Saturday, January 24, 2015

Stitch Magazine's Weekender Duffel Bag

I'm destashing and packing up my sewing stuff so we can paint and put new carpet in the basement after a 3+ year reno. In the meantime, I'm going to get my fix by reviewing and posting everything I've sewn and not blogged blogged about for lack of time/energy/interest and most importantly inability to take a decent photograph.

A long time ago, I thought it might be fun to make a duffel. There are some great patterns out there on the interwebs, but none of them were exactly what I wanted (I have no interest in quilting anything). Then I found stitch magazine's weekender duffel bag. Oh ya, and it's free.

I went out, bought fabric, bought lining and just missed the sale on iterfacing so my project stalled for a number of months. Finally got the interfacing but my momentum had stalled so it sat for another few months—until my recent stash busting mission.

If you decide to make this yourself, be warned, the downloaded version does not come with instructions. Since I was winging it, my order of construction was a bit wonky. Not sure if I would do it again exactly like this, but here's what I did:

1. Insert zip into top two panels.
2. Attach lining to zip on opposite side.
3. Attach end panels to zipper panel (outside and lining fabric separately, though in future I would treat them as one and bind the seam.
4. Attach bottom to zip/end panels, creating a circle of fabric.
5. Sew outer pocket to lining installing piping.
6. Attach outer pockets to side panels, stitching down centre of pocket and baste along bottom/side edges
7. Bast side panel lining to outer fabric lining along edge
8. Sew side panels to zip/circle piece.
9. These seams with self-made binding from lining fabric.

There was one thing that I still can't make sense of. On the end panels (those that you attach to the top zipper panel), it says to cut 4 fabric and two lining. For the life of me, I cannot think of what you'd need the extra two fabric pieces for. I used them like an interlining.

End panel attached to zip panel shown here.
For interfacing I used this stuff (sorry no name) that Taran helped me pick out. It's stiff but has loft – perfect. I think you are supposed to use two different types of interfacing for different sections but I used the same one on all outer fabric pieces except for the top two attached to the zip where I used nothing. My lining was a very stiff home dec poly taffeta – super durable as a suitcase lining but melty-melty if I even looked at it with an iron in my hand. It also added some body to the bag and helps it not to completely collapse when empty, as to the bound seams.

Lining and binding

My outer fabric is also from the home dec discount department. Both the lining and the fabric were a good deal. I probably paid more for the interfacing on sale.

I had to guess on the length/width of the straps, but I used the pic as a guide and it turned out well. I also inserted flexible plastic tubing (can get at home depot, or my dad's garage) to make them stiffer and easier to hold.

Would I make this again? Proabably as a gift. The end result was very satisfying. It's large enough to use for a weekend but small enough that it's not unwieldy.

I love it and I can't wait to use it!!

I put a bird on it.


  1. Flexible plastic tubing--that is GENIUS! Also love your options on where to obtain said tubing (Home Depot, or your Dad's garage).

    Also love that you put a bird on it!!

    1. Seriously, he's got everything. You want an old iron... or three... I shouldn't talk. I have an extra kicking around here too. Hmmm. At least I get it honestly! Also, I spotted plastic tubing in one of my store bought bags, so I can't take the "Genious" credit – maybe just "observant" ;-)

  2. I love it! And I love using things from the garage in my sewing.

  3. So glad I found your blog! This bag is on my sewing bucket list!! Yours turned out beautifully!

  4. The extra two side panels are a side pocket, which isn't shown on the pictures.

  5. Hi! Could you tell me if the seam allowance is included in the pattern or not? Because I wanted to sew it, but i can't find any information about it. Thank you!