Duffel Purse Tutorial

on April 21 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 10 Comments

Seamstress Erin brought us our popular Swimsuit Sewing Tips post, plus a Kanzashi Wall Clock tutorial. She earned her Ph.D. and mixes her sewing, knitting and quilting skills with a little biochemistry too!

Erin designed this Duffel Purse as a fun, easy update to the traditional duffel bag. She also has corresponding tutorials at Seamstress Erin for How to Cut Fabric Circles and How to Add Detachable Bag Straps.

If you’re looking for more duffel inspiration, check out our “Goin’ to Camp” Duffel Bag.

This fun, little purse is inspired by the humble duffel bag. Play up its humble inspiration with a funky canvas version with cotton strapping, or camouflage its simplicity with luxe fabric and ribbon handles.

It’s quick and easy to sew with simplified zipper construction. There’s a small pocket on the inside just large enough for a cell phone, because everything is better with pockets!

You Need:

  • 1/3 yd canvas or upholstery fabric
  • 1/3 yd lining fabric (quilting cotton works well)
  • 1 ½ yds 1” wide cotton strapping
  • 9” or longer standard zipper

– Cut 2 – 7” diameter (3.5” radius) circles each from fabric and lining.
– Cut 1 – 10 x 19 3/4” rectangle each from fabric and lining.
– Cut 2 – 7” x 5” rectangles from lining.

This pattern uses a 5/8” seam allowance.

Sew the smaller rectangles, right sides together, leaving a gap on one side.

Trim the corners.

Turn the rectangle right side out and press.

Sew a line of stitching along one long side of the rectangle. This is the top of the pocket.

Sew the pocket to the large rectangle of fabric 1 1/4 inches from one short side and horizontally centered, sewing along both sides and the bottom of the pocket.

Fold the short sides of the rectangle (both fabric and lining) to the wrong side 5/8” and press.

Draw lines on the right side of your rectangle 3” in from each side.

Starting with the strapping centered on one of the long lines and the end of the strap roughly in the middle of the rectangle, sew down one side of the strapping, across the strapping where it reaches the horizontal line. Then sew back down to the end of the strap. For a nice, extra touch, you can reinforce your stitching with an X by following the stitch diagram above.

Sew the strapping along the other long line, leaving 10” of strapping between the two lines.

Sew the strapping to the other half of the first line, again leaving 10” of strapping between the two lines. Allow your end to overlap the beginning by 1” and fold the very end of the end under before you stitch it so that the edge is finished.

Sew the long side of the rectangle to the circumference of the circle, leaving a 1/4” gap between the folded ends of the rectangle. Be careful with your 5/8” seam allowance because deviations will make the circle and rectangle not fit together! This is the trickiest part, so go slowly and use lots of pins.

Sew the other side of the rectangle to the other circle, leaving the same 1/4” gap, and repeat the same construction process with the lining circles and rectangles.

Notch the seam allowance.

Turn the outer fabric right side out and tuck the lining into it.

Place the zipper in between the fabric and lining and pin it in place. You want the top of the zipper to butt up against the circle.

Tuck any excess length in the zipper between layers.

Sew the zipper to the bag by sewing through all three layers of fabric, zipper and lining. Use a zipper foot and sew about 1/4” from the edge of the fabric.

Enjoy your new purse!

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10 Responses to Duffel Purse Tutorial

  1. Barbara DG says:

    It is SO much easier to sew in the zipper by sandwiching it by placing it right sides together on the first edge, then placing the lining, also right sides together , over the zipper and stitching it. Then do the same on the opposite ends of the fabric. Sew on the handles. Turn all right side out, press, and edge stitch on the fabric fold. Turn wrong side out again to sew the ends on. Make sure the zipper is open, then sew on the ends.

  2. Lisa M says:

    This would be great with piping too!

  3. Glad you like the bag. Yes, it is possible to insert the zipper before hand. If your machine can’t sew through all three layers you can sew the zipper to top with your machine and then hand sew the lining to the bottom of the zipper.

  4. Glad you like the bag. I chose to insert the zipper at the end so that the inside and outside are fully finished without any hand sewing.

  5. Cody says:

    I love the shape and size of the bag. It is super cute. I’d make the handle a little longer next time. Is there any way to put the zipper beforehand? It is very hard for my sewing machine to go through all the three layers and saw all the way to the end. Thank you so much for the tutorial.

  6. Lauren says:

    Wonderful tutorial of this duffel purse! I love the pattern that was chosen for the inside. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Lindsay H says:

    Cute! I almost want to sew a pink one for myself and a camo one for my preschooler to use with his 12″ GI Joe’s. 🙂

  8. Ana says:

    Great bag, but wouldn’t it have been easier to put the zip in before attaching then ends?

  9. Kaholly says:

    I love this. I sew little gifties for a family of ten……9 girls and one boy. It’s always easy to find little things to make the girls, but not so much the boy. With just the right fabric, this will be perfect!

  10. Michelle says:

    OMGoodness this is amazingly cute!
    What a great idea. Everything is better in miniature!

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