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This bag became an immediate “BBF” (Best Bag Forever) as soon as it was finished. The size, style, features, and functionality all came together into a duffle that everyone on the S4H Team wanted to keep as their own. We love the gorgeous Wildlife organic cotton duck from Cloud9 Fabrics. It shows how you can use a bold motif to make a strong design statement. Our Janome Continental M7 machine was the perfect choice to make everything about the construction faster, easier, and with a super professional finish. If you’re looking for a new Best Bag for your collection, this just might become your next favorite as well.

As you scroll down the page, you’ll notice there are quite a few steps to follow. If you’re a regular S4H visitor, you know we always strive to make sure our instructions are as detailed and complete as possible. Breaking a project into a number of small sections helps make things bite-size and easier to understand, but it also means there are more steps to work your way through. What we often suggest is to read through everything once or twice to “make it in your head” before you dive in with fabric, scissors, and sewing machine. And, take advantage of the links within the instructions that take you to full technique tutorials. These are especially helpful if you’re brand new to a process, like making an adjustable strap or creating custom bias binding.

We truly believe the majority of our projects can be made on any sewing machine, but we also love to showcase our favorite models in order to show you how some of the special features you get as you move up the sewing machine food chain can expand your sewing experience. For this bag, we used the Janome Continental M7 Professional, a top-of-the-line powerhouse with the largest sewing space available for a home-use sewing machine and a newly redesigned motor that provides the strength, reliability, and sheer power to perform flawlessly from start to finish!

If you have just two flat layers of standard quilting cotton to sew, just about anything will get you through. But when you’re working with thicker layers in multiple substrates to construct a three-dimensional project, you need strong needle penetration, precise stitching, and a fabric feeding system engineered to handle whatever comes across that needle plate. The Continental M7 features the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex built-in fabric feeding system. We used it throughout this project.

Speaking of those thick layers, we do recommend using a cotton duck or similar for the exterior. Ours is called Vanilla Sky from the organic cotton duck Wildlife collection by Ophelia Pang for Cloud9 Fabrics. The gorgeous white birds are flying across a pink sky, their bright orange beaks catching the rays of the setting sun. It’s and older collection, but you can often find cuts with an online search. Etsy and eBay are good options to find yardage from out-of-print fabrics. And, of course, you can always browse the endless collections that debut each season to find new fabric to use.

Which are your favorite accents on this duffle? We love the decorative stitching added to plain polyester belting for the handles and adjustable strap. It’s a pop of color and texture that turns something rather ordinary into a unique feature. The Continental M7 has 400 built-in stitches, including 52 hand stitch styles! Choosing just one was a challenge, but it creates the finishing touch that says, “My bag is a custom design.”

Piping rims the entire perimeter and the pockets, a classic touch on a duffle to outline its shape. You’ll also be surprised at how easy it can be to create the center zipper panel. One of our goals at S4H is to banish your fear of zippers!

As with most commercial bags, for the longest life, this duffle is meant to be spot cleaned. Spraying the outside with a stain repellant, such as ScotchGard or similar is a good protective step. That said, all the elements are machine washable, and on a gentle cycle in cold water, you could likely get away with a full wash. However, tumble drying isn’t recommended. Let the bag air dry after any cleaning.

For the easiest construction, the duffle goes together in a way that creates some visible seam allowances on the inside. We chose to wrap ours in custom bias binding to match the lining. You could do the same or select your favorite machine sewn seam finish. Don’t have a favorite? We have a four-part series on the subject with lots of great options from which to choose.

