Monday, August 19, 2013

Weekender Sew Along: Creating Patchwork Panels

Weekender Pocket Quilt as You Go

When I learned that a handful of my fellow BMQG members were taking the plunge and making a weekender bag I decided to join in. I’ve had the pattern for ages, and even picked out fabric a while ago, so this was the motivation I needed to get started.

I decided to make a patchwork version of the bag, and making the patchwork panels has been really fun! It’s a lot like composing a small improv quilt. I have a few tips to share today for anyone else thinking of making a bag this way.

Basically, to make patchwork panels, you forgo using interfacing and instead cut the exterior pattern pieces out of a sturdy fabric such as duck cotton or canvas. Next, you cut batting that is ½ inch smaller than your exterior pattern pieces. Finally, you use a variety of scrap fabrics and use a quilt-as-you-go method to create quilted pattern pieces. Using the heavy duty base cotton and quilting creates structured pieces for the bag that do not require additional interfacing.

Weekender Pocket

Here are my tips:

·         DO read everything you can from those who have already made the bag before beginning! This goes for making the weekender in general, not just the patchwork panels, though it certainly helps ensure success when making modification to a pattern. I’d highly recommend reading Elizabeth Hartman’s post on her blog, Oh Fransson, about making her patchwork weekender, as she was the first person (that I am aware of) to construct the bag this way. This post details very clearly how she made her patchwork panels, and I followed this procedure pretty closely.  I’d also recommend checking out posts from Stephanie of Providence Handmade, as she wrote a very detailed post about modifications she made and what worked for her. There are also a ton of patchwork versions of this project that you can find on pinterest or flickr for inspiration!

Denim needle  

·         DO use a strong, sharp needle to make the panels. The cotton duck that others have recommended is very heavy-duty and I recommend using denim needles to create these panels.

adding a neutral scrap  

·         DO use a white or neutral fabric to hide dark seam allowances. For example, in the photo below if you look closely you can see that the darker color may show through the lighter fabric sewn on top. Follow this recommendation I added a scrap in the seam allowance to avoid this issue.

laying out my favorites  

·         DO join together smaller patchwork sections before adding them to the pattern piece.

·         DO go slow at first to stitch evenly.

·         DO pair together fabrics you love!

·         DO zigzag around the edge of each piece to prevent fraying

·         DON’T worry about perfection—this is about enjoying the process and making something you’ll love!


  1. Thanks for the tips, Natalie!!! I LOVE your fabric choices:-)

  2. Great tutorial, Natalie!
    And love the colors you choose!

  3. You know I love that PB! I love the text too. All great tips. I can't wait to see everyone's bags!