The Weekend Duffel Part 3: The Yellow Duffel Moves Forward

I thought it might be good to give a progress update on the Weekend Duffel project.

I went to Fabric Outlet to find new lining fabric for both bags. For the yellow duffel, I found a gray quilting cotton that was a shade lighter than the gray cotton-poly which shrank to the point of being unusable.  For the rocket blue duffel, In place of the navy blue lining I opted for a royal blue cotton-poly quiliting fabric which is a little bit lightweight, but was okay once interfaced.


I ran both cuts of fabric through the washer/dryer twice, and ironed them with steam. I also pre-shrank the fusible interfacing, following the instructions given in the book Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket. Basically, you soak it in warm water, press between towels to get out the excess moisture, then lay aside to dry.

With everything preshrunk, I went through the tedious task of re-cutting the lining pieces and interfacing, and fusing them together.  This time, there were no incidents and everything turned out satisfactory.

Interior Pockets

Part of the reason I signed up for the course is that the bag pattern is a good one; I spent some time looking for downloadable patterns on the Internet and didn’t find anything as nice as this duffel pattern.

I started work on the yellow bag first, with the gray lining. One side of the lining has a series of divided pockets; these were easy to sew. One thing I did that the instructor did not do was to reinforce the tops of the pockets with a bar-tack stitch.  The Juki F600 has a bartack mode that works well and can repeat the same settings, but as far as I can tell you do have to watch it because you must manually signal the end of the stitch.

IMG_1779The other side of the bag lining has a zippered welt pocket. The procedure is pretty much identical to the zippers I made for my hoodie project, where I sewed kangaroo-style pockets with zipper openings.

The instructor has you shorten the zipper, then cut the welt; I decided instead to cut the welt first, then measure the zipper to fit and then shorten it.  Zig-zagging in place across the zipper teeth created a new zipper stop on the open end.


View of the completed welt zipper.


Here’s a view of the back, before sewing the pocket bag.IMG_1782

I didn’t need to, but I used an overcast stitch on the pocket bag to keep it from fraying, and I did an extra round of seaming to reinforce it.  I don’t want to have to repair the pocket bag after the duffel is completed.


Exterior Pockets

The bag has two styles of pockets to choose from.  One is pleated, the other is a bellows style.  I like the bellows pocket because it has a cleaner look.  I also opted for magnetic snaps to close the pocket over a twist lock, again for the cleaner look.

I won’t go into the details of making the pockets and installing the snap hardware, because I don’t want to give away essential details of the course.  Here are the bellows pockets, completed except for outside pleats and installation on the outer side panels of the bag.


Attaching the bellows pockets to the bag was easily the most difficult construction step to this point.  I discovered the limits of my sewing machine – it refused to sew through somewhere around twelve folded layers of canvas, lining and interfacing at the corners of the bellows pocket.  (I’m using a size 90 jeans needle).


Here’s one of the two completed bellows pockets, with the pocket flap basted into place.



I recently placed an order for 50 sew-in tags from  I found them on the forums at  Compared to some other label places I’ve seen, their prices are really competitive and their online app to create your own designs is really superb.

Their basic “Woven Label – Text and Symbol” designer allows you to choose background and text colors, font, and provide up to three lines of text.  You can also add a symbol from a library of icons.  I discovered that you can create a divider line graphic nicely by entering in a row of underscore characters as the middle line of text.

They claim delivery in three weeks, but they were faster than that; my order arrived yesterday, less than two weeks after I ordered it. I chose 50 tags rather than 100 because I wasn’t sure if I would like them, but 100 tags is a much better deal price-wise – $34, not incl. tax and shipping.


I stitched a tag inside one of the bellows pockets.


Next Time

I keep pressing ahead with the duffel bag project. I think I want to get these things knocked out before going back to work on the pants.  But rest assured I will; I’ve purchased David Page Coffin’s new Craftsy course Pant Construction Techniques: In the Details and I’m looking forward to some pant-making soon.

2 thoughts on “The Weekend Duffel Part 3: The Yellow Duffel Moves Forward

Comments are closed.