Okay, so I'm getting close to only having 1 week left to get this Weekender Bag finished. I work 10-hour days, with a 1-hour commute each way, so it leaves me very little time during the week to do crafty stuff, but I'm forcing myself to do something, anything, every night on the bag. It's working because I can finally see this thing coming together!
So I sewed the outer pockets on, then clipped the piping in place:
As I sewed around, my piping started doing the wave thing, because I had mocked it up too loosely:
I ended up un-clipping it and just sewing it on as I went along, kind of like binding a quilt. The corners are tricky, and a wonderful Weekender genius M. at Three Owls Handmade reached out on Instagram and shared a tip to sew the piping in the bottom corners 1/2" in from the edge (in this pic I was an 1/8" in too far, so I unpicked, pulled it over, and fixed it):
She says this will prevent the piping from being "eaten" when all of the layers are assembled. She's made 3 Weekenders now, so I believe her!! Also, she has a fantastic pattern called the Nova Tote, which I've now bought and downloaded for a future project. You should totally check her out!
Here's a finished pic of the magnetic snap I installed between the pocket & exterior panel. I placed it about 1 1/2" below the top edge of the pocket and I think it'll be great!
And we have exterior Weekender panels!
These guys are already pretty substantial, and are relatively heavy. This bag is going to be a beast!!
The zipper panel instructions are weird. You actually sew the outer panel together first, then sew the zipper in blindly, stitching along that mid-seam line as your guide, and then seam-rip the basting apart to expose your zipper. Say what!?! I couldn't wrap my mind around this, so I just followed the instructions blindly, and it worked! So here's what I did:
After sewing & basting the 2 panel pieces together, I clipped the zip in upside down along the middle (the zipper pulls are beneath the tape in this pic). I tried to clip only the very edge of the tape, because the next step has you sew along either side of that middle seam, and I didn't want to find out what happens if you sew into a clip:
Now, the sewing part. I used my zipper foot, as per the instructions, but I really should have used my patchwork foot so I could ensure at least a 1/4" seam from the middle. Because my seam was so close to the zipper teeth, my needle ran into the zipper pulls, and I couldn't get my zipper pulls underneath the presser foot. I had to stop sewing, take the piece off the machine, pull the pulls to behind the foot, then resume sewing. After the first time I had to do that, I did this stop/start thing towards the bottom of the tape to hopefully be more hidden:
Well, the problem with sewing blindly, with clips holding your zipper in place underneath the sewing, is that this can happen:
Ugh. But a pretty simple fix. When I went to sew down the second side, there was no way I could get the zipper pulls out of the way, because they were "trapped" between the tape and the outside. So I prematurely ripped some of my basting stitches to free the pulls, then finished sewing the little bit I had left:
Whew! Like everything else with this bag, it's not difficult, just...INVOLVED! But after slicing through the rest of the basting stitches (which was actually kind of fun, like unwrapping a present), and clearing away the thread confetti (which was definitely not fun), look at this:
Super-profesh, if I do say so myself! However, because the seams under there were so bulky, they didn't fold under as nicely as they should have. So I added a second set of stitches to keep those bad boys out of the way:
And that, my friends, is the zipper panel! Now I've got the side pockets clipped on and ready to be sewn:
BTW, I used a 30" double-zip from ByAnnie. Check her out, she's a bag-maker extraordinaire! I bought her class on Craftsy "The Ultimate Travel Bag", and it looks fantastic like the Weekender, but easier to construct, especially with her holding your hand the whole way through. Buy it from the link on her website HERE and you can get it for 50% off...it's so worth the $20, and the pattern is included, which is $10 on its own. Seriously, this is one of the best Craftsy classes I've bought (I like the 2 by Camille Roskelley the best, though, because she's like a quilting rockstar and I'm a total Thimble Blossoms/Bonnie & Camille groupie!). The pace is perfect, and Annie gives clear explanations and fantastic tips. Not affiliated, yadda yadda, but it's really great! Okay commercial over, and now back to your regularly scheduled programming...