Pattern Review Update – Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag

Hmmmm.  Pattern Review?  Actually this is about some pattern add-ons.  Added Extras.  Bonus bits.  A little tweak let’s say.

Ok, enough of that – to the task at hand.

I recently made the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag for my pregnant friend – to use as a nappy bag.  So I tweaked it just a little, and you know what?  I think these little extras make a big difference.  I’ll be doing it for all the bags I make from this pattern now.

By the way, I have posted a heap of tips and tricks for this pattern right here.

First Tweak: I added velcro to the outside pockets.

So, after inserting piping onto outside pocket and sewing handles onto large panel, I just sewed a small strip (approx. 8cm long) of velcro.  It stops the outside pocket from ‘flopping out’ (note my technical term).  This is great for a nappy bag, because you can still place nappies and wipes in here, and keep it closed.

Second Tweak: I added a small pocket to the inside.

What I did: Was cut out a rectangle of the outside fabric, ironed a hem on each edge, sewed the top hem in place, pinned the pocket onto the inner lining of the bag, and sewed into place (the two short sides and bottom – leaving the top open of course).  It’s a great pocket for your phone, keys, dummies/wipes (if using for a nappy bag).

So that’s it.  Some Rosy enhancements to this fabulous bag.  I must say too, that I use mine for everything.  It’s pretty excellent.

Keep happy,

Amy x

Pattern Review – Craft Schmaft Owl Mobile

Sewing Level: Beginner to Intermediate

I’ve been promising my Craft Schmaft Owl Mobile review for quite a while now…and finally I have a chance to share with you!

Craft Schmaft Owl Mobile - Pattern Review

I made this owl mobile last month for a friend of mine who has just had a baby boy – and she LOVES it!  (Please excuse my somewhat ‘out of focus’ pics – my little camera doesn’t take very good action shots.  This also testifies to the fact that the mobile works brilliantly as these four little owls did not stop moving!)

That leads me to my first point – I LOVED making this sock softie owl mobile.  It is such a creative concept, simple to make and very rewarding to see four rather ordinary socks transformed into extraordinary owls.

The instructions are easy to follow – but as I always say – read through all the instructions first before you begin.  This way you get a good idea of the owl making process before you get down to the nitty gritty.

This project is all about hand sewing – so if you haven’t sewn by hand before, now is definitely the time to start.  And remember – it does take practice to get your stitches neat and even.  The hand stitching techniques you’ll need are backstitchrunning stitch, overcast stitch, and satin stitch (click on each for the ‘how-to’).

Making Craft Schmaft Owl Mobile

Step by Step Tips:

Step 1:Click here for more instructions on how to do backstitch.

Step 2:
I cut the top and bottom off one sock (as per the instructions), then using this sock as a template, I lay it onto the remaining three socks and cut around them (one at a time).

Step 6:
Before stitching the fabric wings to the felt wings, I placed one set onto the owl to check that the size was okay.   Mine were way too big, so I trimmed the set (keeping the wing shape & just trimming in 5mm at a time).  I then used this set as a template and cut the other fabric & felt wings to the same size.  I used the running stitch to sew the fabric wings to the felt wings, leaving enough embroidery thread to then sew (using overcast stitch) the wings to the owls.

Step 7:
I know I just said it…but I allowed enough embroidery thread from my wing sewing to also be able to stitch the wings onto the owl (to save myself knotting off the thread, then re-threading a new piece of embroidery thread).  I hid the beginning knot underneath the wings.  Also once I’d sewn the wings to the owl, I finished underneath the wings, tied a knot and then pushed my needle through (still with thread attached) to the bottom of the owl, where I pulled the needle out and trimmed the thread.  This way you lose the end of the thread in the owl and don’t need to worry about the knot coming undone.

Step 11:
For your owl’s little beak, you’ll need to use a satin stitch, which is a beautiful stitch (click on the link for some how-to).

Craft Schmaft Owl Mobile

The Mobile

For the mobile itself, I used dowel instead of twigs, which I cut down to size.  Although it doesn’t have as much character as the twigs, I kinda ran out of time and so I was very happy with the dowel.

To wrap my Craft Schmaft Owl Pattern Review up – I have to say this is a great project, easy to follow, easy to source the materials, and a very satisfying ‘make ya proud’ end result!

Have fun x

Pattern Review – Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag

Hello.  Hope you enjoy and the pattern review on the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag.  We have an Update with a few added bag enhancement just here.

In the Update I’ve added a couple of new ideas like: velcro for the outside pockets and inserting a small inner pocket.

Yes, see it here.  Oh, but before you do, best read the tips and tricks below – these will help you with the pattern basics.  ps. here’s a pic of the latest one I’ve made. x

Review: Feb 2012

Sewing Level: IntermediateAmy Butler Weekender Travel Bag Pattern Review & Tips

I really enjoyed making the Amy Butler Weekender Travel Bag. I found the pattern to be comprehensive and relatively easy to follow.

As always, I’d recommend that you read through the pattern (at least once!) before beginning.  Actually read through the cutting layout instructions and guide several times – to ensure that you have enough fabric!  This gives you a good overall feel for what you’ll be doing in each step.

With piping, zip, interfacing, ‘bulk’ sewing and hand-sewing, ,this pattern is suitable for the intermediate sewer.  I’d recommend that you have had some experience with inserting a zipper.  The piping instructions are quite straight-forward. When joining pieces all together, sewing does become very bulky – just go slow, relax and take your time!

I did do a few things differently, which I’ve outlined below – hopefully this will help you when you are making your own bag.

I used heavyweight fusible interfacing rather than pellon – the finish is a little different (not as thick & cushy), but it still sits beautifully, it was a little easier to sew (less bulky) and was also more cost effective.

Step 10 – Actually iron in the 3 peltex/heavy interfacing bottom inserts to the wrong side of the exterior bottom, along with the lightweight interfacing (rather than waiting to insert them in Step 11E) – this will ensure that the bottom panel remains flat and does not buckle/pucker when trying to place the inserts at a later stage.

Step 10 Decrease seam allowance to 1/4″ when sewing the lightweight interfacing to the Exterior Bottom.  This will ensure that the seam can’t be seen once joined to main panels.  (The pattern recommends that you use 1/2″ seam for both).

Step 11 – Once you have pinned the top and bottom panels to the main panels, clip the curves before you sew.  This will minimise puckering at the curves.

Step 13 – Iron in the peltex/heavy interfacing to the wrong side of the false bottom (rather than inserting later) this will ensure that the false bottom remains flat and does not buckle/pucker when trying to place the insert at a later stage.

Pros:
Easy to follow instructions & helpful diagrams (visual is everything in sewing!)

Involved a number of sewing techniques, including interfacing, piping, inserting a zipper, hand sewing and top sewing

One gorgeous, comfortable and good sized travel bag – which I always receive compliments on!

Cons:
The bag was quite fiddly to sew at times – including joining the main panels with top/bottom panels, particularly around the corners.  Preventing puckering was quite difficult, especially because of the bulk of the bag pieces – however, going slowly and clipping the seams before sewing helped a lot!

Sewing the lining in was quite tricky, only because of space limitations (you’re hand sewing it into the bag) – to overcome this, just fold each side of the bag right down to the base, then hand the sew seam allowances together at certain points (my sewing points were about 15cm apart, and always on curved corners).

In Three Words:  Persist with fun!

Enjoy Peeps x