Our Favorite Overnight Duffle finishes at approximately 15” wide x 8½” high x 6” deep with carry handles and a detachable, fully adjustable strap.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • 1 yard of 54+ wide cotton duck fabric or similar in a bold print for the exterior; we originally used Vanilla Sky from the Wildlife collection by Cloud9 Fabrics – an organic cotton duck
    NOTE: Our chosen fabric was directional, so the amount recommended above is enough to make sure all panels can be cut with the motif running in the correct direction, as well as to allow there to be enough fabric for fussy cutting and pocket matching.
  • 1¾ yards of 44+ wide quilting weight cotton or similar in a coordinating solid for the lining; we used linen in a neutral tan
    NOTE: We used our lining fabric to create custom bias binding to finish the interior seams of the bag. You could also choose to use a purchased packaged wide double-fold bias binding; if so, you could likely get away with just 1½ yards for the lining.
  • ONE package or 3½ yards of narrow bias pipingwe used Wright’s packaged Maxi Piping in Black
  • ONE 18” coordinating “chunky” plastic zipper; we used a Coats Sports Zipper in Black
  • TWO 1” D-Rings
  • TWO 1” Swivel Hooks
    NOTE: We used two Dritz 1” Swivel Hook and D-Ring sets in nickel.
  • ONE 1” Slide Adjuster; we used Dritz 1” Adjustable Slide Buckles in nickel
  • ONE Dritz ½” Swivel Hook; we used used a Dritz ½” Swivel Hook and D-Ring Set in nickel – you won’t use the D-Ring; keep it in your stash.
  • 2½ yards of 1″ polyester belting; we used two packages of Dritz 1” Poly Belting in Black
  • yard of 1” coordinating grosgrain ribbon for the D-Ring tabs; we used black
  • ¼ yard of ½” coordinating grosgrain ribbon for the optional interior lanyard; we used black
  • ¼ yard of ¼” coordinating grosgrain ribbon for the optional zipper pull; we used black
  • ½ yard of 45fusible fleece; we used Pellon Thermolam Plus
  • yard of 45+ mid-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
  • All purpose thread to match all fabric and belting
  • All purpose thread in a contrasting/coordinating color for the decorative stitching on the belting; we used an orange/pink to match the background of our fabric — you could also choose to use a heavier weight thread and/or an embellishment thread, such as a rayon
  • See-through ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins
  • Matches or a lighter to melt polyester belting and ribbons to finish their ends

Getting Started and Pattern Download

  1. DOWNLOAD AND PRINT the OVERNIGHTER pattern bundle. We’ve combined the body pattern and pocket pattern and so recommend printing TWO sets of the four pattern pieces. With two assembled patterns, you’ll have one full body pattern and can slice the second for the pocket pattern.

    IMPORTANT: This pattern download consists of FOUR 8½” x 11
    sheets, which have been bundled into one PDF to make the download easier. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guideline on each page so you can insure your final printout is to the correct scale.
  2. Cut out the pattern pieces along the solid line. Using the printed arrows as your guide, assemble the four pieces into one finished pattern as shown below.
  3. From the lining fabric, cut the following:
    Using the assembled body pattern, cut TWO

    Using the assembled pocket pattern (remember, this is sliced from the main pattern), cut SIX
    ONE 19” wide x 7” high rectangle for the zipper panel
    ONE 26” wide x 7” high rectangle for the side/base panel
    If making custom binding for the interior seams as we did, cut enough 2” wide bias strips to equal 100”, which is 50” per side
  4. From the exterior fabric, fussy cut the following – remember, if your fabric is a cool directional motif like our Cloud9 Fabrics selection, pay attention to the proper direction of each piece:
    Using the assembled body pattern, cut TWO
    Using the assembled pocket pattern (remember, this is sliced from the main pattern), cut TWO

    ONE 19” wide x 7” high rectangle for the zipper panel
    TWO 13½” wide x 7” high rectangles for the side/base panel
    NOTE: You are cutting two panels because we are working with a directional fabric. If your fabric is non-directional, you can cut the exterior side/base as ONE panel at 26” x 7”.
  5. From the mid-weight interfacing, cut the following:
    Using the assembled pocket pattern, but cutting along the dotted seam line rather than the solid outer line, cut FOUR
  6. From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
    Using the assembled body pattern, but cutting along the dotted seam line rather than the solid outer line, cut TWO
    ONE 18” x 6” rectangle for the zipper panel
    ONE 25” x 6” rectangle for the side/base panel
  7. From the 1” belting, cut TWO 23” lengths and ONE 44” length. Using a match or lighter, pass each cut end of each length through the flame a few times to melt and seal the ends.
  8. From the 1” grosgrain, cut TWO 2¼” lengths.
  9. From the ½” grosgrain, you’ll need the full 9” if making the optional interior lanyard.
  10. From the ¼” grosgrain, you’ll need a 7-8” length if making the optional zipper pull.
    NOTE: Because the ribbon is also polyester, you can again use a match or lighter to seal the ends. As above, just a couple quick passes through the flame should be plenty. No need to catch the world on fire. The ribbon is also thin enough that a tiny hem could be used instead of melting.
  11. The piping will be cut to length during the application process.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Accent the belting

