I spent the last two Sunday afternoons taking a suitcase sewing class at Hart's Fabric here in Santa Cruz. Besides selling a great selection of fabric, notions, and sewing machines, Hart's offers some really fun classes. Our class used the Weekender Travel Bag pattern by Amy Butler.
|Amy Butler Weekender Bag|
|I added two interior pockets to supplement the 4 exterior pockets. What can I say? I like pockets.|
There were 4 students, including yours truly and my best sewing buddy, Jessica. Katrina was our ever-patient and capable teacher. Some of the class had never inserted a zipper before. One student was a total bag pro with her own business on Etsy. Somehow Katrina kept us all moving along together, and I think each of us had fun and felt like we learned something new.
|Diligent students hard at work|
|Adding a nifty secret interior pocket with zipper|
- While I probably could have figured out the pattern instructions myself, with careful reading and many cups of coffee, it was really great to have Katrina walking us through construction. This sucker is one of the more complicated things I've ever sewn.
- Technique: it's not just what you do, it's how you do it. While the individual steps of the instructions more or less made sense, there were times when I was sewing through so many layers of peltex, interfacing and home dec fabric that I could barely force the bag under my presser foot. By the end of the second evening sewing I felt like I'd been wrestling an angry anaconda. I probably should have clubbed the sucker before trying to jam it through my feed dogs. There were a few moments there when, if left alone, I would have given up. But Katrina petted my head and told me it would all be OK. And she was right! By the end of the evening, I had what actually looked like a suitcase, plus I have the experience to tackle another project like this in the future.
- It was fascinating to see what fabrics the other students had chosen and how much difference that made in the look of the finished bag. From Mod to Zen we had everything covered, and all of the combinations were dy-no-mite.
- Katrina got me to think about a lot of out-of-the-pattern-box options I wouldn't otherwise have been bright enough to consider. Internal pockets. Little feet on the bottom of the bag to protect it from dirty floors and wet sidewalks. D-rings to allow you to snap on a shoulder strap when you want to. Using contrasting fabric for exterior pockets. A pop of color for piping. Oilcloth for the bottom of the suitcase. The possibilities are infinite!
|This lady know how to sew a suitcase!|
|Half done. Well, the outsides anyway...|
|Still needs lining, but not looking too bad from the outside!|