So, I finally finished the StudioCherie duffel bag we made at the Sew South Retreat. Truthfully, I wasn’t at all excited about making this duffle. I am not a duffle kind of girl so, I decided since I did want to be part of the class, I would make this duffle for my niece, hence the ugly cat fabric. Sorry, I am not a cat person either, she is, I like to vicariously live through others when it comes to cats.
I realized once it was finished that is way to big for a 8 year old that is 60 pounds soak and wet. It is so ginormous she could probably climb in and zip it up behind her. So, back to the drawing board, because once a promise is made, it must be keep.
I modified the pattern making it smaller and making it easier to use the fabric I already had in my stash. You see like most quilters I buy my fabric in either fat quarter, half yard or one yard lengths, and when I make a decision to make something I like to pull from my stash because it could be a while before I get out to the quilt shop.
This version took a total of 3 yard, one yard of the feature fabric, one yard for the lining and one yard for the handles, and because I don’t keep jute on hand I substituted some Pellon interfacing, like Lindsey taught at the retreat.
If you already have this pattern and want to make a smaller one for yourself here a few of the changes that I made and a couple of tips that made things easier for me along the way.
First, out of the featured fabric and the lining fabric I cut a 23” strip, sandwiched and quilted as she instructed, then I marked my measurements. Out from the center mark 5”, 10”, 5”, and 1 1/2” from the end, repeat along the other side. If you own the pattern you will know what this means.
After marking my measurements I then trimmed my large quilted piece to a 22” by 43” rectangle. Why did I do it this way? Because at the retreat I like some other people had trouble marking our large quilted piece because it wasn’t perfectly square. If you mark your measurements first you are able to use those measurements as a guide while trimming. Make sense?
You will also need two quilted and finished 11” squares.
The the raw edges. This is probably my biggest complaint with this pattern. I don’t like raw edges, it is the perfectionist in me. In her pattern she recommends that you either stitch all the way around with a serger or bind with double fold bias seam binding. At the retreat I was able to use a serger and finish the edges of the cat duffle, at home I used an overlock stitch with an edging foot. Then I used some bias tape and finished the two shorts sides on the large quilted piece, because that is that side that get hand sewn on the inside of the bag and I hate hand sewing raw edges.
Needle breakage and zippers. Because you are using a heavy duty or metal zipper you must be really careful when sewing them in or you will break a few needles. I learned this on my first duffle. On my second go around, I pinned my zipper so the zipper or metal stopper parts would not be in my seam at all. This worked out really well for me, making this side of the zipper really easy to put in, on the other side go really, really slow over that zipper.
I was completely lost when it came to the Zipper Stop Tabs. So, I gave up and used some of my leftovers from the straps with none of the interfacing. Two 4” long pieces folded in half and sewn into the seam.
The end pockets. Though, I really like the way she did the zippered pockets in her pattern, and would probably do them that way for myself, for my niece, I did simple, lined, reach in pockets on both sides. That way there she can stick in her Barbie's or stuff animals with out any problems.
Did you make any changes when you made your duffle? What did you think of the changes I made to mine? Please share your tips or tricks. I am eventually going to make one for myself. Once I decide on the fabrics or if I am going to QAYG, decisions, decisions, decisions…