How to Create Your Own Duffle Bag

Written by karyn campbell
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How to Create Your Own Duffle Bag
(old travelling bag image by Pali A from

Duffel bags serve as everyday totes and travel luggage. Created from a variety of materials, they can range from utilitarian, sturdy pieces, to light, oversized fashion bags. You may want a rainproof bag for sports sidelines, a leather bag for travel, or a multipurpose canvas carrier. Creating your own duffel bag allows you to choose your style on a budget and requires minimal sewing depending on how sturdy you like your seams.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fabric
  • Flexible measuring tape
  • Fabric marker
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Zipper strip

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  1. 1

    Measure and mark your fabric depending on the desired size and shape of your bag.

  2. 2

    Cut two large pieces of fabric if you are making a rectangular duffel---one for the sides and the bottom, and one for the front, back and top of the bag. Cut three pieces of fabric if you want to make a roll-shaped bag---one long, rectangular piece for the roll, and two circular pieces with their circumferences equivalent to the outer sides of the rectangular piece.

  3. 3

    Sew all the pieces together making sure you create an even hem around all the edges, leaving you with a closed-bag shape.

  4. 4

    Cut a 1/4 inch strip that stretches across the top of the closed-in cylinder or rectangle of material, starting about an inch from where the top meets the sides of your bag.

  5. 5

    Reach into the slit and turn your bag inside out in order to hide the hems.

  6. 6

    Cut your zipper into the size of your slit, and fasten it right beneath the edges of the opening. Sew it on starting from underneath to hide your thread knot. If using a machine you may want to turn the fabric inside out again and place the zipper facing down to sew it on from the inside.

  7. 7

    Cut strips of material for the handles, or try rope. Sew your handles on the small sides of the bag to create one long, arch strap, or sew two strips to the front and back of the bag, creating handles like a purse. Or fasten on both styles if you want over-the-shoulder and hand-toting ability.

  8. 8

    Customise your bag by sewing on extra pockets, zippers or decals.

Tips and warnings

  • Choose a tight, double-stitch seam or an overlock stitch for durability. When placing on handles, fold your material under into a small rectangle and sew threw the overlapping layers in the same, rectangular shape. When you hold your bag the handles will rely on a square-stitch anchor instead of a line-stitch anchor.

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