  1. Find the three lengths of belting, two at 23” for the handles and one at 44” for the adjustable strap.
  2. Thread the machine, both top and bobbin, with the contrasting/coordinating thread you’ve selected for the decorative stitching.
  3. Select a decorative stitch. You want one that looks great from both the front and the back as both sides of the handles and straps are visible. On our Continental M7 Professional, we have 400 built-in stitches, including 52 hand stitch styles! We selected Stitch #87, which has a flying arrow look to it, and set up the machine for decorative stitching at the full 9mm width.
  4. You’ll want to be sure you have a sharp, new needle as the polyester belting can be tough. The Continental M7 has the power and precision to stitch smoothly through the thickness without any problem.
  5. We used the Start/Stop button to keep a consistent speed and, therefore, the most consistent stitch creation.
  6. Stitch down the exact center of all three lengths of belting.
  7. Set aside the stitched lengths.

Optional zipper pull

  1. Find the 7-8” length of ¼” grosgrain ribbon and your zipper.
  2. Slip the ribbon through the end of the zipper pull. Bring the ribbon all the way through until the raw ends align.
  3. If you melted the ends of the ribbon there is no need for an addition finish. If not, tuck in the raw ends and align the folds.
  4. Pin in place.
  5. The machine should still be threaded with the decorative stitching thread in the top and bobbin.
  6. Set for a straight stitch or narrow decorative stitch. We used the Utility Triple Stitch on the Continental M7.
  7. Stitch up the center of the ribbon.

    NOTE: We are adding the zipper pull at this point in the construction when the zipper is not in place as it is easier now to access the pull.

Fusing the fleece and interfacing

  1. Find the front and back main exterior panels and the exterior zipper panel. Find the corresponding fusible fleece panels for these same three pieces. The fusible fleece for the exterior side/base panel is applied later.
  2. Center a fleece panel on each of the three exterior panels so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the fleece on all sides. Following manufacture’s instructions, fuse in place.
  3. Find all the pocket panels: two exterior, and six lining. Find the four interfacing pocket panels.
  4. Center an interfacing panel on each of the two exterior panels and two of the lining panels so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides.
  5. Following manufacture’s instructions, fuse in place.
  6. Set aside the other four lining panels; two will be used for the interior pockets and two will be used for the exterior pockets.

Make the exterior pockets, inserting the handles

  1. Find the two exterior pocket panels, which should have interfacing already fused in place, and two of the non-interfaced lining panels.
  2. Find the piping. Cut a length to fit across the top of each exterior pocket panel.
  3. With the pocket panels right side up, pin a length of piping in place across the top of each pocket panel.
  4. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Re-set for a straight stitch.
  5. Attach a Zipper foot, lengthen the stitch, and baste the piping in place across the top of each pocket panel.
  6. Flip one exterior pocket panel wrong side up. Find the original paper pocket pattern. Cut out the bottom notches of the handle placement guideline. Place the pattern into position on the wrong side of the exterior panel.
  7. Trace the cut-out notches onto the fabric.
  8. Repeat to trace the placement notches on the wrong side of the remaining pocket panel. Below is a view when the paper pattern is removed.
  9. Find a lining panel and place it right sides together with one exterior pocket panel, sandwiching the piping between the layers.
  10. Pin along the top edge only through all the layers, but leave an opening at each of marked segments where the ends of the handles will go. Below is a view adding the marking pins from the exterior side
  11. And the layers with marks from the lining side.
  12. Re-set for a standard straight stitch, and stitch across the top of the pocket, remembering to stop and lock your seam at either side of the two marked handle points. You should be stitching as close to the piping cord as possible, but do not actually stitch on the cord. We opted to use the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system for the best control.
  13. Bring the two panels wrong sides together and press flat, revealing the piping.
  14. Find a 23” length of belting, which should already have its decorative stitching completed. Insert the raw ends into the openings in the seam, behind the piping. Lightly pin in place.
  15. Flatten the pocket, wrong side up, so you can now see the ends of the belting coming through the openings in the seam. Guide each end into place within your marked template.
  16. Pin securely.

