Duffel Bag Tutorial

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When I went to my former middle schools’ rummage sale a couple of weeks ago. I found a table-cloth that I bought to use as fabric. Along with a lace curtain, also to use as fabric. A couple of months ago I went to the the bins and got a bunch of clothes to use as fabric. One dress I’m using as the lining. This bag took me a weekend, plus 10 minutes a week later to put the handle on.

My material;

· 2 different fabrics, one a lining, one an exterior

· A 14″ zipper, heavy-duty. I got mine thrifted and it has a very satisfying zip to it.

· 1 1/3’ yard long strap

· Thread

· 1/2′ lace

I started by figuring out how big I wanted the bag, I measured the radius of the (then invisible) bag ends.

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I used that to find the circumference. 2п radius. I used 5.5″ as my radius. I guess geometry was important to take. That circumference will be used, not only to make the circle, but also to help figure out the dimensions of the body of the bag.

duffel toterol 209The middle of the bag  I just a strip of table-cloth as long as the circumference. And as wide as I wanted. I wanted to have strips of lace on the ends so I added 2 pieces of 3″ by the circumference.

Time to cut out the pieces. One out of the tablecloth, one out of the lining duffel toterol 215duffel toterol 218

To draw the two circles, use a ruler to mark 5.5 inches in various places. Make sure you have a middle dot to measure from. Connect the dots and cut out two of the tablecloth and two of the lining. And easier way would be to use a compass. But I didn’t think of that and chose to use this painstaking method.

When all your pieces are cut, pin them together. Remember, wrong sides together!

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Baste all pieces as pinned, so the lining is held onto the exterior. To baste (don’t worry I had to Google it) is just to sew using big stitches so they can easily be taken out. duffel toterol 227

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Now you need to hem the lace. Just tuck the edge under and sew it.

Pin the circle to the rectangle middle. Inside out… of course.

Eventually you’ll get to this pointduffel toterol 233duffel toterol 234

SEW. And repeat on the other end. Once outside out, it’s done except for the zipper and strap.

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For the zipper, pin the extra fabric underneath.

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Sew the zipper to the first side of the zipper.

Sew the other side of the zipper to the fabric. Make sure they line up.

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Trim the excess off the inside of the bag.

Congrats, you’re almost done. At this point, check for structural mistakes. Make sure it’s secure at all points.

Time for the strap. I used a yard and a third of yellow thick canvas like thing that I got at a fabric store.

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Sew the strap to the sides of the bag, using a square as to make it extra secureRose tutorials 003Rose tutorials 006

Done! It looks a little lumpy in this picture, thanks to the blanket I stuffed in there to give it shape. I wasn’t in the mood to pack it full of clothes just to have them be taken out.


  1. I am a member of a knit/crochet/weave for charity group and we know that children who are in the foster system need something in which to carry their few precious items, other than plastic garbage bags.

    Maybe I can make one of your bags! Thank you for the instructions.