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Felt Duffel Bag by Diane

I have always loved sewing with Felt and there are several examples of crafting with this fabric over on my blog at www.margueritedesigns.blogspot.co.uk. I even wrote a dissertation on the history of the felt hatting industry in my hometown of Denton, Manchester. I was curious to see what I could do with the felt sheets stocked by Minerva in both soft and hard qualities.

You can buy these Soft Felt Fabrics and Hard Felt Fabrics in packs of 10 assorted sheets. Each pack comes in a variety of geometric designs that complement each other which helped me decide that I would like to use the sheets in a patchwork effect. I have recently begun bag making and thought I could create a patchwork duffel. The sheets are just the right size to attach to each other – 2 each for the front and back. I attached them with a decorative zigzag fell seam in the centre front and back.

I used the hard quality felt for the body of the bag to give it some shape. I needed to make a contrasting lower band and upper drawstring band on the bag and for this I used a shiny crepe backed Satin Fabric as a different texture to the fuzziness of the felt. Crepe backed satin is a very volatile and difficult fabric to manoeuvre and I wasn’t impressed with my attempt at sewing it to the felt neatly on the lower band.

I found some Grosgrain Ribbon and used this to hide the machined seam, sewing it on by hand. I was happy with this result although it delayed my progress.

I wanted to use the satin for the strap to tone in with the rest of the bag and I wrapped a length of the fabric around an inner core of canvas ribbon with the raw edges to the centre. I cut a zigzag patchwork band to run along the entire length of the middle of the strap to make a decorative effect and tie in with the rest of the bag. This made a nice co-ordinating feature with the centre front seam. The canvas ribbon helped to keep the satin stable and I was able to machine along the length with no trouble.

I also made a feature of the bag’s closing flap. I used a white and purple gingham for the outside and again white and purple on the inside in a star print. In a small quantity, it doesn’t look out of place with the black and purple of the rest of the bag. I used the soft felt for the outer surfaces and, to give it a bit of body, cut a piece out of the firm felt as an inner to give it shape.

The satin drawstring casing at the top of the bag was easier to construct than the lower band in that there was no seam on view – it was hidden inside. I used the soft felt as a backing to the casing and to give a bit of body. A cord was threaded through and out to the centre front where it can be tied and hidden by the closing flap.

Soft felt was also used as the base of the bag as it had some ‘give’ in it and was easier to sew to the main harder body but I also cut another base out of the harder felt to place inside the bag to make it firmer.

I have made this bag a couple of times before and loved it – it’s from a very old Vogue pattern that I have in my stash. On each occasion I’ve used different fabrics and been happy with the result. I am just as happy with this felt version. It’s turned out really well and I’m looking forward to using it on a weekend out somewhere.

Thanks for reading!

Diane @ Marguerite Designs 

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