    NOTE: We are going to all this trouble because the angle of the handles is very important — not only for the loop of the handle to form correctly, but also so the “tail” ends of the handle sit to the outside of the pocket divisions. You don’t want to be stitching across a lump when you stitch those divisions.
  17. Bring the exterior and lining right sides together again to reveal the original seam with the ends of the handle sandwiched between the layers.
  18. Continue the seam across each of the openings.
  19. We recommend double stitching across for extra security.
  20. Turn the pocket panels right side out once again (exterior and lining wrong sides together) and pull the handle up into position. Press flat.
    NOTE: Polyester webbing is not a fan of a hot iron; it can melt. Keep the iron on the fabric and away from the handle.
  21. Repeat to finish the second pocket in the same manner.

Layer the panels and pockets and stitch down the handles

  1. Find the front and back main exterior panels, which should have their fleece fused in position. Place the panels right side up and flat on your work surface. There is no lining layer yet against these main panels.
  2. Find the two completed pockets with their handles. Place a pocket right side up and flat on top of each main exterior panel, aligning the bottom raw edges. Pin the pocket to the panel along the sides and across the bottom.
  3. Find the original paper pattern. Cut out the handle placement area to create a window through which the actual handle is visible. Place the pattern pattern over the layered main panel/pocket.
  4. Make sure the paper pattern is correctly positioned, pinning or taping it lightly in place.
  5. Smooth the handle loop down against the main exterior panel so it exactly fits into the window template you created. Make sure there are no twists in the handle loop.
  6. Pin the handle in place against the exterior main panel, making sure you note the top of the window as that will be the stopping point of the stitching that secures the handles.
  7. Remove the paper pattern.
  8. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the belting in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
  9. Stitch from the top of the pocket up each side of the handle. Do not stitch across the piping. And there is no need to stitch horizontally across the belting; just stitch along each side of the belting on either side of the handle.
  10. We used the Lock Stitch feature on our Janome Continental M7 for a much neater start and finish to each of these four short seams.
  11. Repeat on the remaining main exterior panel.

Make the lining pockets and layer with the exterior

  1. Find the remaining pocket lining panels: two interfaced and two plain. Break them into two sets of two: one interfaced and one plain. Place each set right sides together; all edges should be flush. Pin along the top edge only.
  2. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the lining in the top and bobbin. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
  3. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across the top edge only of each pair.
  4. Fold the panels wrong sides together with the seamed edge straight across the top of each pocket panel. Press flat.
  5. Find the two main exterior panels. Place them right side down and flat on your work surface.
  6. Find the two main lining panels. Place one, right side up, on top of each of the exterior panels, which means the layers are wrong sides together.
  7. Finally, find the lining pockets, and place one right side up on top of each lining panel, aligning the bottom raw edges of the pocket and the panel.
  8. Pin securely in place through all the layers.
  9. Flip over the panels so they are now right side up – exterior side up.
  10. Mark for the two pocket divisions. To do this, find the exact center of the panel, then measure 2½” to the right of center and draw a vertical line. Then, measure 2½” to the left of center and draw a parallel vertical line. These two drawn lines should be 5” apart and they should be to the inside of the handle insertion points.

    NOTE: As we recommend any time you are working on the right side of your fabric, make sure you are using a marking tool that will easily wipe away or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
  11. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the exterior in the top and to best match the lining in the bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
  12. Stitch along each of the two drawn guidelines, through all the layers on both the front and back panels.
  13. We also opted at this point to machine baste around the entire perimeter of each panel through all the layers: exterior pocket, exterior base panel, fleece, lining, and lining pocket. There are a lot layers, and even though piping will be applied, it helps to keep all the layers as flat and secure as possible through each step. You don’t want any ripples in any of your layers!

