Monday, April 1, 2013

Update from the Duffel Trenches #1

I've spent the last several days off an on working on my StudioCherie duffel bag. I've officially made it to step 4 of the pattern, strap preparation, so I'm going to share how the first few steps have gone.

Crosshatch quilting in progress

Step 1: Quilting and sizing the quilted pieces
Admittedly, I probably went overboard with the quilting. The instructions regarding the quilting were quite sparse, and I like quilting, so I spent a good bit of time adding lots of quilted flair to the two pieces that were intended to the be quilted. I've got straight-line quilting, I've got cross-hatch quilting, there's some scrolls, some clamshells, some stippling, really a little bit of everything. The quilting went rather well, until I got to the sizing. After quilting, I simply didn't have the size I needed to trim to, so I'm going to have to alter the pattern as I go. Next time (if there's a next time) I make one of these duffels, I will cut my feature fabric, batting, and lining at least 1-2" larger all the way around to allow for some shifting and such on the large piece. The smaller quilt seemed to come out just fine, so perhaps I wouldn't do that with that one, but I've made a note on my copy of the pattern.

Quilting - check!

The instructions then indicate to either serge the edges of the quilted pieces or to add binding to them. I thought (for about two seconds) about binding them, because the way I understand the construction of this bag, the edges will be visible from the interior of the bag, but decided against it and zigzagged the edges with my Viking.

Zigzagging edges

Steps 2 & 3: Marking the big quilted piece and Marking the small quilted piece
Marking was relatively easy and painless. The pattern gives some great visual cues on how to properly mark the pieces, so I think I'm all set on this front. We'll see how it goes when I actually need to see my markings in a few steps!

Next up is the strap preparation. This will be my first time working with jute for bag straps, so it should prove to be interesting. I wasn't able to source my jute webbing locally, I had to buy it online, so the color isn't quite what I would have wanted if I'd found it in person, but I think it will work out okay. Now that I've trimmed up my orange Sketch fabric for my straps, I'm liking it much better, and I think it will be a nice accent to my penguins. Stay tuned for more gory details as I make my way through this bag! Have a great day :)

Up next: straps!


  1. Looking good so far! I'm making one too. I was supposed to make it in the workshop at Sew South but didn't end up going. But you can check out the flickr group for lots of discussion on this particular bag. Lindsey from LRStitched even added a photo tutorial on how to add an elasticized pocket to the inside.

  2. Thank you. Just got the pattern. What was I thinking?

  3. I love your fabric choices. I have made four of these bags last month and I too did way more quilting the pattern called for, plus used two layers of batting just to give it a bit of structure. I also made my own handles based on the jute measurements as I did not have any. The only complaint so far is my husband wished it had a wide mouth opening as it does not have an overly big opening for the size of bag. Can't wait to see you finished bag. I blogged about the bags on my site

  4. This is helpful! Thanks for taking the time to share process...

  5. I'm thinking of making these for Christmas gifts for my kids this year. Will be watching your journey closely!

  6. Looks great so far. Very valuable tip on cutting larger if one plans to quilt densely. I'm considering trying this bag.

    Cheers, K

  7. I'm glad to read about your experience so far! I have the pattern and fabric for one of these for a swap (high hopes I guess...) But I haven't purchased the jute or the batting - I think I might use fusible fleece for mine. I'm interested to see yours come together so I can try to figure out how I'll do mine... I'm hoping to alter the pattern to make mine fully lined. I have no idea how that'll go.

  8. That is the cutest penguin fabric! Looking forward to seeing how the whole shebang turns out!

  9. I love the penguin fabric! Really looking forward to seeing the next part of your process with the duffel.

  10. Love your quilting and the fabric is so fun! I've heard that the jute runs in the wash if you have that red stripe on there so if you have time to prewash it, I'd recommend it.
    Can't wait to see yours. We made these at Sew South and they turned out great!

  11. I'm making this along with you. Unfortunately, once I had the outside all pieced and squared, I didn't like anything in my stash for the lining and straps. So it's ordered and I'm waiting.....

  12. Oh, and Elizabeth, I'm going to add a false bottom to mine and put in something to make the bottom sturdier.


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Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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