse sides of the pockets (there’s that big pocket on the front of each side, and also a pocket on each of the sides). I usually don’t follow the cutting instructions because I feel it wastes a lot of fabric doing it that way (no matter what the pattern). If you’re going to do it like this, make sure you lay out your pieces before you cut.

For the straps and cording, I tried to get as close to the color yellow on the Anna Maria Horner fabric as I could. The Kona solid was a teeny tiny bit more green than yellow, but close enough. I used the same fabric on the exterior. The pattern also calls for cotton cording (which you’ll sew your fabric around), Peltex interfacing, and woven interfacing. The zipper is a 30″ zipper (or you can buy a larger one and trim it down), and I got a nifty “sport” zipper with the big plastic teeth, like I used on my childrens’ hoodies. It’s pretty awesome with the bigger zipper (you just have to make sure to sew a bigger seam allowance while attaching the zipper to the top panel, so you have enough fabric to sew it down onto).

Pattern Pieces – There’s only 3 pattern pieces to cut out (the main/pocket panel, the side pocket, and the top panel). The strap and bottom panel are cut from rectangular measurements. It’s so nice not having a zillion pattern pieces to cut out. :-) Although all the interfacing makes up for it (bags always take so much interfacing…much more time consuming, but I always love a stiff bag, so definitely worth the extra effort).

Illustrations/Instructions – I had an old version of the pattern (the version with the Kokka Sunbloom fabric on the front cover), so there was a lot of errata on Amy Butler’s website. Most of the changes involve the switching over from Timtex to Peltex. When I got the pattern, I wrote all the changes right on it so I wouldn’t have to keep referring over to the site. It’s not that big of a deal (although the changes look pretty massive on the site, lol).
As always, Amy’s instructions are pretty impeccable. Yes, this bag can be challenging at times, but I didn’t have a problem understanding any of the instructions. The challenge is mostly the issue I already mentioned, with sewing the exterior together. I don’t think that should keep you from attempting this pattern, though! I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern, but what I did do, was when I got to the tough part of assembling the exterior pieces, was that I gave myself 3 days (probably 3 days to do what I could have done in an hour or two, lol). I sewed about a 12″ section (that is, sewing through the front, back, top panel, and cording simultaneously). Then I stopped, watched some tv. Came back and sewed another small section. Had a snack. The next day I sewed a corner. That was the toughest, so I did both corners in one day and that’s all I did. Basically, I’m saying to tell yourself going in that you’re going to take it easy. Do yourself a favor, so you don’t need to have a drink to calm your nerves (just kidding).
The bag has a false bottom, and instead of putting a piece of quilting template into it (another thing to buy), I used 3 layers of cardboard. I mean, you’re not going to be washing the false bottom either way, so it really doesn’t matter what you use. I used this same method when I made the Amy Butler Cosmo Bag (this one doesn’t have a false bottom, but it’s a gigantic bag so I thought it could use some extra stability in the bottom, so I could put a lot of stuff in the bag), and it worked beautifully.
Conclusion – I would say that this is going to be for an experienced seamstress. I am so in love with how this bag turned out (and don’t worry, those little creases in the exterior are from turning it inside and outside so many times, from checking many times to make sure my cording was sewn close enough. They smooth out the more the bag gets used). I saw on Amy Butler’s site that people are using this bag for putting their sewing machines into…genius! It does fit my sewing machine, which makes me really excited! If only I had a sewing friend in real life (I can’t join the quilt guild here in Chicago, their meetings are always when I am working on Sundays, boo!!), I’d be all set to take my sewing machine somewhere fun! :-)
On a side note, my husband is downstairs shaking the house with all his screaming (nope, not what you were thinking), so go Chicago Bulls. 😉

P.S. I’m linking up to Sew Modern Monday and Fabric Tuesday!

31 thoughts on “Amy Butler Weekender Bag

  1. GREAT review! I have it in my stash, someday I’ll tackle it. I sometimes do what you do with taking breaks for difficult parts. It really does help!!! I’m still working on the Birdie Sling! :)

  2. This turned out so great! I made Amy’s Everything Bag back before my daughter was born, and I swear I spent more money on interfacing than fabric! But I agree, her patterns are awesome and make for a really really well designed bag. Congrats!

