Modern Quilts, Home Decor, and Handcrafted Clothing

The Weekender


This post is going to have a lot of pictures. Because when you spend a week making the daunting Amy Butler Weekender Bag, you take a lot of pictures. Those of you that follow me on Instagram got to watch this bag come together a bit more each day. That was a lot of fun, instant support group!

If you aren’t familiar with this bag pattern, it’s kind of notorious for being a {naughty word} to put together. Many people are starting to make this bag using the Quilt as You Go (QAYG) method to avoid all the interfacing required. I might try that next time but for starters, I wanted to stay true to the instructions (with a couple minor changes that I will talk about below.)

I have had this bag on my to-do list for awhile. I almost consider it some sort of sewist rite of passage. I heard it was a challenge and I wanted to see if I could do it. My only holdup was I could never find a fabric I wanted to use. The pattern recommends home dec weight and that is pricier than quilting cotton, so I wanted the fabric to be something I loved. Fast forward to the Sewing Summit. Joel Dewberry was a speaker one afternoon and he brought samples of his new line Notting Hill. As soon as I saw this fabric, I was in love. And then he said it was a Cotton Sateen/Home Dec weight! I knew immediately I was going to use it for my Weekender.

My choice for the lining and piping was a bit of a surprise for me. I know almost everyone out there seems really excited about all the plaids that are coming out in fabric collections lately. I’m not really a plaid person. (ducks for cover) But I just felt like it really complimented the floral print, so I stepped a bit out of my comfort zone and decided to use it.

When I first opened the pattern and cut out the pieces, I thought “Only 4 pieces? This is going to be so easy!” LOL Don’t be fooled. Not only do you cut out multiples of each out of your outer and lining fabrics, you also cut multiples out of 2 types of interfacing (not pictured). I spent several hours cutting.

Based on Stephanie’s weekender, I decided to cut my handles a bit wider (6″).

I was really lucky to have been loaned a cording foot (#60c) for my Bernina by the wonderful Catherine Redford from my local modern quilt guild. This made everything involving the piping SO much easier! I highly, highly recommend using a cording foot rather than a zipper foot for your piping. I’m actually going to buy my own now, it was that awesome.

Also, a general note: I used the pattern-recommended jeans needle for my machine. You have a lot of layers to sew through, and you need the extra strength.

The side panels came together easily, even if applying all the interfacing took forever.

For my second change to the pattern, I once again followed Stephanie’s example and used a shorter zipper, 24″. It was easily available at JoAnns and works just fine for the bag.

So, up until this point, I wasn’t sweating this bag. You make the large front and back. Then you make the top/sides with the zipper and sew that piece to the bottom to make a big circle of fabric. Then you have to sew this circle to the larger front and back panels. I know I’ve read of other people having this problem…they weren’t an exact fit. Now I’m not sure if the problem was I wasn’t using exact seam allowances or maybe the pattern is wonky, but it was a bit frustrating. Add in the fact you are sewing through a LOT of stiff interfacing, well you can see where one might start cursing. ;)

I highly recommend getting some binder clips to hold your pieces together rather than pins. I only had 2 binder clips on hand so I was forced to use pins and now they are all bent and ruined.

Again, I used the cording foot to guide my sewing and it worked great!

Weekender Lining

So I’ve finished the bag. I’m not sure if I’ll ever make another one. LOL But I’m super excited to have it and I’m very happy with my fabric selection. As my husband told me when he saw it “they certainly will see you coming with that.” Yep, it’s not subtle. But I love it.

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70 Responses to “The Weekender”

  1. 1
    Brooke says:

    Absolutely love your bag! The Weekender has been on my to-do list forever as well (it’ll probably stay on my to-do list for another year or so too!!)
    That fabric looks absolutely awesome on the bag. Beautiful job!

  2. 2
    svetlana says:

    your weekender looks amazing!!!! Love your fabric selection, it’s so beautiful and simply perfect for this kind of bag.

  3. 3
    Emily says:

    It looks beautiful Faith! I loved reading your post here with all the tips. I hope to give this a try after Christmas.