Optional lanyard

  1. Find the 9” length of ½” grosgrain ribbon and the ½” swivel hook.
  2. Loop one end of the ribbon through the hook. Pull the ribbon through about 1″and make a tiny hem, then pin in place. If you melted the ends of the ribbon, there’s no need for a hem.
  3. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the ribbon in the top and bobbin. Re-set for a standard straight stitch.
  4. Stitch across the ribbon where you pulled it through, running the seam back and forth several time to secure. Keep the stitching as close as possible to the swivel hook.
  5. Place the raw end of the lanyard against the top raw edge of back main panel. It should be positioned about 4” out from center on the right side, against the lining side of the panel.
  6. Pin in place and then machine baste in place.

Add the piping to the front and back panels

  1. Place the front and back panels right side up and flat on your work surface.
  2. Find the remaining full length of piping.
  3. Starting at the center bottom of one panel, pin the piping to the right side of the panel.
  4. The piping’s insertion tape should be flush with the raw edge of the panel all around.
  5. You can clip into the insertion tape just a bit at each corner to help it curve around the panel.
  6. When you get back to where you started, overlap the start by about 1” and trim away the excess. It will be used for the remaining panel.
  7. Use your seam ripper to open up the tail end of the piping and clip back the cording inside so it butts together against the head end.
  8. Fold under the free end of the binding to create a finished edge and pin in place at the overlap.
  9. Baste the piping in place around the entire perimeter. We used our Zipper foot.
  10. We love that the Continental M7 has such a huge bed space. It makes keeping your project flat so much easier!
  11. Repeat to pin and baste the remaining length of piping (you’ll need approximately 50”) to the remaining panel.

    NOTE: If you are brand new to working with piping, we have a full step-by-step tutorial on making and attaching it that you can review prior to starting.

Create the top zipper panel and side/base panel

  1. Find all the elements for the top zipper panel and the side/base panel: top zipper panel exterior with its fleece fused in place, top zipper panel lining, side/base exterior panels (there are two), side/base lining panel (there is just one), and the side/base fleece panel (also just one).
  2. Slice down the center of each of the top zipper panel pieces: the fused exterior and the lining.
  3. You should now have two lining pieces that are 19” x 3½” and two exterior pieces that are 19” x 3½”.
  4. Find the zipper. Place it right side up on your work surface.
  5. Find one of the two exterior strips. Place it right side together along one side edge of the zipper tape. Pin along the top.
  6. Flip over the unit so the zipper is now wrong side up.
  7. Find one of the two lining strips. Place it against the back of the zipper and pin along the same side edge of the zipper tape. The two strips (exterior and lining) are now right sides together and the zipper tape is sandwiched between the layers. Re-pin, removing excess pins as necessary so you have just one set of pins through all three layers.
  8. Open up the zipper about half way.
  9. If necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to best coordinate with the exterior, lining, and zipper. Re-set the stitch length to normal.
  10. We engaged the AcuFeed™ Flex built-in fabric feeding system on our Continental M7. It makes it so much easier to stitch through tricky layers like this without shifting.
  11. Stitch across the top through all three layers, using a ¼” seam.

    NOTE: As with all zipper insertions, when you feel you are approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position. Raise the presser foot and twist the layers slightly so you can access the pull. Then move the pull out of the way of the presser foot. Once clear, drop the presser foot, re-position the layers, and finish the seam.
  12. Fold the lining back so the fused exterior panel and the lining panel are now wrong sides together and the remaining free edge of the zipper tape is sticking up. Press.
  13. Find the remaining half of the fused exterior panel and the remaining half of the lining panel. Layer the remaining free edge of the zipper, following the same steps as above. Pin in place through all three layers.
  14. Stitch through all three layers along this second side of the zipper, again using a ¼” seam.
  15. As you did above, fold the exterior and lining wrong sides together and press. The exterior and lining are now wrong sides together to either side of the zipper. Close the zipper and press well. Remember to keep your iron away from the plastic zipper teeth!
  16. Pin in place along either side of the zipper teeth.
  17. Slightly lengthen the stitch and make sure you have thread to best match the exterior in the top and to best match the lining in the bobbin.
  18. Topstitch along each side of the zipper.

