Wrestling the Weekender

Wow.  People were not joking about this bag being a challenge to put together and I haven’t even got to the point of trying to attach zips (still waiting for them to arrive) or assemble the whole bag yet (because see above).  Heck, just buying the materials has been a challenge – trying to figure out how many meters of 44″ wide fabric is equivalent to umpty yards of 54″ wide fabric on the fly is not easy!  So I rather over-bought on canvas and lining fabric.  Whoops.  At least I can always find a use for lots of solid dark-blue quilting cotton.

As mentioned previously, I used a quilt-as-you-go method for the outer body of the bag and I’m really pleased with how that worked out.

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The Shimmer 2 prints are so cool!  I kept the lighter ones for the main and top panels and used the darker ones for the pocket panels:

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I love the texture of them!

To save on “pretty” fabric on the main panels, I only used the Shimmer 2 prints down to about 1-1/2″ below the top of the where the pocket panel would start, then I covered the whole bottom area with my chosen lining/piping/handles fabric, which is a plain dark blue.  For the same reason, I also chose to use the lining fabric on the bottom panel, and this is the only place that I decided to use the iron-on vinyl.

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After some thought, I applied the vinyl to the unquilted fabric and then quilted it onto the canvas/wadding.  I think it’s more likely to stay put this way and it’ll provide good protection where it’s most needed.

Now that everything’s starting to come together, I’m really happy with the colours:

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Looks quite smart!  However, I’m rather less pleased that my machine started skipping stitches when I attached the pocket and piping to the main panels.

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That’s really bad!  Not sure what it’s down to – most of the stitching is ok, but it struggles and skips most over areas of extra bulk, like seams and the handles.  It could be because I was using a piping foot for this and thus couldn’t use the Pfaff IDT system (built-in walking foot). Or possibly I need to switch up a needle size.  Might be a speed issue, but I don’t think so – it seems to happen whether I go super-slow or not.  Anyway, it’s something I need to sort out or the whole bag might come unraveled at a crucial moment!  Also, I don’t like piping.  Not even with a piping foot!  *grumble*  (Except that it looks really good on a finished item, of course.)

This is about as far as I can get with the bag now until the zips and bag feet show up.  All the lining is cut out and interfaced (because I’m using patchwork-weight fabric) and I’ve added one pocket to one of the inner panels already:

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This was a bit of a “happy accident” – I accidentally cut out the pocket panel linings too short at first and didn’t realise until I was trying to interface it.  There would have been swearing, but then I realised that the two miscuts were perfect for making an inner pocket instead.  Yay!  The other panel is waiting for a zip for a zipper pocket.

If I don’t completely lose my rag making this bag for my sister, I have all the canvas panels ready-cut to make a second one for myself.  It all depends on how the final assembly goes!  But for now, I get to have a bit of a break while I wait for the rest of the bits to show up, and I’m off to a sewing show at the NEC tomorrow with my friends from Quilt Club.  I’ll try not to spend too much!  😉

Linking up with Let’s Bee Social and Needle and Thread Thursday!  🙂

8 thoughts on “Wrestling the Weekender”

  1. A lot of work this weekender, but I think it is worthwhile! Beautiful colors, it will be a beauty. Look forward to see it finished.

    1. Thank you! These fabrics are so pretty, I feel like I can’t go wrong with them. 🙂 All the bits have arrived at last, so hopefully I can put the rest of it together when I get home.

  2. It’s looking wonderful.

    Have you tried using a denim needle? I’ve found that to make a big difference in helping your machine not skip stitches while working on particularly thick materials.

    1. Thank you Catherine! I was using a denim needle there, but I might try a larger one to see if that helps. It’s such a lot to stitch through!

  3. That settles it. I have wondered about this bag and have this pattern. Not going to try it any time soon. I am so scared!!! You did an awesome job. Let me try an American way of saying it – you knocked it out of the park!!!
    Thank you for visiting my blog and your sweet comment on “Skipped a Stone”.
    Hugs,
    Preeti.
    http://sewpreetiquilts.blogspot.com/

    1. Bit of a belated reply, apologies! Thank you for your very sweet comment on the bag! It’s a funny pattern. Technically it’s not really complicated, what makes it a pig of a project is handling all the bulk that seems to build up fast. If I do it again, there might be some more aggressive trimming of seams and whatnot to see if that helps. 🙂

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