  3. Fantastic bag! I’ve wanted to make this bag since I first saw it but have decided it is wiser to wait until I’ve made a few easier bags!

  4. Oh wow! I’ve had this bag and the fabric I selected (Laura Gunn’s Poppy) in a bag on my floor for about 3 months now. Now I really want to get to it! Yours is fantastic. And people put their sewing machine in it!? AWESOME!! thanks for all the tips.

  5. You know, I have this pattern, and it’s intimidated the heck out of me since I’ve had it. Cording is SO not my friend. Yours turned out lovely, though, you’re making me want to brave it!

  6. wow to the zer… I think that everytime I see someone actually tackle that Weekender bag. It seems like one of those pinnacle bags – you know, you only make it once! Looks fantastic, the fabric choice couldn’t be better!

  7. Looks nice & roomy! Great idea to use it for a carry-bag for a sewing machine. I always kind of worry that my straps won’t be attached well enough to carry anything so heavy.

    You do such a fantastic job getting your pattern to line up on either side of the piping on the outside!

  8. I’ve been wanting to make this bag for awhile as well, but the total fabric requirement is a bit intimidating. It also calls for 2 5/8 yards for the cording, lining and handles. Did you find that to be accurate or too much fabric?

  9. Lovely! I have had this on my project list for a looong time now. Seeing your beautiful (finished!) bag is very inspiring. I may have to finally get mine started now. :) Thanks for the heads up about the errata as well… I would have never even thought to check!

  10. Great bag! I made the Amy Butler Messenger Bag and it was a project for sure! I likened it more to fabrication than sewing! Your bag looks totally professional!

  11. I am laughing soooo much happy, funny laugh
    because I thought I was the only one who took breaks to watch tv,
    eat a snack, in between the project making you scream AHHHH
    you are DEFINATELY inspiring!

  12. I’m thinking of making this bag using an Amy Butler laminate. I’ve had the pattern and fabric for a while so that takes care of my excuses. I travel back and forth to CA several times a year and think this bag would be a great carry on and the laminate would make it wipe off safe.

  13. This looks great!! I also find that AB patterns call for way too much yardage. Now I’m a little disappointed I didn’t pick up this pattern on the shop hop a few weeks ago …. and I’m also in the Chicago area!! I’m enjoying your site a lot :)

  14. Beautiful bag! I hope to make one… What you said about sewing in your piping feeling like “sewing blind” made sense. You were sewing blind. The way to know where the piping is, is to machine baste it on first with the piping on top, where you can see it. Use a zipper foot to get close enough to the cording. Then when you sew the bag together from the other side, you just follow your stitching line you made when you basted the piping on. Comes out perfect.

  15. Beautiful bag! I hope to make one… What you said about sewing in your piping feeling like “sewing blind” made sense. You were sewing blind. The way to know where the piping is, is to machine baste it on first with the piping on top, where you can see it. Use a zipper foot to get close enough to the cording. Then when you sew the bag together from the other side, you just follow your stitching line you made when you basted the piping on. Comes out perfect.

    1. Sara! I came here looking for help on this bag. I made it to Step #9, and I am just stymied. I wish AB had a few more diagrams. This is my first experience with cording — it looks really great! (Yeah, now that I stitched and picked a few times! *roll eyes*) I am using a cording foot, so we’ll see if I need to follow your lead and only stitch a few inches at a time between TV viewing, when I actually sew the front and back together.

      Making this for my daughter’s upcoming 34th b-day. She loves the Broncos and I am using 3 different fabrics to make this. In big letters the instruction sheet read: “All seams are 1/2 inch.” Yeah, except the one where you sew the zipper. So, instead of saying BRONCOS, it reads: BROOS. No way am I gonna do that part over! Happy sewing!

  16. Oh, and I meant to mention that I used a Parka zipper and switched the zipper heads around (had to remove them) and turned it into a Luggage-type zipper that is closed when you zip both to meet in the middle.

  17. I needed a bag a bag to take to the hospital for when when my little guy comes… My pattern is on it’s way! However, it was a true toss up (eenie, meenie, moe sort of thing) between the Weekender and your Aeroplane bag… How does it compare? Which is more difficult? Is one roomier than the other? Your thoughts? Thanks!

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