  4. 4
    michelle says:

    THAT.IS.BEAUTIFUL!! i might go for it. love your fabric choice!

  5. 5
    Erica says:

    It turned out beautifully! I made one about a year ago and when I bought my materials I bought enough extra to make a Weekender as a gift as well, but I don’t think that is ever going to happen. Once was enough.

  6. 6
    rainjerette says:

    Amazing! What a beautiful bag! I have yet to try this pattern. I think I am intimidated by all the bad words that seem to go with it :)

  7. 7
    Rene' Sharp says:

    Very very nice!!! I think this pattern would be a bit too difficult for me, but I am really enjoying seeing them pop up all over blog land!

  8. 8
    sukie says:

    Love your bag woman!

  9. 9
    Deb H. says:

    Love, love, love your color choices. You did a beautiful job on the bag. Thanks for the tips.

  10. 10
    SoozR says:

    Love this bag — I’ve been thinking about making one but discouraged by all the horror stories I’ve heard from others who have attempted it. But I think I may give it a go since you have offered so many excellent tips. By the way, have you ever used those little pink Clover clips? Those would be a great alternative to the pins with all those layers.

  11. 11

    This is a beautiful finish Faith. You’ve tempted me to try this. I’m still scared.

  12. 12
    Anita says:

    Love, love, love the bag and the piping is just adorable, but I will never attempt this bag, because it looks like a TON of work. =)

  13. 13

    Awesome job! …and I’m still scared of the Weekender. ; )

  14. 14
    Mary says:

    I just finished my fifth bag and yes I did do a lot of cussing, but they are so nice when they are done and my daughter and daughter in law love them. All worth it

  15. 15

    Congratulations! I’ve had this pattern for years and have yet to jump in and do it. Someday…

  16. 17
    Vanesa says:

    Great Finish! I love your fabric selections, Faith! Very beautiful.

  17. 18
    Julia Timmons says:

    Your bag is beautiful. I have made a number of bags for friends and to sell and they take a lot of time and lining/interfacing to make them last. I made a diaper bag for a friend. Recently I asked her how it was holding up and she said – Jules – I could haul more weight in this than my body would allow me to carry! So now you have challenged me to make this Weekender bag. Hoping I’ll learn some different strategies for my other bag patterns. I am going to use Amy Butler Love Trumpet Emerald and for the lining use Love Twill Stone Path Ivory. I won’t get it done till the first of the year as I have many holiday projects to make!

  18. 19

    Love it Faith! Bold and beautiful!

  19. 20
    Fenna says:

    Very neat! I like the plaid with the bold fabric–something I would never have thought of! I’m not much of a bag person, but this post makes me want to give it a shot–just to see if I can do it :) lol
    Great job!

  20. 21
    Julia Timmons says:

    I have a question since you already have the pattern. I have one yard of the lining fabric (already ordered for my “stash”) I see online that the pattern calls for 2 5/8 yards. If I order another yard and 5/8 will I be able to cut it from those two pieces?

  21. 22
    Doris says:

    Did you buy your fabric online? If so, can you tell me where you found it? I love that print from Joel’s new line…

    And congrats on the finish!

  22. 23
    Becki Seay says:

    Love it. Especially the plaid combined with the bold print. I’m going to put this on my list of projects to try.

  23. 24
    kitty says:

    Your weekender is a real beauty! Love your fabric choices: the Notting Hill is beautiful! Great job!!

  24. 25
    Kelli says:

    Oh Faith! Possibly my favorite Weekender ever! I was sold on all of the QAYG ones, but yours is so spectacular! I really do love it. Carry that bag with pride, girl!

  25. 26
    Betty Ayers says:

    It’s on my bucket list!! Your fabric choices are stunning – good job.

  26. 27
    NJ Quilter says:

    Your bag looks great. Everything you make is so nice. It makes me want to sew more. I just got this pattern, along with the Sophie carryall. I’m a little intimidated, but I’m going to give it a go. I’ve made several handbags before, just not with the piping. I’m going to try the smaller bag first, seems to be a similar construction.

