Saturday, February 23, 2013

Amy Butler Weekender Tote Challenge

Have you ever made a piece of luggage?  I hadn't either.  Have you ever wanted to?  I hadn't either.  But now I can cross that off my bucket list.  I'm not sure I believe in bucket lists, but if I did and making my own luggage was on it, it would be crossed off.

Here are our new luggage pieces.  They are a great size to hold lots of goodies.  It's a great carry on piece if you're flying.  We both made the handles longer than the pattern indicated.  The plaid tote has extra long handles that can be used crossbody style.  The chevron tote has longer handles, but they're shoulder length.

Plaid Tote
Chevron Tote 

We have read alot of different blogs where people have described their experience making the scary Amy Butler weekender tote.  First let me explain who Amy Butler is...for those of you who don't know.  Amy Butler is a designer of fabrics, patterns, ribbon, rugs, wallpaper, wall art, stationery, handbags, luggage.  You get the idea.  She's a modern girl.  Just like us.  And the cool thing about Amy Butler is that she lives in central Ohio.  close to one of us.

Now, on to the story of making the weekender tote.  Since we had read so much about how difficult this pattern was, we decided that we would see for ourselves if the rumors were true.  The pattern itself isn't that difficult to make.  After all, there are only 3 pattern pieces.  How tough could it be?  Right?

Action photos:

Installing the lining
The tote inside out without the lining

Yes, those are binder clips.  
Pins wouldn't fit through the thickness.

Sewing the sides together

Our goal was to have our totes ready for our vacation in early March.  Yeah, we're going on vacation together to Washington, DC.  We'll see how they hold up.  They may come home filled with cupcakes.  Would that be a problem?

Here's what the inside of our totes looks like.  The pattern includes 4 outside pockets, but none on the inside.  What tote would be complete without inside pockets, so we both added some.  There is loads of room in this tote.

Animal Print inside the Plaid tote

Polka Dot inside the Chevron tote

We each had our own most troubling moments while making our totes.  Joy's worst moments were when she was sewing the lining to the inside of the tote.  Jan's worst moments were when she was sewing the second outside panel to the tote.  But we are survivors!  The trick was to go slow and be very, very patient.

WARNING #1:  This is not a beginner pattern, even though it has only 3 pattern pieces.  It can get a little dicey sewing with lots of layers.

WARNING #2:  If you're sewing with a non-industrial sewing machine, it will rebel.  But that's ok, it will survive.  Broken needles and cussing were not involved in the making of these two totes.

WARNING #3:  We're never ever ever making this pattern again.  Just for the record.  :)

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