Sunday, May 25, 2014

Weekender Sew Along : Bag Assembly

Hey y'all! I am overdue by like 2 weeks with this post, but between Quilt Market and some other things (ahem ... I made two Super Totes the week of Quilt Market), I got a little behind.  BUT ... my bag is finished!  In fact, I mailed it off yesterday to surprise someone.  Sure hope they like it (and overlook a few wobbly spots)! :-)

Ok ... so in my last post, I didn't show you about the zipper.  The reason was because I went ahead and added the lining then too based on a theory and I wanted to make sure everything worked out before I told y'all to do something.  So let's start with the zipper.

Making the Zipper Panel
I made the zipper panels by quilting them with Linen, batting and canvas like I did for my main exterior panels.  I cut them to size using the template and then added the zipper as instructed in the pattern.

After that, I assembled the lining completely leaving a fairly large hole open in the bottom of one side where the bottom piece and the main side piece meet.

 I folded the lining back and laid it wrong sides together on the exterior zipper panel and stitched the lining to the zipper panel.  I was lucky enough that my thread matched the bag very well so the stitching doesn't jump out at you.

Why did I install the lining so soon?  Well, I'm too lazy to hand sew the lining in.  In fact, my 1st bag (finished in mid February) is still unlined!  Also, after wrangling this bag through the machine, you'll just want to be finished.  Attaching the lining now is like making a pouch ... we'll turn it right sides out later.  

Some words of caution for attaching the lining early ... (1) this does make the wrangling slightly trickier. (2) This will make it harder to see and check your seams and piping after you attach the main side panels to the zipper/bottom piece - especially after the second side. And (3) I wouldn't do this if you didn't quilt the body.  You'll be smushing the bag through the opening and if all you used was the thicker interfacing you may not like the creases you could get.  Hope this all makes sense! 

Next, follow the directions in the pattern to attach the end pockets and the bottom to the zipper panel.

Prep the Bottom Panel
In my last post, I showed you that I quilted the bottom panel.  After quilting, I added a piece of thick interfacing that is 1" smaller than the bottom panel.  The interfacing is fusible, but I stitched over a couple of quilting lines in the corners to stabilize the piece especially since it would be manhandled later!

Tip for Attaching the Straps
I followed the directions in the pattern.  I did stitch all the way down both sides of each strap to the bottom of the bag.  Otherwise, I followed the pattern.  Then attach the pockets as instructed in the pattern.

Attaching the Piping to the Main Panels
I did decide to use bias strips for the piping on the main panels. I ddin't in my first bag and the only place I really notice a difference is in the corners.  The bias strips allowed me to really curve the piping around without as many puckers.

Use Clover Clips to keep everything in place.

Note - I didn't crowd my piping at this point.  I didn't want to worry about stitches showing if I missed it later, so I went with my needle at -4 to the left and followed the edge of my zipper foot otherwise.

Attaching the Sides

This is the fun part!  Kidding.  This is actually what I consider to be the hardest part. So, prepare yourself mentally.  I wouldn't start this step at 11:45 PM.  I actually did one side one day and the second side the next day.  It takes some time and some muscle to get this through your machine.  So take it slow and use a jeans needle!  :-)

Line up the center of the main panel with the top and bottom of the zipper/bottom panel. Use Clover clips to secure all the layers in place. If you attached the lining early, keep it on the other side and out of the way.

I like to clip and sew the zipper/bottom piece (top) to the main panel (bottom).  It seems easier to smush the zipper/bottom piece out of the way instead of the main panel.

Stitch around the whole bag trying to crowd the piping as much as possible.  I moved my needle as far left as it would go (-5).  After you've gone around, check your bag on the right side to see if you have any spots where you need to sew a little closer to the piping.

Before adding the second side, OPEN YOUR ZIPPER at least half way.  Don't forget (especially if you've already attached your lining)!

Next, flip the lining over and clip the second side on like you did the first side.

This side is the more difficult of the two.  So, I went around the bag at a 3/8" or so seam to hold everything together.  Then I went back around stitching further over and crowding the piping.  This seemed to work better for me as I could focus on crowding the piping instead of trying not to shift any layers.

When you are done, peek through the lining and check it from the front - this will be a pain, but check it and fix any spots (sewing closer to the piping, etc) before the next step.

Finish It!

Now, carefully turn your bag right sides out through the hole in the bottom of the lining.  Carefully push out the corners and shape the bag.  Iron into shape as needed since you probably needed to smush it a little while turning it.

Stitch the hole in the lining closed by hand or machine.

Step back admire your work.  Pat yourself on the back ... You Did It!  :-)

The Glamour Shots ...

I sure hope you enjoyed sewing along with me!  I had so much fun with this bag!

Happy Sewing! :-)

Weekender Bag Details: 
Bag Pattern: Amy Butler Weekender Bag
Patterns for Pieced Pockets: Mini Swoon, Mini Dwell, Mini Rise & Shine, and Mini Spools all by Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms
Fabric:  April Showers by Bonnie & Camille, Essential Dots White Black, and Linen Mochi Dot in Putty all from Moda

Previous Posts:
Making the Pockets
Making the Exterior


  1. I love your bag! So cute with your blocks and gorgeous fabrics!! Yours is a favorite of mine!

  2. Yes!! I have always said if I make another weekender bag, I would figure out how to attach the lining with the zipper to keep from hand stitching.

  3. Wow! Amazing and gorgeous! Camille is one lucky lady....

  4. This bag is amazing! I have admired it all over Instagram and especially now as it's in Australia with Camille. I will never make the bag, but I think your tips in making it are invaluable for those who will.

  5. Hi I spotted you bag on camille's IG on her recent trip. What a gorgeous bag. I really must get the pattern and work on a patchwork one so glad I found your blog


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