Birthday Duffle Bag

This is a truly just-in-time TGIFF post, because today was Isobel’s birthday, and she scored a new duffle bag:

Quilted Duffle Bag
Finished! A Quilted Duffle Bag

This bag was very challenging for me! The hardest parts were inserting the top zipper:

And creating the completely reversible straps (thank you, epic Ikatbag tutorial series!):

Reversible straps
These straps look brilliant no matter how they flop around.

And don’t even get me started on this positively evil welt pocket!

I was in my comfort zone with piecing the patchwork sections, as I was inspired by this excellent pillow tutorial from Crazy Mom Quilts (I love that pillow!):

I've left a channel for the handle anchors between the contact prints, but you get the idea ...
I’ve left a channel for the handle anchors between the contact prints, but you get the idea …

I tried out some spiral quilting, for the first time ever, inspired by another tutorial from Crazy Mom Quilts (again! Gotta love Amanda Jean’s stuff!):

Spiral quilting
The spiral quilting was easy to start on the firm denim fabric.

I put the centre of the spiral quite off centre on the bottom of the bag, and worked outwards, with only one dodgy spiral that needed unpicking. Verdict: fun! And I wouldn’t want to try this with a King Size quilt. 😉

I thought it would be oh-so-smart to balance this quilting with a square spiral onto the “round” ends of the duffle (I starting off thinking they would be circular, but they ended up trapezoidal):

I put an elasticised pocket into the inside of the duffle, to hold plastic bags for keeping sports shoes away from other items:

Elasticised pocket
Elasticised pocket

And, of course, a special label for my special girl:

Duffle bag label
Label up near the zip, so she can show off her “exclusive” design to her friends 😉

I finished off with an improvised adjustable shoulder strap:

I used two D-rings because the bag I took all this hardware from had the wrong kind of adjustable doodad (a buckle, with metal eyelets). I didn’t want to mess about making my own thread-bound eyelets, so I borrowed a D-ring belt-fastening trick instead. It worked really well! Doesn’t slip at all due to the sturdy straps I made. I’m a bit chuffed with those!

I have been so flat out sewing this bag that I’m dog tired tonight. But I’m pleased with the result: the bag went to school already today and held up well, and it was a useful size (I was worried it would be too big).

Next time — and I know there will be a next time for bags — I will plan more in advance so I can add more pockets. I just ran out of time! And the learning curve was steep. I will probably also use some kind of stiffener for the base such as a plastic canvas, to give more rigidity.

Happy birthday Izzy! I hope the bag lasts you until at least next year. 😀

(Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts other Friday Finishes … and TGIFF 🙂 )

4 thoughts on “Birthday Duffle Bag

  1. That bag is beyond gorgeous and Isobel is getting the best present ever. You should be so very, very proud of your project.

  2. Thank you! She asked for purple, which is my least favourite colour: I’m glad I managed to create something tasteful and a bit grown up in this colour scheme :). She’s very pleased with it!

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