Mob: 07890 850353

Sew your own Weekender Bag perfect for cabin luggage or weekends away

Sew your own weekender bag

Sew your own weekender bag, perfect for cabin luggage or weekends away  in just a weekend! It  fits the required size for airplane cabin luggage and it is soft, so can fold up and be packed as an extra bag should you come back from holidays with more than you take!  Or it is the perfect size for a  fun weekend away.


  • 1m of 115cm wide cotton fabric
  • 1m of lining AND of Wadding
  • 50cm of contrast fabric for piping strips (or a fat quarter)
  • 4m of piping cord*
  • 1 x 22-26” zip (robust metal teeth zip)
  • 2 x magnetic Clasp
  • Bag feet (optional, if you do want them, you will need a pack of four feet)
  • Pelmet Vilene or similar card for base of bag 53 x 19cm (21 x 7 ½”)


* You can also buy piping cord already made up if you prefer.


  1. Cut the pieces as follows in main fabric, lining and wadding
  • 2 of 53 x 33cm (21 x 13”) for main bag sides
  • 2 of 48 x 19cm (19 x 7 ½”) for front pocket AND bottom gusset
  • 2 of 57 x 11cm strips (22 ½ x 4 ½”) for zip strips
  • 2 of 28 x 19 cm pieces (11 x 7 ½”) for side gussets
  • 1 of 15 x 19cm piece (6 x 7 ½”) for side gusset pocket


  • 2 of 53 x 10cm pieces (21 x 4”) in main fabric
  • 2 of 53 x 5cm pieces (21 x 2”) in wadding


Lining pocket – cut an additional internal pocket piece 36 x 20cm (14 x 8”)


  1. Shape the top and bottom edges of the main bag sides – fold bag front and back pieces in half and draw a curve on the open edges starting approx 8cm down side edges and 8cm along top edge (use a plate as a guide if preferred). Cut off corner along the curved line. Repeat for lining and wadding.

TIP: Use the cut off piece as a template to cut curved edges in lining and wadding.

Sew your own Weekender Bag

  1. Quilt layers: Place wadding behind main fabric pieces and quilt in your preferred method. (Simplest is in straight lines, starting in the centre. Use a quilters’ guide to stitch perfectly parallel rows. Once complete, stitch again across the fabric to make a grid. Repeat for pocket panels, side and button gussets. Set to one side.


  1. Piping strip: Take the 50cm of fabric and fold corner of cut edge up towards the selvedge to find the true bias. Crease and unfold. Using a marking pen, draw a line along the crease on the wrong side. Measure and draw and cut parallel lines 3.5cm (1 3/8”) from the first across the fabric. You will need enough to cover 4m of piping cord. Fold strip in half with WS together. Sandwich the piping cord inside the fold and using a zip foot, stitch layers together to encase the cord.


  1. Add piping to bag pieces. Pin the piping, with raw edges together to the RS top edge of the pocket sections and along top and sides of the bag front and back pieces. Stitch in place using a zip foot so you can stitch close to the piping cord.


  1. Line pocket panels – With right sides together pin and stitch pocket lining to the top and side edges of the pockets, sandwiching the piping between layers. On the top edge, stitch a little closer to the piping cord, to the left of the previous stitching. Fold lining to the wrong side and press so piping is along the top edge.


  1. Add magnetic clasps to the pocket front. Fold pocket in half width wise to find centre, pin mark. Then fold again to get the quarter mark. Measure and mark 1” (2.5cm) from the piping on the lining at the quarter marks. Back this area with a square of wadding on the reverse of the lining (so inside between the lining and wrong side of main fabric). Attach one half of the clasp from the lining side, piercing through lining and wadding square only. Repeat for the other quarter mark on the pocket lining.


  1. Position pocket on bag front, centred between the side edges and with raw bottom edge in line with bottom edge of bag front. Stitch pocket to bag down sides and again down the centre to create two pockets. Baste lower edges together.


  1. Add the second half of the magnetic clasps to the RIGHT side of the bag front so that they match up with the clasps on the pockets.


  1. Stitch gusset pocket to one of the side gusset pieces, matching bottom edges and side seams. Baste in place. Set aside.


  1. Zip Strips – Fuse interfacing to the WS of main fabric strips. Open zipper and with RS together, pin zip tape to one long edge of the zip strip so the edges of fabric and tape are together. Pin lining underneath in the same manner, sandwiching the zip teeth between the layers. Using a zip foot, stitch through all three layers about 5mm (1/5”) from the teeth. Fold fabric and lining back so WS are together and press. Stitch main and lining fabrics together. Repeat for other zip strip and other half of zip.

Optional: Insert a strip of wadding cut 57 x 10cm (22 ½ x 4”), between main and lining of zip strip once it is stitched to zip tape, but before additional stitching of main and lining fabric of zip strips together.


  1. Stitch gussets together – with RS together, short ends of zip strip to top edge of side gussets, stitching closer to piping than before. Take care at the zip teeth position, if necessary skipping over them and hand stitching this bit later. Then stitch bottom gusset to the bottom edges of side gussets to create one continuous gusset.


  1. Handles – Fold short ends and one long edge of handle strip to wrong side by 1cm and press. With WS uppermost, place handle wadding along centre of handle strip and then fold raw edge over the wadding, then lap the neatened pressed edge over raw edge in the centre. Pin and stitch across the short ends and down the centre. Stitch again down the centre either side of first row of stitching to strengthen the handle.

TIP: Use side of presser foot as guide, running presser foot edge along previous row of stitching.


  1. Attach handles to bag front and back – Centre one handle between side edges of bag front about 5cm (2”) from piping with handle loop facing upwards. Stitch in position in a square, with a X through the centre to securely attach them. Repeat for other handle and bag back.


  1. Stitch bag pieces together – With RS together, pin and stitch bag front to gusset so that the zip is centred along the top and the side gusset/bottom gusset seams match bottom of bag. Work slowly and carefully, increasing stitch length to 3mm due to the thickness of fabric and layers. Again, make sure you stitch closer to the piping cord than before. Repeat to attach bag back to other side of gusset. Trim seam allowances.


  1. Lining Pocket – fold lining pocket, RS together in half and stitch around sides, leaving a turning gap in the middle of one edge. Turn through and press. With the fold of pocket as top edge, pin pocket to the centre of the lining front and edge stitch sides and bottom of pocket to lining, effectively closing turning gap as you do.


  1. Make up lining bag – stitch side gussets of lining to bottom gusset as before to make one continuous strip. Pin, again RS together this strip to lining front, matching seams at bottom. Again trim the corners off the bottom bag front and back so that you can fit the gusset to the bag smoothly and stitch as before, starting 15mm (5/8”) from top edges. Repeat for lining back. Press and turn under the top edges by 15mm (5/8”).


  1. Attach bag feet – Evenly space the four feet along the bottom of the main bag and insert through from right side. Cover the inner retainer with wadding squares, hand stitched in place.


  1. Add pelmet Vilene bottom – Turn the main bag, inside out. Cut a piece of pelmet Vilene to fit the bag bottom and catch stitch it to the inside of the bag.


  1. Attach lining to bag – with main bag still inside out, slip lining over so WS are together. Slip stitch around the lining to front, back and side gussets encasing the raw edge of the zip strip as you go. Turn bag right side out.