How to Make a Duffle Bag

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Duffle bags serve a multitude of uses, from carrying clothing to toting sports equipment or laundry. You can make a military-style, top-loading duffle bag at home. This duffel bag has a circular bottom, a top that pulls closed with a drawstring cord, and a strap that is sewn onto the side to make it possible to toss the bag over your shoulder.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy-duty fabric such as denim
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Drawstring cord
  • Safety pin

Cut a circle of fabric 11 inches across. This is the bottom. Cut a second strip of fabric 44 inches long and 34 inches wide. This is the main section of the bag. Cut a third strip of fabric 5 inches wide and 20 inches long. This is the strap.

Fold under ½ inch on all sides of the strap. Press. Fold strap in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Press. All raw edges are now on the inside. Top-stitch close to the edges on all sides. Pin the strap to the main section of the bag, parallel to the 44-inch seam, 2 inches away from the seam, 6 inches from the top and 22 inches the bottom. Stitch end of strap at top and bottom. Stitch again for durability.

With right sides together, pin the two 44-inch long sides together and stitch to create a tube. Be careful not to catch the strap while sewing the seam. Using the zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine, zig-zag down the seam to finish the edges and provide extra durability.

With right sides together, pin and sew the circle to the bottom of the tube, easing to fit. Zig-zag seams as for main section.

At the top of the bag, clip two horizontal, ½-inch holes for the drawstring to go through, 1 inch on either side of the side seam, and 1 ½ inches from the top. Use a zig-zag or buttonhole stitch to sew around the edges of the holes.

Fold under the top of the bag ½ inch and then ¾ inch to make a casing. Your drawstring holes should now be on the outside of the bag. Stitch a straight line around the bottom of the casing, below your drawstring holes.

Cut a 40-inch length of drawstring cord . Attach one end of the cord to a safety pin. Put the pin into one hole and, pulling the drawstring with the pin, work it through the casing to come out the other hole. Remove the pin and tie the drawstring in a knot. Pull to close bag.

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