  27. 28
    Sandy D says:

    Love the bag and fabric you picked

  28. 29
    anna says:

    ooo, it’s so awesome!!!! I love it. great tips and tricks too.

  29. 30
    Karen Moore says:

    Faith, did you hand stitch your lining? That was the most cumbersome part for me and where I said all of my swear words :)

    Oh, and I second the binder clip suggestions. Those worked perfectly for me.

    • 33
      Faith says:

      Karen – I didn’t hand stitch the lining. I hate hand stitching! LOL So I machine stitched it to the outer part by following the zipper topstitch line (basically sewing over that line). Then I called it a day. :)

  30. 31
    Terry says:

    What a lovely weekender — like the choice of fabric too — on my list of things to conquer – thanks for the tips !}

  31. 32

    I love the fabric you used…it is stunning!
    I keep looking at this pattern…you are right, I keep thinking that I should try it to prove to myself that I can do it !! Maybe someday !!
    you did a great job on this!

  32. 34
    Susan E. says:

    Oh WOW. That pretty much sums it up.

  33. 35
    laura says:

    it turned out adorable! it’s a daunting project, but one {which i agree with you} is a rite of passage. someday….

  34. 36
    Emily says:

    Wow, that turned out amazing! Seeing this makes me want to make one with that plaid for the main fabric!

  35. 37
    dana says:

    I enjoyed watching this come together on Instagram, and it looks great!! More power to you for dealing with Amy Butler’s pattern! I love her and her fabric, but I find her patterns to be just dreadful to follow! I gave up after making two of her other patterns. Never again!

  36. 38
    Jo-Anne says:

    What an incredibly stunning choice of fabrics and you did a wonderful job! I bought the fabrics for mine at Ikea this past weekend and seeing your choices has made me want to throw mine aside and go with the Notting Hill ones! I’ve just made the promise to myself that I will use the Ikea ones, and if it all goes well, I’ll make a second with that gorgeous floral!

  37. 39
    Susie says:

    In love with your Weekender Bag!! Thanks for your tips. I want to buy a cording foot, too.


  38. 40
    Jenny says:

    It looks FANTASTIC. Well done.

  39. 41
    eileen says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your process here. The weekender is on my new year to-do list. Reading everyones else’s experience with this pattern is giving me the confidence to get thru it. Love your fabric choices. your bag looks great. Binder clips are a great idea.

  40. 42
    susi says:

    fabulous congrats and love the fabric so happy

  41. 43
    Sally says:

    Your weekender turned out gorgeous! I love your fabric choices! This bag in on my someday list. I have a feeling I will love it, once I make it!

  42. 44
    Teresa G says:

    I love your bag – you did an awesome job- thank you for your great pics – I am still a little afraid to tackle this one but one of these days I will try it. I have made some of Amy Butlers bags and they are always lots of cutting and interfacing – but they always look good at the end. I hope if I make a Weekender it looks as good as yours. Bravo…

  43. 45
    Marianne says:

    Hey, that turned out great! I love that Joel Dewberry collection too. Thank you for sharing with us.

  44. 46
    Kym says:

    Love your bag, I made 2 when the pattern first came out & am loving seeing all the adjustments on Blogland so much I want to make another! But first I have to get through the Multitasker Tote…I’m stuck on Steps 5&6! Have you made one?

  45. 47
    liz f says:

    I absolutely love your bag – your instagram posts totally inspired me. I really love the Joel Dewberry fabric. I may have to copy it!!

  46. 48
    Teresa says:

    The only thing stopping me is I can’t find the pattern I am convinced I bought… Of course it will turn up as soon as I buy a new one…. Maybe if I buy the fabric it will emerge from its hiding place… I love your fabric choice withe the plaid…. & binding clips are my favourite gadget of this year… (Great for sewing up knitting by the way..)

  47. 49
    elsa says:

    Oh wow! I love the fabrics you chose ~ I’ve just GOT to make this bag.

