Quilted Duffle Bag DIY

Back in the 80’s duffle bags were all the rage.  Everyone I knew had several of them.  I’m not quite sure what made me think of doing this, but I decided to make a retro-style duffle in this awesomely bright fabric, Dots & Daisies.  To give it a bit more of that homemade look, I quilted it and used a bright coordinating fabric called Kimono for the interior. And I gave the bag handles and an adjustable strap to give it versatility.


This took me a few hours to complete.  It isn’t difficult, just time consuming.  You can definitely simplify it by using pre-quilted fabric and eliminating the adjustable strap (which will also eliminate the need for most of the hardware).
You can also add a pocket between the handle straps if you like (I am not including directions for that in this tutorial), but anyone familiar with bag-making can do this quite easily.
Bag Exterior
1 yard quilting cotton
Bag Interior
1 yard quilting cotton
Bag Handles & Strap
¾ yard quilting cotton
½ yard fusible interfacing (medium weight)
Fusible Fleece
1 yard
**NOTE:  If you want to simplify this project you can purchase double-sided pre-quilted fabric instead of making your own.  If you do this, you will need 2 yards and you can eliminate the Fusible Fleece and additional fabric/interfacing for the handles and straps.
  • 22” Sport  Separating Zipper (thick plastic teeth, must be able to completely unzip)
  • 1 1.5” Bar Slide
  • 2 1.5 “ D Rings
Exterior Fabric:
  • TWO (2) circles., 11” diameter
  • 35” x 20” rectangle
Interior Fabric:
  • 2 circles, 11” diameter
  • 35” x 20” rectangle
Fusible Fleece:
  • 35” x 20” rectangle
  • 2 circles, 11″ diameter
Handles & Strap Fabric
  • FOUR (4) strips measuring 5.5” x 43-45” (width of fabric)
  • ONE (1) strip measuring 5.5” x  8”
Fusible Interfacing
  • FOUR (4) strips measuring 5” x 43-45
  • ONE (1) strip measuring 5.5” x  8”


Iron the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the Exterior Fabric then iron and pin the Interior fabric on the other side of the fleece, right side up. The fleece will be sandwiched in-between the two pieces of fabric…both fabrics right sides are facing out.


Do the same for the circles.  You will have 2 sandwiched 11” circles.
Iron the fusible interfacing to all the strips of strap/handle fabrics and set aside for later.
Using a quilting foot, quilt lengthwise down the main bag “sandwich”.  Start at the right hand side and use your sewing foot as a guide to keep your lines straight.  This is a little time consuming and tedious, but the final result is well worth it!
Once finished, trim the rectangle to exactly 33 ¾ “x 19”  (I have you trim this after quilting to accommodate any shift in fabrics while sewing)
Repeat for the two circles.
If you have a serger, serge all the raw edges because they will be exposed in the finished bag.  If you do not have a serger, a simple zig-zag stitch will clean up the edges just fine.
Fold the short ends of the main quilted fabric under towards the interior ½” and press.

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Center and pin one side of the zipper under the folded edge.  Sew the zipper to the fabric.
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With the zipper closed, pin the other side of the zipper to the other short side of the quilted fabric.  AFTER you have the zipper pinned in place, unzip the zipper and sew in place.  It is important to unzip only once everything is pinned in place or you will end up with an uneven zipper!
Once both sides are sewn, zip it up to check that it zips properly.  If not, go back and fix it before continuing.


Take the one piece of 5.5 x 8” of fabric and fold it in half length-wise.  Open, then fold the long ends in to meet at the center, then fold in half again, concealing the raw edges.

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Sew around the perimeter using a 1/4” edge stitch.   Cut the finished strip in half to make two strips, which will become the tabs that hold the adjustable strap.

Notes: You only need the D rings, the slides pictured here are for the adjustable strap.Slip a D ring onto one strip and fold it in half.  Sew across the strip at the end and once again close to the D ring to prevent it from sliding around.


Repeat for the other strip.  Set aside.
Sew three of the four 5.5 x 45” strips together (press seam allowances open) to make one very long strip of fabric.
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Notes: This photo shows the interfacing not yet on the strips….
Just like you made the tabs,  press in half, then open and press the edges in toward the center and fold in half again concealing the raw edges.
Cut this long folded strip to 100” in length and set aside the extra as you will need this for the adjustable strap later.
Open the ends and press in the raw edges ½” and refold to create a finished end.  Edge stitch around the perimeter ¼” from the edge.
Find the half-way point of the 100″ strap you made and crease.
Unzip the zipper and lay the duffle flat, right side facing up.  Find the center bottom of the duffle by folding in half (zippers will meet) and crease.
Measure 6 inches in from each corner and mark.  This is where your strap handles will be centered.  Measure 6″ in from each side along the bottom crease line on the bag and mark.  Center and pin one finished end of the 100” handle down at this point.  Wrap the strap up and around the top of the bag and have it come back down the other side making sure the crease marks of the strap (1/2 way point) lines up with the center crease line on the bag.  Continue laying the remaining 50″ of strap up and over and then back down the other side of the bag until the other finished edge meets up with the pinned finished edge.


Measure 4 inches down the strap handels from the zippered edges and pin.  This will mark where you will stop and sew across the strap when sewing the strap to the bag.  The top 4″ of the strap will NOT be sewn to the bag.
Starting at one of your finished strap edges (in the center bottom of the bag), use a 1/4″ seam allowance and sew up to the pin that is 4″ down from the zippered edge.  Turn and sew across the strap, reinforcing by sewing back and forth at least twice.  Sew back down the other side of the strap using the same 1/4″ seam allowance and continue all the way to the other side of the bag once again stopping at that 4″ pinned marker.  Sew across the strap again, reinforcing the stitch, and back down the other side of the strap until you meet where you started.
Repeat for the other side of the strap.
Center these two tabs on the ends of the main duffle piece, over the zipper with the duffle RIGHT SIDE OUT.  The D rings should face each other and all the raw edges should be facing outward. As you can see I let these overhang about 3/4 inch as I didn’t want them to stick out too far)

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Sew both tabs in place using ¼” seam allowance.  IMPORTANT:  Sew very slowly here.  When sewing over the zipper teeth, you may want to hand crank the machine to avoid breaking a needle.  Back tack at start and finish.
Trim any excess zipper/tab fabric off.


Turn the duffle WRONG SIDE OUT.


Starting at the zipper, pin one quilted circle WRONG SIDE OUT, to the duffle end.
Sew using a ½” seam allowance.
Repeat for the other side.
If desired, you can serge the interior seams for a more finished look.
Turn right side out.
Almost there…..
Attach the excess strip from the handles to the leftover piece of 5.5 x 4.5” strip.  Just as you did before, fold in half, then open and press the edges in toward the center and fold in half again concealing the raw edges.  Edge stitch around the entire length of the long strip using ¼” seam allowance.
Open the ends and press in the raw edges ½” and refold to create a finished end.  Edge stitch around the perimeter ¼” from the edge.


Take the strap wrong side up and thread one end through the center bar of the slider.  Pull through about 2” , pin and stitch it down onto itself to hold the slider in place.
 Pull through about 2” , pin and stitch it down onto itself to hold the slider in place.
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 Thread the free end of the strap through one of the D rings of the bag.  Thread it back through the slider and then through the other D ring.

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Stitch in place.
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Final Finishbag b
Enjoy your new duffle!
This project is from sewplicity.