I have had the pattern and supplies for this bag for well over a year, although this isn't the original fabric I bought for it. When Bekko by Trenna Travis showed up on the Hawthorne Threads coming soon pages I was smitten.
Weekenders always pop up pre Sewing Summit and the latest round of beauties were inspired by Elizabeth Hartman's patchwork version using cotton duck instead of peltex. I had already stocked up on the peltex and shape flex so I stuck with the more traditional version (although I still covet a patchwork one too!)
The lining for the Weekender is hand sewn in and I've read quite a few posts saying this is tricky and there's too much fabric and generally that it's a real pain in the tush! While I can happily hand stitch an entire quilt, the thought of hand sewing all that lining in falls into the "mending" category for me! I hate mending! So much that I pay a shop to shorten jeans and trousers. This in turn led to further mods because I had to sew the end panels in a way that meant the zips ends were covered and secure. I was also restricted by the length of zip I could find which meant a change to the end panels anyway.
The zip is sewn in so that the fabric is designed to cover it. I wanted the look of a zip pouch where the zip shows and is a feature so I decided to make my Weekender like a pouch. This solved the look I wanted for the zip as well as being able to then machine sew the lining in.
This seemed genius while I was sewing the bag and I couldn't understand why I haven't seen more of these around. Even sewing the main panels onto the zip and bottom panels was ok and didn't require any unpicking! I did stitch a 3.5 basting stitch first with my normal presser foot and then went around again with the zip foot close to the piping. The challenge came when I was machine sewing the lining in! It was tricky to sew given I was having to handle the whole bag after the 3-layered peltex bottom was in. Then having to turn the whole bag inside out through the lining opening - let's just say there was some huffing and puffing from me and the opening grew somewhat!
I added some inside pockets. A zippered one on one side which I made rectangular because I didn't want to be rummaging around in the whole side panel. This pocket is great and I'd do this one again. On the other side I made a pocket the same as the external ones. I thought this would be good for a book or magazine, but it's really gapey and fairly useless (see pic below). I wouldn't do this again.
The lining is quite baggy inside. The false bottom insert is great and totally necessary. I'm tempted to try and secure the inside lining so it sits flush in the top section - under where the piping is. Currently there's nothing to hold this in place. Maybe it was in the pattern - but I'd diverted so much by this stage I only skimmed the last parts.
Here's a summary of my mods:
- Zip sewn in like a pouch, so I sewed the external panel piece, the zip and the lining panel piece in the one go. This meant my seam allowances etc were different to the original pattern so after it was sewn I re-cut around the pattern piece to get it to the correct size
- Zip not as long as the pattern required so I didn't make end pockets and had to redraft pattern pieces for the end panels - this was very straight forward using the original pattern piece and making it taller
- My external fabric has a directional print so I had to put a seam in the top panel instead of cutting on the fold
- Machine sewed my lining in as the final step which was challenging given I was trying to move the whole bag around to stitch. Also trying to turn the whole bag, peltex and all back inside out was quite tricky
- Machine sewed the lining hole (left to be able to turn the bag inside out) closed - I had this along the bottom so it's covered by the false bottom that you pop in last
- Inside pockets - put a zippered pocket on one side and a pocket the same as external pockets on the other side. This meant cutting extra pattern pieces to line the pockets so you'll need enough fabric for all of this. The pocket the same as the external ones is really baggy though and fairly useless - I wouldn't do this again. I thought about stitching a centre line to make it 2 pockets but I wanted it so slip a book in. I would definitely do a zippered pocket again.
- Added some nickel feet