  48. 50
    Hallie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! Your bag is just stunning!! I have this on my never-ever ending to-do list. I could just kick myself for not purchasing the pattern on sale at a shop that was closing….anywho, I love your bag and I’ll be looking for you and your bag out on the town the next trip I’m up in Chicagoland!!

  49. 51
    Elyse says:

    You did an amazing job! I tackled this project for a Christmas present for my mother last year (with a broken hand) and it was a challenge. Did I curse my machine, yup. Did I ‘quit’ multiple times, yup. Even though I said I would never make it again, now I have to, because I gave the first one away! Looks amazing!

  50. 52
    Megan L says:

    OH MY GOODNESS the plaid cording!!! I love it!!!

  51. 53
    Lisa E says:

    I think you should make another Weekender bag… And then give it to me. Your bag is so beautiful and the fabric is just perfect. Love the hints about the cording foot and binder clips.

  52. 54
    Katy says:

    Oh it’s gorgeous, and love the fabrics you chose for it, the big, bold prints are perfect for the main bag and the plaid sets it off nicely :)

  53. 55
    Lindsay says:

    Love this, and way to go pushing through! I love the fabrics you chose, and I was just shopping some Notting Hill for a dress or shirt, maybe?

  54. 56
    Anna says:

    I love that outside fabric! Good job on completing the bag. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of plaid either, but it does look quite nice as a lining and piping fabric.

  55. 57
    Leanne says:

    Your bag is beautiful. I am going to look for a similar foot for my Janome, it might make it easier if I every make another.

  56. 58
    Stephanie says:

    Looks great Faith! Can I ask you how much fabric is required for the cording? The pattern is a bit unclear. Also, did you cut yours on the bias? I’d rather cut straight strips if I can get away with it.

    • 59
      Faith says:

      Hi Stephanie – I believe you needed 180″ of bias binding, but I’d need to check the pattern when I get a chance to see how wide each strip is. I think it needs to be on the bias (mine was) because you are going around all sorts of curves and I’ve done that with straight cut binding once and it wouldn’t lay flat. It wasn’t good.

  57. 60
    Cathy says:

    Your bag turned out beautifully! I fell in love with Notting Hill at SS too, and was going to make the Weekender out of this same print in the magenta poppies. Now I’ve switched to Tula’s Salt Water; I hope it will be sturdy enough, but it will be used on an ocean cruise, so it’s perfect.

    Thanks for taking us step by step through the process of making this. I think I’ll use a shorter zipper too. :-)

  58. 61
    Louise says:

    I made a weekender bag for my daughter. It is a beautiful bag but I agree it wasn’t easy. my older daughter is not happy with me when I said I wouldn’t make one for her. it’s just too hard manipulating all those layers and pins. My fingers were so scratched up from all the pins i needed to hold all the pieces together.
    still do love Amy Butler and her designs

  59. 62
    Dawn says:

    Weekender is next on my “bag” list. I am just finishing the Amy Butler Sophia bag. It’s small and simple – I thought it would be a good way to break myself in to make a bag. I’ve done a lot of garment sewing and quilting and some home dec (piped cushions, etc). Your fabric is beautiful – love the plaid and the floral. Great job!

  60. 63
    Rachel S says:

    It looks great! I want to give making this bag a try sometime myself! Great job.

  61. 64
    Kara says:

    Your weekender looks beautiful! I’m not sure I will ever attempt that right of passage ;-)

  62. 65
    Rita says:

    Not only do I love Riley Blake fabric, but red is my all time favorite color!!!

  63. 66
    Debbie says:

    Your bag turned out beautiful! Glad you finally took the challenge!

  64. 67
    Raychel says:

    What is your Instagram username? I wanna follow!

  65. 68

    I simply love Moda Fabric – these patterns are beautiful – can’t wait to try them!

  66. 69
    Glynda Wedlund says:

    I love your weekender tote. Such nice work.

  67. 70

    I keep forgetting to tell you how much I LOVE this bag! I hope you’re getting a lot of use out of it. :)

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