Duffle, Duffle, Duffle Bags

Trying to come up with something to get my dad for each birthday and Christmas is, to be honest, painfully difficult.

So I was quite excited when Grainline released the Portside Travel Set.  Perfect!  I just made him the duffle bag – black with a grey rope patterned drill for the contrast.dad-duffleAs I was already making one, I decided to make Kyle one too.  And then since I was making two, I decided I wanted one as well.

Kyle got black and red drill and I chose to use a grey bird cotton I’d received from Hannah of Made With Hugs and Kisses during the Spring Sewing Swap.  I probably would have gone for something a bit more bright and cheerful for mine (that grey bird fabric, would look excellent with bright yellow, I think), but I was being lazy and wanted to sew them all assembly-line style.  So they all needed to use the same colour thread.kyle-duffle



I’m not going to lie, cutting and sewing three duffle bags is a long and tedious task.  It took about three hours to cut out the fabric, lining and interfacing.  THREE HOURS.  I had NCIS going, but still.  Three hours.

The sewing is quite time consuming too – stitching long distances (especially around the straps!), three times over and on extra strong stitching, which does each stitch 3 times.  It was a very long process.


I made a couple of changes worth noting.dad-duffle-sideFirst of all, I didn’t use the hardware that makes the long strap adjustable.  I spent a long time Googling and Ebaying and Etsying, but for three sets of the things I needed, plus postage, it was going to cost me about $40.  Not counting fabric, interfacing or lining.  Yeah, no.

I later saw plastic versions at Spotlight (not sure how good they’d be) and it turns out that Stitch 56 stock proper metal ones, cheap AND in Australia.  Oh well.  I’ll get all fancy next time (on a regular bag, NOT a duffle).

I also balked at the price of decent interfacing at Spotlight.  I’ll admit, I’m spoiled having scored a roll cheap and nasty interfacing for $5 (there’s got to be at least 30m on there) when a local antique shop was closing down and selling out.  But yeah.  It wasn’t strong enough for this project.  I needed a lot and it was about $10/metre.  Nope.

At the op shop I work at, they had a roll of fabric.  It was the same sort of texture/sturdiness at silk duponi or taffetta, except really nasty.  The tag had the fibre content and while I can’t remember what it was, it was definitely something I thought was only in plastic lunchboxes and things like that.  It was really nasty stuff.  Oh, and the colour was a cross between gold and snot green.  I got the whole roll for $12 and it turns out to be really good for interfacing duffle bags!  El cheapo, to the rescue!


I hand stitched the lining to the zipper for the first bag, as suggested by the instructions – then decided that didn’t work very well.  My catch stitching leaves a little to be desired.  So I re-machined that, then machined the other two.

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t particularly enjoy this project.  Deadline, plus uninspiring fabric, plus really long seams, it just wasn’t working for me.  The pattern is really good though, the instructions are clear and there are a lot of tips for top stitching to give a really professional finish (I’ll admit – I was feeling cranky, so skipped the top stitching).  I feel like I’ve been dissing Jen –  I’m not, I swear!  This is a great pattern and you should buy it.  Just don’t make three at once.


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