Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Using heavy weight cotton for the Cargo Duffle bag

My first finish for 2017—the Cargo Duffle, by Noodlehead. What do you think?
Cargo Duffle. Pattern by Noodlehead.
Heavy cotton oxford from Alexander Henry Fabrics. Multi-colored stripe by Diamond Textiles.
This is my first foray with a heavy weight cotton fabric. This beefy cotton oxford, used on the outside of the duffle, has a 2 x 2 basket weave structure and is ideal for a durable tote that can lug around 20+ pounds of fabric samples, which is what I need it for.
Heavy cotton oxford and quilting cotton from Alexander Henry Fabrics.
Multi-color stripe from Diamond Textiles.

This lovely bird and flower print is from Alexander Henry, called Larkspur. The accent fabric is a multi-colored stripe from the World Fabrics Collection by Diamond Textiles and the pink lining is also a heavy weight cotton from Alexander Henry.

This was a good project on which to try free-motion quilting on a heavier weight fabric. The front and back pieces of my bag measured 21" x 16", which were enlarged for my use from the original pattern. 
Free-motion quilting. Front panel of duffle.
A print like this—with large motifs and open background areas—is great for practicing hand-eye-coordination of free-motion. Just outline quilt the large motifs that are printed on the fabric. It also eliminates the need to come up with a clever quilting design on your own! You can see how the birds are highlighted with the outline quilting surrounded by a sampling of free-motion fillers.
Free-motion quilting. Back panel of duffle.

This Cargo Duffle pattern has a very interesting and streamlined way to make the bag's two-toned handles. A nice detail!
Handles using two fabrics.
The handles were straight-line quilted with the walking foot. For extra support, I did sandwich a strip of batting inside each handle. It was fun using a new 12 wt. variegated thread [Fruitti by WonderFil Threads] to topstitch rows across the striped fabric. The color scheme of this thread was a perfect coordinate for the stripe. 
Topstitch quilting the handles with 12 wt. variegated thread.
Inserting the zipper flat is easy and manageable (and pattern instructions are very good).
Zipper inserted in the top gusset.
Liking a tab to counterbalance the opening and closing of the zipper, I added a tab at each end of the zipper using the fabric's selvedge.
Using the fabric selvedge to create a zipper tab.
Tab at the zipper stop.

The accent fabric used on the handles (the stripe) is also used on the bottom of the duffle. In the original pattern, this accent fabric covers the raw edges and secures an outside pocket. For extra security, I lengthened the handles and sewed them down the front/back of the bag as I knew my bag would carry a lot of weight. By omitting the pocket, I used the accent fabric piece to secure and cover the raw edges of the extended handles. (The construction details of this duffle pattern are functional as well as decorative.)
Accent fabric is decorative and functional.

The pattern says to bind the raw edges if you choose. If you have a serger, I say to "fire it up" and finish the seam allowances lickety-split. Some raw edges were serged before duffle construction (the front and back pieces, for example), and some after.
Serged seam allowances to finish.

This bird is ready to fly!
My free-motion quilted Cargo Duffle is complete.
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