Now that the dust has settled a bit from the launch of my Craftsy Class, I finally took a weekend to do something I haven't done for quite awhile: SEW!
It's crazy how sometimes running a sewing business can get in the way of actually sewing, but between answering student questions, packing and shipping orders, and keeping up with my inventory, my poor sewing machine hasn't seen a lot of love lately!
Happily I was able to put it to work on a very fun and useful project: The Weekend Duffel from Betz White's Craftsy class.
When I first got it into my head that I wanted to make a carry-on sized bag, I thought that I should design it myself. I do design bags after all. But then I thought that someone had probably already done all the hard work for me, and I could just relax and follow instructions for once! I'm so glad I made that choice- I love my finished bag and it was so good for me to watch another bag maker in action and get some great new ideas for bag making techniques! Plus it is always fun to shake things up and make something that is a little bit outside of my usual style...I do have quite the collection of neutral-toned waxed canvas bags!
I used fabrics from my favorite fabric store, Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, and I had most of the hardware that I needed from my own shop. I have to say, sometimes it is so fun to have your own bag hardware store in your basement!! My exterior fabric is a blend of cotton and linen from Robert Kaufman, and the lining fabric is quilting cotton (the moons are metallic!) For the accent fabric, I used black waxed canvas from my stash. The entire bag is interfaced with fusible fleece, which gives the bag a soft, puffy feel. It ends up being pretty slouchy, but I don't think I would have used heavier fabric or interfacing because already there were some seams that were tough to sew!
The way the bag is put together is pretty clever- but I definitely struggled a bit in the final steps of sewing on the base and the base lining. Fortunately, the trickiest parts aren't visible, so no one has to know that there are some less-than-perfect areas on the inside of the bag :)
Next time I might reduce the length of webbing used to make the adjustable webbing strap. Carrying the bag through the airport on my recent vacation, I thought that the strap was a bit too long, even adjusted to its shortest length.
If you make this bag, I would just offer a couple words of advice:
1) You might consider adding an additional 1/4" or so of seam allowance. Betz is a very, very good bag maker, and she uses 3/8" seam allowances on most of her seams. This isn't a huge margin of error if you anything like me and sometimes need some wiggle room.
2) I would recommend reinforcing the area where the tabs for the adjustable strap is attached with several rows of stitches on the inside seam. If you end up carrying a fully loaded bag by this strap, its going to take on a lot of weight and it would be horrible for it to come apart after you went to so much trouble!
3) Use nice sturdy hardware, fabric, and zippers. This bag ends up being pretty big, so you can load it up with quite a lot of stuff. You want it to be able to bear the weight of all of that stuff! For really durable hardware (if you can't find what you need in my shop, of course), check out The Buckle Guy.
4) Take notes as you watch the video- the pattern that comes with it isn't detailed enough to follow on its own.
I hope you give this bag a try-- it is a challenge but definitely very satisfying and fun!!