jump to navigation

Lined mini duffel bag tutorial June 17, 2012

Posted by Judy in Sewing projects, Tutorials.

We are planning on hitting the pool rather often this summer. To prepare, I made a giant pool bag for myself. Alas, it was too narrow at the bottom, so fitting swimming gear and towels for myself and three babes in it was a challenge. So, I decided to make each of the babes their own mini duffel bag that would contain their swim robe and clothing. I wanted it to be lined so that they could dump their wet suits in there without having them leak all over the truck. I took pictures along the way to share a little tute with you all. It’s a pretty simple project. I used velcro instead of a zipper, which made it quicker to sew.

This is a very mini duffel. The finished width is about 17 inches. It’s just big enough to fit their robes, clothing and shoes, and then it’s stuffed full. But really, the oldest is 5, so they don’t need a giant bag just yet!

Please excuse the low quality photos.  My sewing room lighting isn’t great for photography, and my camera is junkola!  Also, the pics are from two different bags as I made two at the same time.  

What you need:
Outer fabric – choose whatever you or your little one would like
Lining fabric – something waterproof. I used the disposable plastic picnic tablecloths. You could use vinyl or PUL or even laminated cotton.

Pieces to cut:
18 1/2 in. x 23in. – cut one each of outer fabric and lining
cut 2 circles each of outer fabric and lining – the diameter should be 7 inches
4 1/2 in. x 38in. – cut one of outer fabric
17 inches of 1 inch wide velcro – cut one each of hook and loop

Let’s get sewing! (Click on the pics to see more detail.)
Seam allowances are 1/2 inch unless otherwise noted.

Making the handles.

1. Take your handle piece and fold the two raw edges in toward the center, hot dog-wise (the long way). Press.
2. Fold it in half. Press.
3. Open it back out so that the raw edges are still folded in to the middle. Place the two short ends right sides together lining up the raw edges. Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. You should now have one connected, continuous piece of fabric. Fold it in half like you did in step two. (Somehow I didn’t get pictures of all of this. Hopefully the explanation makes sense.)
4. Baste it closed.

Sewing the body of the bag

1. Place the lining and outer bag right sides together. Pin the two short sides together and sew.
2. Open out the bag and fold the seam allowance toward the outer bag. Stitch. (This step is optional. No one will actually see this stitching, it just makes it easier to press in the next step.
3. Flip everything so that the outer bag is on the top and the lining is on the bottom. Press the short sides. Be sure to use a pressing cloth so you don’t melt the plastic!

Next you’ll be sewing on the velcro.
-Take one side and fold it to the wrong side 1.5 inches. Press. Place the velcro on the folded part and sew it on. You’ll be sewing through the velcro and two layers of the bag.
-Flip the bag over so that the lining is on the bottom and the newly velcroed section is away from you. Sew the other strip of velcro here.

Attaching the handles

This is the only somewhat tricky part, and only because it involves a bit of measuring and marking.
1. Fold your handle in half and mark the two centers (the upside down pin). Then mark 3 inches to either side of the center. (The other two pins. This is where you will eventually be sewing your x-boxes.)
2. On the bag piece, mark 7 3/4 inches in from the edge on both sides.
3. Now mark 3 1/2 inches down from the short edges (the ones with the velcro sewn onto them). So you should have four spots marked (just ignore all of the pins, I marked more than I ended up needing to mark.) Each pin should be 3 1/2 inches down from the short edge and 7 3/4 inches from the side. Place your handle so that the outer pins are just inside the marks on the body. The center pins should be close to the velcroed side.
4. Sew along both sides of the handle, leaving the portion above the markings unsewn (this is the actual handle portion), and sewing x-boxes at the markings.

Finishing it up

-Pin the circles for the bag and lining right sides together. You should have two sets.
-Serge the edges (or baste together however you’d like).

1. Velcro the bag closed and then flip it inside out.
2. Pin the circles to the ends of the bag, clipping the bag where necessary to get it to fit. Stitch. Undo the velcro and turn the bag right side out.

Sit back and admire your mini lined duffel bag!


1. Carla - June 17, 2012

I like it. I was looking at something like this today. I am aiming for more of a rectangular prism shape, but the idea of using an old plastic/vinyl tablecloth is a good one to keep things dry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: