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Made by Me Monday – Noodlehead Cargo Duffle

2013 December 23

I’m so excited to share this bag with you today! Anna from Noodlehead shared this Cargo Duffle pattern – it’s a free pattern available from Robert Kaufmann.  As soon as I saw it I wanted to make one to use as an airplane carry on. We are visiting my parents this Christmas, so it’s going to get lots of use!

The pattern is the perfect size and looks amazing when it is finished. It’s very professional and the construction method makes it strong enough to hold its shape well. I got the fabric from Warp and Weft back in the summer. I’m on a scooter kick… and I love the blue, red and creamy white. I had the navy blue twill and Kona for the pockets in my stash. The inside is lined in some quilting cotton I picked up at Fabricland.

The zipper opened at each end – like a double zipper on a coat. I was really happy to find out that I could turn the zipper pull tab around so it zipped into the centre. I’ll be posting a tutorial on how to do it soon – it’s easier than you think! (Update: Here is the zipper tutorial.)

I added a large zipper pocket to the inside so I can store all of the surprises that will hopefully keep the kids happy for the trip. It is really easy to do this because of the way the bag is constructed.

I wanted to talk a bit more about this bag – the construction, the quilting (which I’m now addicted to!). But it’s Christmas dinner day today so I should likely get back to everyone! Have a great start to your week. Hope you enjoyed the photos with our lovely ice storm in the photo backgrounds. It’s been fun seeing our icy winter wonderland outside!

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15 Responses leave one →
  1. December 24, 2013

    This bag looks great! How long did it take to make it? Thanks for shareing the link to the free pattern.
    The ice storm has given you a nice background for your pictures. Yesterday evening the ice storm in Canada was on the news here, and this morging it was in the paper too. It doesn’t look like fun. I hope you can make the trip to your parents, despite of all the ice everywere ;) . Have a nice Christmas.

    • December 27, 2013

      Hi Mirjam! Thanks – we had a great Christmas day in the airport and the flights were very smooth. The bag took quite a while – but I made it in short bursts between Christmas-y baking etc! I think in all it might have been 10-12 hours? The quilting takes the longest – and also trying to make 1/2 metre of the main fabric work when it calls for 1! :) I used up almost all of the fabric down to the tiny scraps on this one.

      • December 27, 2013

        Hi Mirjam – funny – my youngest was saying it wasn’t Christmas because it wasn’t snowing – where do they figure this stuff out?! 10 degrees is perfect weather. We left for the airport in -12! Ah well :) I have to agree with you on the clothing sewing – definitely the most satisfying.

  2. Kim permalink
    December 26, 2013

    Your bag looks so beautiful! I want to make one right now too! Can you please post the tutorial on how to change a double end zipper to zip to the center soon? Thank you! Merry Christmas!

    • December 27, 2013

      Hi Kim! Thanks :) I love it – and it’s amazingly roomy too! I’m posting the tutorial today actually – hope that works for you!

      • Kim permalink
        December 28, 2013

        Thank you, where can I find the tutorial?

        • December 29, 2013

          Hi Kim! I’m so sorry it’s a bit later than I had planned. You can get the tutorial now here: Thanks! Please let me know if you have any questions.

  3. January 28, 2014

    I am in the middle of making a cargo duffel and am VERY confused on step 2. Would you be able to talk me through it? The first part is confusing. <> Is this the TOP of the bottom piece or the BOTTOM of the bottom piece? Why am I doing this when the next part says, <> Why do I need a fold if I’m aligning raw edges?

    Then it says > The picture shows the pockets centered left to right AND top to bottom. But wouldn’t I want the bottom of the pockets at the bottom edge of the top piece? Then when I sew the bottom piece on, it would hide the bottom raw edges of the pockets, wouldn’t it? I don’t understand why the pockets are centered top to bottom in the picture.

    I understand the part about sewing the pockets, and I quilted my fabric before cutting as it suggested in the beginning of the directions, so I thought I could skip the next part, but it mentions again the pressed edge of the bottom accent piece, which confuses me.

    • January 29, 2014

      Hi Kathi, I’ll do my best to try to help – please email me if you have more questions and I’ll be happy to answer them. :) I think the main thing that is making you feel like you are doing it wrong is that you are trying to add the exterior accent piece to the bottom of the bag. The accent piece does not add to the height of the bag – it actually covers the bottom of the exterior quilted part of the bag. Hope that helps! Here’s a bit more detail.
      First Part: Press the TOP of the bottom accent piece under 1/2″ so the raw edge will be finished (this edge will “just” cover the bottom of the pockets). Then align the BOTTOM (still raw edge) of the bottom accent piece with the bottom (raw edge) of the exterior. So, basically the bottom accent piece sits on top of the exterior, it is not adding to the height of the bag – it is on top of it. You will have 2 layers – Accent piece on top, quilted exterior on the bottom.
      Second Part: The reason the pockets are “centered” on the exterior is that they need to be above the bottom accent piece. The top of the bottom accent piece should “just” cover the bottom edge of the pockets – like you said.

    • January 29, 2014

      OK! I think I get it! Thank you so much! I understand now where the pockets fit and what you mean about the pieces overlapping. I’m guessing that was done to add stability? I’m wondering, though, why didn’t we just cut the top piece smaller and use a thicker interfacing on the bottom piece rather than add all that bulk of top piece, batting, backing and bottom piece, batting and backing! Have you ever worked with french seams? Would that work here when attaching the gusset if I add another 1/2 for the seam allowance? I really would rather not have to add all that binding! Would you be able to tell me the dimensions of the finished bag? I’m guessing it will be somewhere around 11 X 19 X 5 or 6??? Thank you for all your help. I can’t wait to finish my bag! (Oh, one more thing….you said email you. I am pretty good with a sewing machine, but terrible with a computer. I have absolutely no idea where to find your email!) Thank you!!!!

      • January 29, 2014

        Ok….Now I REALLY get it! They grey piece was NOT supposed to be quilted until it was attached to the top piece near the pockets, right? Then ALL the layers are quilted together as one, so there is NOT all that bulk with double batting. Is that right? But way at the very beginning of the directions it said to quilt all exterior pieces before cutting to size, which is what I did, which is why I have double bulk. Goodness! My second bag will DEFINITELY be better than my first one! Thank you again for all your help! >^..^<

        • January 29, 2014

          Oh dear :) Yes you are right! I didn’t quilt before cutting, I cut and then quilted… glad it makes sense now!

      • January 29, 2014

        I’m glad Kathi! I think that due to the bulk with the batting/canvas/cotton the french seams would be super hard to do unfortunately. I don’t like binding either – but it turned out not to be too bad since you are “only” binding two large rectangles. I used this tutorial ( to miter the corners. I think the reason she didn’t make the side in two pieces is that we’d have more binding to do ;) and also it would be bulky if the seam went under the pockets. Also I think she wanted to add a different colour of fabric on the base of the bag, which looks nice. The finished dimensions of my bag are: 18″ x 5 1/4″ x 10(ish)”. Email is :) Hope that helps!

  4. January 28, 2014

    Hmm…it didn’t record the part of the directions that I copied and pasted. Inside the first it should say Press the bottom accent piece WST by 1/2 inch. Inside the second set of it should say Align raw edge bottom accent piece with bottom of exterior.
    In the next paragraph, it left out Mark where to insert pockets, centered, layering bottom accent piece over raw edges of pocket bottoms by 1/2 inch.
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