The Weekender

June 3, 2013

weekender bag

weekender bag

weekender bag

weekender bag

tank: J. Crew / jeans: GAP/similar / shoes: Vince Camuto

pyrite pendant necklace: Native Clutter / howlite necklace: Native Clutter / ring: Street Bauble

strap deets


bottoms up


This is the fourth time I’ve made a Weekender Bag. The first three bags, gifts completed years ago, were done on an entry-level Brother sewing machine with Joann’s home dec fabric. That machine did surprisingly well – I only sewed through my finger once and the finished products were really nice. This time around was a bit different.



  • Amy Butler Weekender Bag Pattern
  • 5/8 yd Pendleton remnant from Denver Fabrics
  • Half a cow hide from Tandy Leather – there’s quite a bit leftover!
  • 138 bonded nylon in gold brown
  • 69 nylon in gold brown and natural
  • size 21 and 23 leather needles
  • 3/16″ cording
  • magnet for a seam guide
  • binder clips
  • thimble
  • Eco-Flo leather weld – this stuff is AMAZING. I basted the whole bag with it. Aaaand used it a bit too liberally in some places. It’s a really great product. Mine was purchased from Tandy Leather.
  • purse stabilizer – not pictured, but critical to the project. I used it to line the straps and the bottom section instead of using timtex (too flimsy) or veg-tan (too thick). Also purchased from Tandy Leather.
  • timtex for the front panels
  • YKK #5 Brass Closed Bottom zipper cut to 30″ from Zipper Stop
  • Kai Scissors 7250 – also not pictured but HOLY SHIT you need to try these. I’m not even going to say anything else. Just find some and cut something. You’ll never be the same.
  • Probably more stuff, but that’s all I can think of for now.
  • WELT FEET! I used 1/4″ welt feet. Huge help.

What makes this one so different? Materials. 100%. I chose to use leather, wool and substantial thread. Most machines don’t even have the lift capacity to accommodate the enormous layers that I ended up working with. And honestly, it took forever because it was kind of intimidating and I had to hand crank a lot and then my arms got sore…

Digression: I had a customer who was complaining about getting all of these injuries from her industrial machine. She said she was bruised and her hands were all messed up. At the time I was thinking, “Whoa lady, you are probably not qualified to work on this equipment. Why don’t you try to make and sell something else? That sounds terrible.” And now, I kind of get it.

For the straps I cut four lengths of 1.25″ leather strips and two lengths of purse stabilizer in a slightly narrower size. I used the Eco-Flo glue to baste the leather wrong sides together with the stabilizer in between. Once they were dry, I used my 1/8″ topstitching foot set to get even stitching. All topstitching was done with 138 bonded nylon thread. The pattern instructions have you stitch the straps to the faces twice horizontally, but I did boxes for more visual interest.

There are flaws and issues, but I’m not going to dwell on them. I will say I wish I would’ve ended the piping at the start of the bottom panel. It becomes too thick and it’s obscured anyway.


My bag would not have been possible without the help of a Kingmax GC0302 drop-feed walking foot sewing machine. This beast is my new best friend. I feel like we can overcome all obstacles together. I have plans to expand my accessories line and this thing is going to help me get there. I’m still learning for sure, but I’m getting more and more comfortable with how it operates.

This bag is my most belated Mother’s Day gift to date. Sorrs ma! It’s on it’s way!


Phew! Now what’s next?!? I have a half-finished Archer, I’m contemplating Datura and I reeeaaallllly want to make some Ballet Dresses. That means my next post will be about none of those things.

Pendleton + Leather

March 24, 2013

A few weeks ago my friend Kristen kindly divulged that she had found some gorgeous Pendleton wool at our local fabric store. I hadn’t even been to this store yet (isn’t that embarrassing??), so we planned a trip. I was only going to buy knits and a few other things that caught my eye in the bargain bins, but after she cut the 2 yds of wool that she came in for, I decided to take the last little bit.


What was I going to do with 5/8 of a yard?? Initially I wanted to make a tote bag with a leather bottom, but I couldn’t find a pattern or even an inspiration piece to base it off of. I also wanted to make the most of the big print. It would be lost on anything smaller than a cape or huge bag. I’ve made the Amy Butler Weekender Bag three times before and now I’m using it again minus the front pockets. It features huge side panels and it’s quite thick, so I think it will be perfect.

bonded nylon

I also splurged on some leather. I’m using it for the piping, bottom panel, side pockets and handles. Leftovers may become a throw pillow.

half a beef


I’m getting used to the walking foot! I don’t close my eyes or flinch when it starts up. Well, initially I do then I’m fine for the rest of the day. Here are some close-ups of preparing the cording using a zipper foot.

preparing cording

preparing cording

I still need to order a zipper, buy veg tan to stabilize the leather bottom and handles and find a lining! Any suggestions on lining? Luckily, I can construct the entire bag and handstitch it in afterwards, but I’m worried if I wait too long it will sit lining-less for months. That would be awful.

At home I’m slowly cutting out Archer. It’s been such a long time since I’ve made a collared shirt that I’m waiting for Jen’s sewalong. I’m using a super lightweight,┬ástriped cotton in view A.


ALSO, I’m featured on my friend’s new blog this week. Read it here: HyLighted

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