Assemble the center section with the sides/base and add the D-Rings

  1. Find the two D-Rings and the two 2¼” lengths of 1” grosgrain ribbon.
  2. Slip a length of ribbon through each D-Ring, aligning the raw ends.
  3. Place one D-Ring at either end of the zipper, aligning the raw edges of the ribbon with the raw edges of the layered panels and pin in place.
  4. Find the two exterior side/base panels. You have two panels because we are working with a directional print. Make sure the panels are both facing the right way up. Place them right sides together and pin along what will be the center of the base.
    NOTE: As mentioned in the Getting Started section, if your fabric is not directional, you can cut the exterior side/base as one panel and can skip the joining steps below.
  5. Re-thread the machine if necessary with thread to best match the fabrics in the top and bobbin and re-set the stitch length to normal.
  6. Stitch the two panels together, using a ½” seam allowance. Press the seam allowance  open and flat.
  7. Find the remaining piece of fusible fleece. Center it on the seamed panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the fleece on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
  8. Find the finished top zipper panel. Place it right side up and flat on your work surface.
  9. Place the side/base exterior panel right sides together with each end of the zipper panel. Pin in place. You now have an exterior loop.
  10. Carefully flip this exterior loop wrong side out without disturbing the pins
  11. Find the side/base lining panel.
  12. You’ll form another loop with this lining panel. Place each end of the lining panel together with each end of the zipper panel, forming the loop. The right side of the lining loop is against the wrong side of the zipper panel.
  13. At each end of the zipper panel, when looking at it from the exterior side, your layers are as follows: exterior loop wrong side up, center zipper panel right side up (so those top two layers are right sides together), lining loop right side up (so those bottom two layers are right side against wrong side).
  14. Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch across each end of the center zipper panel through all the layers.
  15. Turn the exterior loop right side out. Flatten all the layers the two loops are now wrong sides together with the zipper section in the center.
  16. Slightly lengthen the stitch. Topstitch just below the seam at each end within the side/base loop through all the layers.
  17. The seams at each end of the center zipper section are now enclosed between the layers. And, to repeat, the exterior and lining side/base loops are wrong sides together.
  18. We also machine basted around the outer raw edges of the loop on each side. This helps keep the layers together during final construction.

Insert the front and back panels into the side loop

  1. Find the front and back exterior panels. Fold each in half, top to bottom, and place a pin at each edge of the fold. Fold in half in the opposite direction and place two additional pins. You now have pins at the quarter points of each panel, a little bit like the 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 points on the face of a clock.
  2. Repeat this process with the side loop to mark quarter points along each raw edge. The bottom exterior seam is the 6:00 point on the loop.
  3. Flip the side loop wrong side out. Set the front exterior panel into the loop so the two pieces are right sides together. Align the quarter point pins of the front panel with the matching pins of the loop.
  4. Pin through all the layers at these points first, then fill in around the panel.
    NOTE: This technique is the same as any project where you are inserting a flat panel into a tube. In this case, we simply have a very narrow tube and a non-traditional “circle.” If you are new to this process, check out our full, step-by-step tutorial.
  5. Stitch all the way around the panel, running your seam as close to the piping cord as possible. If your machine allows you to set the needle position, move it all the way to the left. We switched to the Narrow Zipper presser foot, another foot option on the Continental M7 when using the built-in Acu-Feed™ fabric feeding system.
  6. Here’s a look at how the seams come together, revealing the piping.
  7. Repeat to add the back exterior panel in the same manner.
    NOTE: The second side will be a bit more challenging to wrangle under the presser foot because you no longer have an open side. However, by making sure the zipper is all the way open and working to flatten the layers, you should be able to go all the way around without a problem. As with all things that may present a challenge, go slowly and stop as needed – with your needle in the down position – to adjust the layers. Again, we were so happy to have the generous bed space on the Continental M7 in order to better maneuver our panel under the foot.

