Tag Archives: Zipper

My Adventure: Amy Butler’s Weekender Tote Bag

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For my first Amy Butler project, I fell in love with the Weekender Tote Bag pattern.  An customized overnight bag sounded so romantic, so I dove in head first!  I am pleased with the results and my improved skills.  I hope my detailed account of this experience will be helpful to those attempting this project.

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Weekender Tote 1

I found the cutest home decor fabric by HGTV at my local JoAnn Store.  I took the time during the cutting phase to make the exterior pocket pieces match the pattern exactly for the pieces cut for the front and back exterior panels.  This made all the difference in the final result.


Weekender Tote 2


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Creating my own piping was actually quite fun.  Sewing the strips together on a bias was challenging to get the angle exact, but it worked up beautifully.  I only purchased the cotton cording required and it was an accurate estimate of the piping needed.  Only a small segment was discarded in the end.


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When making this zipper, I am so happy that I decided to trust the instructions and throw logic out the window.  I have no idea how it turned out so perfectly because the instructions were a bit bizarre in instructing you to sew over the zipper and close it in completely.  But in the end, it’s gorgeous!  I’m completely shocked!

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For me, this was the end of the easy part of the pattern.  I had no issues when creating the front and back panels and the zipper piece.  However, when I started with the joining process I was in pure misery.  I had to rescue my bobbin from a nest of tangled thread so many times!  Not only do you have to join the pieces, but you also have to be mindful of the alignment of the piping! Oh the nightmare!

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The binder clips look hilarious!  It was the only way to keep the pieces together while sewing.  I had to throw away a few dozen bent pins after this project.  Oh well!


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I added silver purse feet to the bottom of the Weekender Tote.  Since I used a lighter fabric for the exterior, I thought it would be a good idea to keep the fabric off the floor as much as possible.  I also finished the project with a light mist of Scotch Guard.


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The interior was the worst part of this crafting experience.  I didn’t look ahead to realize that it would require extensive hand sewing.  It took at least a week for my fingers to heal!  The interior sewing was incredibly awkward because the fabric shifts as you pull it open to do the actual sewing.  This causes some looseness inside.  I tried my best to keep it tight, away from the zipper and tacked well in the corners.

My Reflection:

All in all, the project was a satisfying experience.  In hindsight, it was probably too advanced for my newbie-level skills.  I can’t believe I used my old sewing machine – it struggled so much to sew on the thickness this project required.  We both survived, but my old Brother LS1717 is a little worse for wear.

Simple Zipper Pouch

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My re-introduction to sewing started with this simple zipper pouch.  I found a beginner class on Craftsy.com and jumped right in!  I started with this project in a purple and polka dot fabric combo that I found in Fat Quarters on sale at JoAnn’s.

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I learned quite a bit about my old sewing machine.  I had actually moved the thing from apartment to apartment since 2005 as my hubbie and I have moved from Gainesville, FL to Boston, MA and now to Syracuse, NY for our graduate educations.  My sweetie bought me this Brother LS1717 in 2005 and it took me until 2013 to open the box! Ooops!

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I learned a clever trick for zippers from this Craftsy class.  A regular ole’ glue stick works perfectly to temporarily hold the zipper tape to the fabric while you run to the sewing machine to baste it in place.  I have heard nightmares about pinning zipper tape, so I am relieved that this glue stick method makes zippers not scary at all!

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Just a narrow line of glue along the top edge of the zipper tape is all it takes to hold the fabric together.  I used the children’s glue stick that goes on purple and dries clear.  This made it even easier to see where I was gluing.

The best part: Once the glue dries, there isn’t even a trace of it!  No sticky mess!

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Ironing between each step was great assurance that my bag would end up with perfect corners and square edges in the end.

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I love this adorable little handle on the side.  It is super convenient for grabbing this pouch on the go!  Surprisingly, it didn’t add much bulk when sewing the top corner.  It gives a cute reveal of the adorable fabric that is on the inside of the pouch.

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I love the magic of turning the work inside right at the end and how everything just works out! Oh the fun of crafting!


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As I work on my sewing skills, stay tuned for more of my crafting adventures as I kick it up a notch!



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