Ladies and Gentlemen, my Snail Mail Craft Swap Project for Alia was the Weekender Travel Bag by Amy Butler!!!
After many hours at the sewing machine, +/- 5 denim sewing needles, shedding a few tears, and a custom made box for mailing, the Bag is in Alia's possession (whoo hoo!).
Before purchasing the pattern I Googled the bag and found so many good (and true) reviews by bloggers (here, here, and here) of their sewing experience. I'll be the first to admit that some of the reviews scared me as I had never made a bag, sewn in a zipper, nor made cording, however there is a first time for everything- right? :)
Note- all of the fabric used for the bag was purchased from JoAnn's (on sale!). I used Home Decor fabric for the outside, handles, and cording and I used a great Heidi Grace orange cotton fabric for the lining (I forgot to take a photo of the interior, so you'll just have to trust me that the orange fabric is stunning, or you can venture to this post [last photo] and see the fabric for yourself as I'm using the extra fabric for the apron!).
A couple tips from my personal experience:
- When preparing the cording, DON'T crowd the cording (Amy's specific instructions, although I had no idea what that meant at the time...now I do!). After preparing the cording you will sew it onto the main panel and then when putting the bag together- every time you must sew to the left of the original stitch, thus if you crowd the cording (as I did) it makes everything that much more difficult, as if you don't sew to the left of the stitch you will see the stitch on the finished bag, which is a bit unsightly.
- I was not able to find a 30" non-separating zipper, granted I only looked at JoAnn's, however I've come to learn that I'm not the only one to not find the 'correct' zipper. I purchased a 30" separating zipper and hand stitched at the end of the zipper to disable the 'separating' component.
- I also added inside pockets, as the pattern does not provide instructions to do so. I cut extras of the Main Panel Pocket (from the exterior fabric), I sewed 1/4" along the top with wrong sides together, turned, basted the remaining 3 sides, top stitched along the top (just like the directions for the Main Panel Pocket), sewed the inside pocket panel to the lining a desired (I chose to sew one vertical line making two pockets).
- I added four purse feet to the bottom of the bag, as the bottom is light colored and I didn't want Alia to have to worry about setting the bag down! I found the purse feet to be hard to find locally, however they are very available online. Supposedly a special tool is needed to make the hole, however I just made a little snip with my scissors, inserted the foot, fray-checked the edges and then added the finishing plate- voila!