$40 Blanket Duffel DIY

Bonus post for the week!  Today I am sharing a simple project that took me FOREVER to complete!  I started it, took a break from it, then forced myself to finish it.  The finished product was well worth it, as I have already used it once and love how it turned out!

By now we have already established my love of print and pattern, but for those that do not know me, I have a long obsession with handbags, totes, purses, duffle bags…any sort of purse or pack period.  Unfortunately I also have very expensive taste, so it can be an obsession that is hard on the wallet!

I have been in the market for a new weekender duffel bag for awhile.  Something large enough for a 2-3 day road trip, but with more fashion to it than the typical luggage duffels.  Below are photos of my top 3 choices:

Unfortunately, the price range on these bags is anywhere from $300 to $700!!  For a second I actually considered the $300 option, but with a big vacation coming up, it didn’t seem like the best idea.

During what has become a weekly trip to JoAnn fabrics, I decided to peruse through the pattern books and see if I could find something to sew up myself.  I came across this Burda pattern and it had exactly the style of bag I was looking for (Option A).


I had scored this vintage wool blanket for $30 at an antique shop a few months back. Originally I planned to use it in an upholstery project, but it had some holes, and felt too itchy for use on a furniture piece.  I knew it was ideal for my bag project.

woolblanketI love that the color pattern is slightly different on each side and wanted to incorporate that detail in the bag design.  I used the brightly striped portion for the main bag panels and the bag sides used the panel with more green to it.

For those that may be newer to sewing, below are two tips I highly recommend when working with a store bought pattern.

Pattern Tip #1– Iron your pattern pieces.  Be sure your setting the iron to DRY, no steam!

You can see in the photos below what a difference the pressing makes.  It is much easier to accurately cut your pattern pieces when the pattern lays flat with minimal wrinkles!

Pattern Tip #2– Once you have all your pieces cut out, lay ALL of them out together and cross check with your pattern direction sheet.  There is nothing worse than getting into the sewing portion of the project and realizing you have to stop and cut out a piece you forgot.


The sewing portion of this project is fairly straightforward and went rather quick once I sat down and committed to finishing it.

bagfinish1bagsidehandledetailThe original pattern called for sewing the handle wrong sides together, then turning for a smooth finish.  The leather I used was much too stiff to turn, which is why I sewed the two wrong sides together, then trimmed the raw edge.  I like the looks of the raw edge finish better on this bag.

insidebagThe bright orange floral lining may be my favorite part of the finished product.  Even better is that I found the lining material in the clearance bin for $6!zipfacing

I also like the incorporation of an inner zipper facing on this particular pattern.  It makes the bag a little more secure.  I chose the orange zip for a pop of color and to tie back to the outside stripes, as well as the lining.

The one thing I wish I had done differently on this project was to add a stiff interfacing to the bag pieces before sewing it together.  The fabric is a little soft, so if the bag isn’t fully stuffed it can look a little droopy.

I used the bag last week for a two day work trip to Michigan and it worked perfect!  It held my yoga blanket, extra pair of shoes, 2 days worth of clothing, makeup bag, and grocery bag.  Made life so much easier to carry one duffel instead of 3 separate bags!

All in this project cost me around $45.  Much easier to take than $300!

So I am curious– what item have you been eyeing that you could make yourself?  Not sure where to start?  Send me a picture in the comments below and I will help you get started!

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