My Cargo Duffle Bag

Cargo Duffle

My friend, Jaime, posted on Facebook quite awhile ago about making the new Cargo Duffle from Robert Kaufman and Noodlehead. It’s a free pattern and her post got a lot of response. She set up a sewing day for everybody interested to work on it. Unfortunately, as we got closer to the day we were supposed to snow, the weather was supposed to be bad and a bunch of people were getting sick. It ended up being just Jaime and I, but we had a blast and I finished my bag and she finished hers the day after.

Cargo Duffle


My pockets are a little larger than they are supposed to be, but that’s because I clearly don’t know how to do pleats appropriately. That’s OK, though, because I’m not really planning on using the outside pockets.

Cargo Duffle


There are things I love about this pattern and then there are a few things I would do differently. First, this was Jaime’s idea, but I would cut the main pieces as one piece, quilt it, and then cut it apart.

Cargo Duffle


Second, even though I understand why the bottom accent piece is put on separately from the main panel on the front of the bag in order to finish the pocket edges, but I don’t entirely like that method. I’m not sure if there’s a better way to finish the pocket, but I’d be interested in exploring that.

Cargo Duffle

Third, I love how the handles turned out with the accent piece, but I would have made them longer.

Fourth, I HATE binding on anything but a quilt. If it’s a shirt or bag that has binding, it immediately puts me off. I think it looks unprofessional and it’s not fun to do. Also, it’s usually the last step and takes the most time, which is frustrating when you’re almost finished with a project. Therefore, I would have liked a lining. It wouldn’t be hard to figure one out so that’s definitely an option.

Just a couple of notes:

1. If you want embellishments, special snaps, etc. on the pockets, make sure you think ahead because there’s no special snap instructions in the pattern.

2. I clipped some when sewing the bag together just to make it easier to turn a corner to sew. This is also not in the pattern and it was just something I tried and it worked out. I don’t know if I could replicate it again or even know where I clipped, but it made a difference when I was completing the final bag construction.

3. Why is it so hard to find a zipper that zips from the middle out? This coverall zipper that’s recommend zips from the outside in and has a zipper pull on each end. However, it would be so much nicer to have a the two zipper pulls in the middle and open from there.

4. This is not a large bag, but it’s perfect for a weekend. If you’re expecting a hockey size duffle, this is not it. Of course, you can always enlarge the pattern and make it larger. I like the smaller size.

5. The pattern has you use canvas for the interior, but you could easily use cotton with a light stabilizer (Pellon SF101) if you didn’t want canvas. I would probably do that next time.

  1. Becky’s avatar

    Lesley, the bag looks like the perfect size. I have some blue and white toile that would be perfect if I scotch guard the fabric to prevent stains. Thanks for all the hints, too. Every hint helps more than you know.


    1. Lesley’s avatar

      That would be soooo pretty! I used scotch guard on my Weekender and I’m definitely going to spray this, too. You should definitely make one!!!



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