Sunday, March 15, 2015

Duffel Bags for Laundry in the College Dorm

It has been a busy two weeks of fun...two busy spring breaks with two different college kids who attend two different colleges who observe spring breaks on two different weeks! Whew! Couldn't we have enjoyed each other all together at once? Well, schoolwork still reigned rather paramount though we did find bits and pieces of fun. In between the fun moments I kept busy. Therefore I have lots of blogging to catch up on though we were never able to do anything significantly fun. My son kept teasing me with promises of teaching me how to swing dance, but school duties overcame even that bit of fun, though we did watch some movies and do a few other family things together.
First up is where I left off with my son's quilt. I had wanted to sew a sailboat pillow for him in red, white and blue to coordinate with the quilt. I thought it would be fun laying on his bed near his window that looks out on "Lake Bob," which is the campus nickname for the campus pond. However he had no interest in going nautical, even though the look would continue with the Americana patriotic theme.  Instead, he had other plans for me.
"Mom, could you sew some duffel bags for me to pre-sort my laundry at college?" Hmmm, didn't I try to buy some for him at Target last summer? Yes, but it didn't seem as important then as it does now.  Years ago, when my kids were born, I had bought different laundry baskets and taught  my family to presort laundry so I could more efficiently throw loads into the machine as needed, without dumping the entire batch of  laundry onto the floor to sort. Even on vacation I have differently patterned duffel bags for presorting as we go. It makes it so much easier when we come home to do the largest load first or as needed when we are on the road.
Now my son envisioned duffel bags far different from the ones I had made for vacation. Those are merely traditional two dimensional bags. He envisioned three dimensional bags that he could set in his closet and toss clothes in through the week, then grab for the laundry which is conveniently next door to his room.
Three dimensional duffel bags? I was envisioning tote bags, which I had never made before.  I asked for measurements, because I knew he had specifics on that too. I went to the fabric store where I found some blue and white 100% cotton ticking, determined to keep with the Americana patriotic theme (and sneakily be a bit nautical too!)
I confess I don't always prewash fabric. When I do I rarely find a difference, but I did prewash this ticking and I'm glad I did. We lost a few inches in the laundry! 

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With my son's diagram of how he wanted the now slightly less than 4 yards of fabric cut and then sewed together, I laid everything out and got to work!

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After everything was cut out I created all my casings.

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I chose two panels to sew eyelets...

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I hand stitched the eyelets with some leftover buttonhole twist that I had. The color was a perfect match. 

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I had enough fabric to make 2 duffel bags, so I set each of the panels aside to complete sets so I wouldn't get them mixed up.

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Here is duffel bag #1.The center will be the bottom. So far two opposite sides are sewn on.

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Adding a third side...

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...until finally I have all four sides sewn to the bottom. Then I sewed the sides to each other, and threaded the cording through the casing as far as it would go until I ran into the seams. Then I threaded the cording to the outside of the casing, then on the other side of the seam I wove it back in. (I had added other eyelets for this that I never got pictures of.) I liked this effect a lot! I had had such a busy week, that I did most of the sewing for these the day before he left to go back to college. This project took about 1 full day for two duffel bags. 

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Of course these do not stand up pefectly, but it was good enough for my son. Here are two of them, ready to go back to college with his new quilt. 

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Project-3D Duffel Bags
Pattern-self-drafted from my son's sketch
Fabric-blue and white 100% cotton ticking
Notions-thread, cording (I recommend a thinner corder than I used, but he's pleased with the thick cording)
Time to Sew-1 full day for 2 tote bags
Cost-$25

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