a while back, my good friend ashlee (who i’m sure by now i can just reference as ashlee, because if you are a faithful follower of my blog, i mention her at least every other post, lol) and i decided we wanted to make a bag

my first suggestion was the cargo duffle by noodlehead…mostly because it is a free pattern lol. also, because i thought it would be similar to vera bradley duffles (i’m glad we didn’t decide on this one, because someone made a gorgeous one for me, and it is A LOT smaller than i expected! and it looks A LOT more technical as well!)

in turn, ashlee suggested the weekender travel bag by amy butler. she thought it would be cool to make them scrappy like so many people have showcased on instagram. (i bought ashlee this pattern for her birthday, so it is next on our collaborative to do list)

in the end, after much research (on ashlee’s part, as she had previous experience with sewing bags, and i did not) we agreed on the senna tote by willow and co

ashlee bought the patterns, i bought the 22 inch zippers and some other supplies. when she came over for our sewing weekend back in february, we went to the fabric store and got the interfacing, canvas lining, some fabrics we needed and also our materials for the straps/base of the bag (we chose different cloths for this)

of course, being the rockstar she is, ashlee finished her bag back in may, and has used it for a few trips already

i love the color palette she used, and the fussy cut text! she is so talented

wpid-wp-1436920789999.jpgand i’m SO EXCITED to announce that after working on this so slowly and steadily, i have finally completed mine a mere 5 months later lol

i’m sure you remember my progress shots of this paper pieced beauty that we decided to name “pink lemonade”

wpid-wp-1428433769365.jpgthis was supposed to be the exterior pocket, but when it was all said and done, i was going to lose some of the points, so i decided not to use it. now i will have to make something else spectacular out of it!

instead, i turned to a new technique, quilt as you go, and i loved it!

here are the two pockets

wpid-wp-1436137287560.jpgand the two panels

wpid-wp-1433119516144.jpgnot the best pics, but just wait 🙂

i prepped as much as i could, and when ashlee came over on monday night for dinner, we got down to business! luckily a really bad thunderstorm kept her here pretty late, because we were determined to get this finished by the end of the night, lol

my goal was to get it done before heading out of town on the 23rd, and look, i have over a week to spare lol

i guess i should get to the good part now huh?

luckily the rain stopped just long enough today for me to take some good photos outside, because i wasn’t going to just post any ol mediocre shots after working so dang hard on this thing!

here is the front

wpid-wp-1436920203615.jpgin hindsight, i should’ve made the front pocket a solid color. don’t get me wrong, i love the patchwork feel of my tote, and wouldn’t change it for the world, but looking at it now, it’s a little overkill, and perhaps that would’ve calmed things down a bit. maybe i could’ve even appliqued a “c” on it or something? what do you think?

here is the back

wpid-wp-1436920207272.jpgsomehow i accidentally trimmed the back pocket a little too short. it was supposed to completely cover the grey and white ikat. i think the ikat breaks it up rather nicely though, so i’m ok with it showing

here is a picture of some cotton and steel fabric that i didn’t mean to conceal, but i guess it makes for a cute peek a boo inside the pocket

wpid-wp-1436920233451.jpghere is the expensive lining fabric that i splurged on, and the pop of coral interior pocket. ashlee recommended making three pockets instead of just two, like the pattern instructs. i followed her directions, but haven’t tested the bag out yet, so i will have to get back to you on that. i do think a thicker interfacing should’ve been used for it though

wpid-wp-1436920227732.jpghere is the zipper and the cute pulls at the end. the zipper was the hardest and most frustrating part for me! after i topstitched around the zipper, it kept getting stuck, so i had to rip it all out. unfortunately the fabric on the inside was too close, so although i loved the look and sturdiness of the topstitching, i ultimately had to leave it off 😦

wpid-wp-1436920221612.jpghere are the straps that i had such a hard time with. they turned out beautifully, and i’m so glad i stuck with it! the only problem, is that now i can’t ever wash this bag

wpid-wp-1436920214328.jpgi had planned to use the same faux leather/vinyl for the base of the bag, and that turned out to be a disaster! luckily, being a hoarder paid off, because i just so happened to have this pink duck cloth that matches almost perfectly! i also had black, and couldn’t decide which one to use. after bouncing some ideas around, ashlee and i decided that for appeal i should use pink, but for practicality, i should also use black. so that’s exactly what i did!

wpid-wp-1436920239132.jpgafter reading a few reviews about the pattern, i wanted to take some of the advice and make a modification to the straps. i didn’t sew them as far up as instructed, because i wanted to be able to fold the top down

wpid-wp-1436920217852.jpgperfection! i would make the straps a little bit longer though, as it fits more comfortably around your forearm versus over your shoulder, as i would prefer

i was seriously SO HAPPY i wanted to sleep with this bag! laughing, but VERY serious

when brian came home i raved about it for a solid 15 minutes

i asked him to rate it on a scale from 1-10 and he said 47.5, lol GOOD ANSWER!

i am so proud of this bag, and i am also so in love with this bag. the whole time i was putting it together, and immediately afterwards, i said i would never make another one…but i actually probably would. maybe a simpler color blocking next time

i really love how thick and sturdy this bag is. i was a little worried that it wouldn’t be, but all doubts have been completely erased from my mind. i can’t wait to use it next weekend on our road trip! i think i can fit all of my essentials, plus some snacks, plus some works in progress, books, my gps, a change of clothes, and any/everything else i may need! lol 🙂

i love big bags and i cannot lie

i think i can now successfully add bag maker to my sewing resume

i will report back once i stuff this bad boy full of goodies and let you know for sure just how useful it was

❤ xtina