Not Your Typical Duffel Bag

unique printed green duffel bag

I’ve had a gigantic green duffel bag for years now. I bought it before I spent a semester in East Africa in college so that I could stuff it into the bottom of my backpack and fill it up with souvenirs as I went. I got it from a surplus store and it smelled a little funky but I figured I could wash it out. Well, many years and many washes later, it still smells funky. So, I put it in the donate pile and made a new one.

green paisley geometric duffel bag

I stuck with green, but I had to spice it up a little. I had a bunch of this cotton upholstery fabric that I bought on a gigantic sale at some point and had sitting in my stash. I was worried that it wouldn’t be quite sturdy enough on its own, so I fully lined the bag with the same fabric.

I had intended to share the gist of the pattern and construction instructions, but it turns out that I assembled this bag in the stupidest way possible. Seriously, I couldn’t have come up with a more frustrating way to put it together. So, I’ll eventually get around to making a smaller version and share then.

reinforced stitching on duffel bag

To make the bag sturdy, I sewed all the seams, then serged them, then topstitched the outside and inside together at each seam.

pinning duffel bag together

I lined up the inside and outside seams but sticking a pin from the outside through the inside exactly in the seam and pinning in place. Then I topstitched. Not 100% perfect from the inside, but certainly close enough. I doubt anyone will be critiquing the lining of a duffel bag, and fortunately, the crazy print hides the stitching.

hidden zipper in duffel bag

Some parts came together beautifully. I’m proud of how the zipper hides under the flap of fabric.

topstitching on duffel bag

Because of my dumb construction, some parts were a disaster. Here I’ve snapped a picture of the corner where I solved my “nothing quite matches” problem by topstitching the heck out of it. Amazingly enough, you can’t tell very well, again because of the busy fabric. So I’m going to pretend that it’s supposed to look like this. And learn from my mistakes for the next bag.

reinforced strap on duffel bag

I sewed the straps on like I sewed them on my stuff sack. Again, the X stitching at top and bottom of the strap reinforce the stitching for sturdiness and the length of the strap distributes weight along the fabric.

handmade duffel bag

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