Introducing… The Doable Duffel! 

Why is it named the Doable Duffel?

Because you can definitely do it! 💪

I won’t pretend to be a creative naming genius. When I was working on developing this pattern, I considered a lot of different names. But in the end, I chose the Doable Duffel because I really want you to know that it’s 100% achievable. Plus, I really like the alliteration of the two “D”s! 😁

A blue and grey plaid duffel bag sits on a wooden work top with a blue notebook and a cell phone tucked into the front pocket.

Isn’t Duffel spelled wrong?

No ma’am! 😆

If Wikipedia is to be believed, duffel bags originated from a town in Belgium called Duffel (where they created the signature cloth for these bags). Over time, the spelling has expanded to also include the variant “duffle”. So either spelling is correct!

Until recently, I had never seen the word spelled “duffle” - maybe it’s a Canadian thing?? Who knows! But in my mind, this is how this word is spelled.

So it’s the Doable Duffel!

A blue and grey plaid duffel bag sits on a wooden work bench with a sewing machine, scissors, a ruler, and a green cutting mat.

Why I designed the Doable Duffel

In 2022 I was introduced to (and fell in love with) bag making. I mostly have my friend Kait to blame / thank for this. It was a WHOLE NEW WORLD that I could explore while using all of the techniques and tools I already had as a quilter (plus some fun new accessories).

Wanting to share my excitement of this new skill with the world, I decided to create an online bag-making course. Because online education is my JAM!

I polled my audience and asked them what they’d like in a bag course. The overwhelming majority of respondents told me that they wanted to sew along with a specific project during the class. In short: they wanted to walk away with a finished project. That makes sense!

Oh, and they wanted to learn about zippers. So many comments about zippers!

The only problem was that I didn’t have a pattern that I could include in the course (because I had never written a bag pattern before).

Around this time, my partner Ian asked me if I could sew him a duffel bag with an interior zippered pocket so that he could safely store some small electronics.

A light bulb went off and the seeds of the Doable Duffel were planted!

Working on a Doable Duffel sample (or eight!)

I quickly whipped up a design and set about sewing it together. I liked the first iteration, but knew that it needed a few more features to make it really special.

After tweaking the design, I started sewing up piles of fabric so that I could make a TONNE of samples. I had so much fun picking out all of the exterior and lining fabrics, as well as the pantographs. 

Before long, I had a STACK of quilted panels, ready to become Doable Duffels.

A colourful stack of quilted panels sits on a wooden work top.

I brought my eight (EIGHT!) samples with me to a recent retreat and was so encouraged by all the kind words from my fellow retreaters. They all seemed very excited about the upcoming pattern and had great feedback for me about some of the details. 

At the end of the retreat, I had made excellent progress on my samples, but needed to finish the last few steps at home.

The first one I finished was the one for Ian (which I’ve been featuring in this blog post). 

Let me show you around this fabulous new bag!

Shelly stands holding pieces of her eight unfinished Doable Duffel bags.

Doable Duffel Features

I love that the Doable Duffel is so versatile - you can make it from a wide variety of substrates. So far, I’ve made versions out of quilting cotton, canvas, and flannel (as seen here). If you can quilt it, you can use it for your bag exterior!

There are three slip pockets on the exterior of the Doable Duffel - two on each end, and one on the front. The front pocket also features a small zip pocket so you can secure your valuables on the go. I’m happy to report that even a large cell phone will fit in the front zipper pocket.

A blue and grey plaid duffel bag sits on a wooden work bench with a cell phone tucked in the front pocket.

The long top zipper wraps around the sides to make it easy to open the duffel bag nice and wide - so easy to find things inside!

Inside, you’ll find a nice wide open space so you can pack your Doable duffel full of your essential travel items. During a recent trip, I was able to fit in a weekend’s worth of clothes, skincare, toiletries, a journal, e-reader, and slippers. It’s roomy!

You’ll also find a large interior pocket so you can store your laptop, iPad, or any other goodies you want hidden. When I showed this to my friend Sarah, she immediately called it the “Underwear Pocket”. 🤣

Shelly slides a large iPad into the spacious interior pocket of the Doable Duffel.

I also love that the Underwear Pocket is large enough to show off some more pretty fabric! I love adding more cuteness to my projects!

A closeup shot of a blue and grey plaid duffel bag shows the quilted texture on the outside of the bag, as well as the exterior and interior pockets.

You can carry around the Doable Duffel using the integrated handles or the carrying strap, which is attached using some bling bag hardware. If you’ve never used bag hardware before, I can assure you that it’s easy peasy, and super fun to play with new accessories!

A blue and grey plaid duffel bag sits on a wooden work bench, with a grey carrying strap folded to show off the gunmetal grey hardware.
Triangle rings, swivel snap hooks, and a slider in antique brass finish sit on a wooden work bench.

Doable Duffel Construction 

If you can make a quilt, you can make the Doable Duffel. Promise!

It starts with a quilted panel that you can either sew on a domestic machine or have longarmed. Longarming would obviously be my preference. 😆

From there, you cut out the various bag pieces using a rotary cutter and ruler, and then sew them together using a domestic sewing machine. Just like quilting!

If you’ve never made a bag before, there may be some terms, techniques, and components that are new to you. They’re all easily explained and I’ve even created a handy guide to walk you through the different parts.

The Doable Duffel Planner

I know some of this may be new to you (sewing zippers, anyone?) but I promise you can do it!

In an effort to show you how not-scary it all is, I’ve created the Doable Duffel Planner. In this free download, you can read up on all the different components, and crucially, you can check out the fabric (and hardware) requirements. 

On the last page, I’ve created a chart to help you keep track of all the different elements of your next Doable Duffel.

If you want to start planning your Doable Duffel, I encourage you to download the Doable Duffel Planner today! You know I would use it on my iPad, but it’s up to you whether you print it out or use it digitally!

When will the Doable Duffel pattern be available?

I love the enthusiasm and excitement that everyone has been sharing with me about this upcoming pattern! 

I’m happy to share that the Doable Duffel is currently available for purchase through my online shop

Looking for some hardware to complete your bag? I've got you covered in the online shop!

Have questions?

Did I miss anything? If so, pop them in the comments below and I'll answer them lickety split!

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  1. Love it! I need another bag like another hole in my head…but may just have to do this!

  2. I think you may have addressed this already, but now that I am committed to making a bag, I can’t find the info. What is the difference between using batting vs soft and stable? Also, the interfacing required is sf101 or similar. What is sf101? One more question: do you prewash the fabrics?

    1. Hi Sally,
      Yay! I’m so glad you’re going to make the Doable Duffel! If you’re looking for some basic information about the different components of the bag, you can check out my free download on this page called the Doable Duffel Planner. If you’re looking for more support, I offer an online class called Duffel Master that goes in-depth into all the topics you’ve covered.
      And nope! I don’t pre-wash my fabric. Ever. Even when making quilts.😆

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