Interior seam allowances

  1. We opted to wrap the exposed interior seam allowances with bias binding. You can choose this method or your favorite machine sewn finish.
  2. You can either use purchased binding or make your own custom bias binding as we did.

    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our full tutorial on Figuring, Making, and Attaching Bias Binding.
  3. To wrap your seams as we did, turn the entire bag wrong side out through the open zipper. Slip the binding over the seam allowance and pin or clip in place. Remember, you are only working with the seam allowance – NOT the bag itself.
  4. With the binding wrapped around the raw edges of the seam allowance, stitch in place, through all the layers, to secure. Go slowly and carefully to insure you are catching the front and back of the binding in this one seam.
  5. We started at the center bottom, like you did above with the piping. To join the ends, we used a simple fold and overlap.

The adjustable strap

  1. Gather up the remaining long length of stitched belting, the two swivel hooks, and the adjustable slider.
  2. Remember, we recommend melting the ends of the belting as a finish. It makes it much flatter and easier to work with.
  3. The steps for an adjustable strap are always the same. We have a great full tutorial you can check out if you are brand new to the process.


Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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7 hours ago

I just completed this bag and found it a little challenging. The instructions and photos do a pretty good job of showing how to complete the project, but I do think they could be improved. Some of the suggestions I would recommend are: 1. A longer zipper be used and cut down after installing. My Janome M7 did not like that there was the zipper end right where the seam needed to be sewn. I had to finagle it around to complete the zipper. 2. Some of the seams should be trimmed down to reduce bulk, especially at the pocket… Read more »

Cindy Alderman
Cindy Alderman
1 year ago

Hi, I just downloaded the pattern and it is different from the pictures in the directions. There are no markings on the exterior to show the handle placement. Also, the directions refer several times, that the pocket must be cut from the exterior pattern, but my download has separate pocket pattern pieces. My question is: Do I still follow the same directions even with these “differnt” pattern pieces? Sorry, I am a beginner, but am REALLY looking forward to making this for my grand daughter 🙂

Cindy Alderman
Cindy Alderman
1 year ago
Reply to  Liz Johnson

I am so-o-o embarassed, I was looking at the pattern for your weekender bag and not the overnight bag. I now have the correct pattern and am ready to go!
thank you!

Souri Harris
Souri Harris
2 years ago

Thank you, for this beautiful Overnighter bag. I just saw this bag on pinterest the other day, I was wondering if the bag has two pockets on both sides. That way I have enough material. Otherwise I need more material. Thank you again.

Souri Harris
Souri Harris
2 years ago
Reply to  Liz Johnson

Thank you, Liz! I really appreciated you responded to my question. I will let you know.

3 years ago

Hi HELP! I’m making this duffle as I find it a good match for teen granddaughters. But I’m a bit confused. First I don’t see seam allowance for the bag. I’m making my own piping and not sure how wide to make the seam allowance for that part. I figure the pipping seem determined the seam allowance. Thanks for you help. I have many of your patterns and find them easy and fun to make. Jane

3 years ago
Reply to  Liz Johnson

Thank you I was just making sure I didn’t miss that important information.

Cheryl Parker
Cheryl Parker
3 years ago

I wish you didn’t have it blocked so that we could cut and paste the directions. I could have saved at least 15 pages of paper (reduced sized photos and 2 columns per page). Very wasteful having to print your pdf.

Kathleen Kingsbury
Kathleen Kingsbury
3 years ago

Love this bag, especially like how you customized the belting.

Rochelle @ eSheep Designs
Rochelle @ eSheep Designs
3 years ago

I have several duffle style bag patterns saved, including at least two others from S4H. It’s a project that always catches my attention and yet never gets done because I already have such a bag (store bought) that has served me well for literally decades. That said, I still love to “collect” these tutorials. You know what my favourite part of this one was? I was most impressed by how the ends of the handles were buried at an angle. That is truly being meticulous and just goes to show the amount of thought that goes into the design of… Read more »

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