Some projects come together quickly and some just do not. I have had the pattern for this Weekender Travel Bag pinned on the wall organizer in my craft room for months. Settling on fabrics and purchasing the supplies just seemed so daunting for some reason. It took the perfect excuse to finally give me the push I needed to get this project done! A weekend of fabric shopping in Los Angeles was what I needed.
Tomorrow, I’ll be headed down to L.A. to meet up with old and new blogging friends for two days of shopping at some of the best fabric stores in the country! To say I’m excited is the understatement of the year! So more on that in a minute. First, let’s talk about this Weekender bag. Isn’t it awesome? I was first turned on to this Amy Butler pattern when Ashley posted her quilted weekender bag last year. I love her quilted version, and perhaps my desire to replicate the scrap, quilted look was part of my hangup getting this bag going. Knowing that I was headed off for a weekend of fabric shopping though, I felt compelled to use some of the amazing fabrics I purchased on my last big fabric shopping trip (Jess wrote about that trip here). I paid an arm and a leg for a 1/2 yard of the Kokka retro typewriter fabric and I wanted to use it for a project that would really showcase its cute quirkiness. It was just enough for the outer main pockets on the bag. I used some gorgeous Anna Maria Horner fabrics for the other main pieces and lining of the bag. And then I had the genius idea to also use some leather on the bag.
I really, really love the look of the leather. The piece I had was small, but I was able to get two end pockets as well as two blocks for the center of the handle straps. LOVE how it looks. It actually makes me want to do another bag out of all leather – wouldn’t that be amazing (and impossible to stitch through all the layers?) Note how I’m setting myself up to rationalize all kinds of fabric purchases this weekend??
The bag took some time to make, but it wasn’t terribly slow going It was finicky sewing through so many layers while trying to stitch right along the piping, but it mainly took arm strength to hold everything in place while guiding it through the machine and I just had to go slow. I used a heavy duty sewing needle and stitched the entire bag without breaking it. I also used store-bought piping – making my own piping for this project was a major progress halter – sometimes you just have to take an easier route, you know?
On the inside of the bag, I added a pocket for more organized packing. I really want this to be a one-bag carry all for a weekend trip and I thought a few separate spaces would aide in that. I was also determined to do zero handstitching on the bag and deviated from the pattern instructions to secure the lining around the zipper and to the inside of the bag. Basically, I pinned the lining along the underside of the zipper and then topstitched right over the main zipper stitches to catch the lining underneath. I also sewed a few stitches here and there along the piping to catch the lining underneath. The fit of the lining inside the bag could be better. The lining is just so flimsy compared to the stiffness of the main bag – it doesn’t really smooth out into the space on the inside – maybe some interfacing on the lining would help with this, I’m not sure.
Overall, I love the bag. I’m excited about the quirky fabric combinations and the leather accents. I also love the functionality of the bag with its large design. I still would like to make a quilted version at some point. But, this bag is ready just in time for my big weekend of shopping! The plan is this: pack a few clothes, pjs, and makeup in this bag; stick my wallet, camera, and laptop into my camera bag; and then check two huge, empty suitcases to fill up down in L.A. and haul home. What do you think – good plan? Wish me luck!
Here’s a little more information about the sponsors for Fabric Weekend!
Michael Levine is a staple in the Los Angeles Fabric District. Between their main store, the upholstery fabric store and the Loft where you can buy fabric by the pound, you will always walk away with bags of fabric you can’t wait to use. When Graham and I made the quickest trip EVER to the L.A. fabric district last year (we were there for less than an hour, after driving 7 hours straight and on our way to a wedding), the must-visit destinations were the three Michael Levine stores. And for good reason! I am so SO excited to spend a good part of my trip in there without the rush. I shared a couple pictures and tidbits from my first trip here. I am also excited to find out that Michael Levine has an online store, too – AWESOME news for all of us non-locals. The website is lowpricefabric.com and you’ll love it.
Thank you to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores for sponsoring Fabric Weekend 2013. Even in a fabric heaven like Los Angeles you still know you can find exactly what you need at Jo-Anns. Jo-Ann’s is the closest fabric store to me – a 45-minute drive away – and I am in there all. the. time. I love supporting a company that, in turn, is supporting us bloggers. They also sponsor the Girl’s Night Out event that Jessica, the Sewing Rabbit, organizes quarterly. Guess what we’re all doing this weekend? That’s right - Girl’s Night Out, L.A., baby!!
Of course, I’ll be sharing lots of details and fabric finds when I get home, but you can follow me on Instagram all weekend long if you like! It’s going to be exciting!