April 3, 2012

Amy Butler's Weekender Travel Bag - A Review

Recently, I turned 29.  My last year as a 'twenty-something'.  Before all of my 30 and over readers begin an unanimous eye-roll, I will assure you this is not one of those posts.  I'm actually looking forward to turning 30.  Really, really.

Being on the cusp of 30 means I have a few things to consider.  I think of myself more as a grown-up now (I'm really hoping those of you who know me well won't giggle at that comment) and while I'm very comfortable in my own skin, I'm thinking I need to put a little distance between 19 year old me and 29 year old me.  There are a few things that I desire to improve and/or change.

Or remove.

For instance, a few years ago, I thought: "When I turn 30, I'm going to take out my industrial ear piercing."

I've had this piercing for ten years.  The first time I saw it, I was 17 and sitting in a tattoo and piercing studio in Berlin, waiting for my exchange student's sister to get hers.  I thought it was uber cool.  But is it cool at 30?  Now that I'm here (or...almost here), I think so.  I'll post-pone removal for another decade.

One thing I chose not to delay was my overnight/weekend clothing-and-assorted-essentials vessel.  Up until a few days ago, this is what I was using:

Yeah.  For shame.  The Ralph Wiggum applique really isn't doing me any favours.  I can only imagine what Stacey and Clinton of What Not To Wear would say.  Probably something along the lines of, "What are you, 19?!?"

Please enter Amy Butler's Weekender Bag.  And I need to make a correction:  it's not a 'bag' it's luggage.

This was my first Amy Butler pattern, (of course I picked the biggest bag she has!) so I was excited to see how she does her packaging, pattern, and instructions.  Of course they are all polished and professional - very impressive!!  I've read posts on other blogs about how much she loves to use interfacing.  I thought it was a humorous comment.  Then I read the list of materials.

Amy Butler loves her interfacing.  Thick, stiff, interfacing.

That didn't discourage me!  I'm incredibly stubborn and I had been coveting this bag for a long while.  The super cheery fabric is from Tonic Living.  I used Tempo, Mambo for the outer bag and Joy, Fiesta for the lining and piping.

The sewing process was....interesting.  I should have suspected something while reading the instructions.  The first line (even before the materials are listed) goes like this: "This bag gets cumbersome when stitching some of the heavier seams.  Be persistent.  The finished bag will be worth it.  Have fun!"  Even Amy Butler thinks this bag is a real bitch to sew.  That's not daunting at all.

To sum up the entire process: I was frustrated but determined to finish.  Just like the instructions said I would be.  The interfacing was challenging to work with and I may have dropped a few f-bombs when the piping kept shifting on me.  After breaking three needles within 5 minutes (nine...*NINE* heavy duty needles in total for the whole project), spilling coffee on one of the side panels, stabbing myself repeatedly with pins, and burning my finger with the iron; I decided that since I wasn't quitting, I needed to find the humor in it.

It definitely helped to vent to a friend.  She certainly saw the humor in it.  Thanks, Kennedy :)

Hopefully this won't intimidate you.  In all sincerity, I do love the bag.  Just as Amy said I would.  I mean...it fits an 'In Style' magazine in the side pocket!  What's not to love?

Thanks to Kennedy for the photos!

If I make another one, I would add a pocket or two on the inside and maybe skip the end pockets.  I wish I had read this post before starting to sew, though.  Some great tips and modifications can be found there.

Proceed with confidence, coffee (but not too close to your workspace!) and a sense of humor.


Christine Elliott said...

You did such a nice job! Love the interior fabric!

ullash said...

just tweeted it!

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And I'm the weird one?! said...

I made this bag and boy was it ever difficult! I needed another person to help me push the exterior pieces through the machine with me. I added interior pockets and a pocket for a laptop, but since the interior is hand sewn the laptop was too heavy and broke my stitching. Grrr! I loved the bag but don't know if I can work up the patience to make it again! Great job on yours!

Carmen said...

Your bag is absolutely beautiful! I've been trying to get the courage up to make a Weekender and I need to stop reading posts about it and just do it. :)

Anne said...

Thanks Carmen! Yes, it was challenging, but so worth it! And the compliments I receive are nice too :)

Anon765678 said...

Nice bag! LOSE THE EARRING! Ewwwww

Louise Richardson said...

Haha i love it!! I first made this bag four years ago and it made me so angry i vowed never to make another. Today i made my second one.. only had to unpick the whole thing once haha!! Well done, it looks really nice. I especially love the lining :D

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