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Duffel Bag Pattern
Fostering Love for Kids

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Children in foster care often come to their new homes with only the clothes on their backs. Those who do have things to bring with them, usually have nothing to carry it in. The case workers have black plastic garbage bags and the children's items are stuffed into the bags. These darling children already feel pretty bad about themselves and the idea of having to use a garbage bag to carry all of their "worldly" items makes the child feel like "garbage", too. My goal is to provide many duffel bags to Department of Job and Family Services/Children and Youth Division so that maybe all children in foster care in our county have a special bag all their own! Wouldn't you like to help your county's children? There is a link at the bottom of the page that should help you find out how!


Duffel bags ready to go to Children's Services!

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Step 1: Duffel Bags can be made of any scraps of fabric you might have. My general size is two piece of matching fabric, 22" x 25 to 36" for the body of the duffel and two pieces of matching or contrasting fabric 6" x 25" for the straps. You will also need piece of cord or a matching sewn cord approx. 45 to 50" for the drawstring. I use whatever size fabric scraps I have and adjust the bag accordingly. I make the bags in size according to the size of the child also.


Step 2:Shown are straps for the bag. Press over 1/4" the entire way around each strap then , fold in the middle, meeting the edges together. Sew around the folded edges to fasten them together.


Step 3: Matching the sides and bottom of the bag, sew around. You can attach the bottoms of the straps into the bottom seam at this time or you can attach to the bag back before seaming. I use a 1/4" seam allowance and go around the bag a second time with a wide zigzag stitch to make it more secure

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Step 4: You can add the straps in two ways. They can be attached into the bottom seam (as in picture below) or sewn about 3" up from the bottom,(as in picture above) and 4" down from the top. The straps should be placed close together at the bottom of the bag and 6 to 8" apart at the top to allow for carrying on the back

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I attach my straps to the top of the bag by placing them about 4" down from the top of the bag and about 8" apart. This allows the child to carry it on his/her back. I sew in a square on the top of the strap and then sew an x acrossed the square to make the strap attached strong. To finish the bag turn under top 1/4" then under 1" . Sew around leaving a 1" opening for a drawstring. You can sew a drawstring from leftover fabric or use cording. Tie in a knot after threading though the casing to prevent it from being pulled out. I sometimes add pockets to the front for brushes, combs etc and add velcro to keep it closed.

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Step 5: Fold open the bottom and side seams flat to form a corner. Sew a diagonal seam up about 3" from the point to form depth to the bottom of the bag. You need to do both sides. More pictures and direction of how to do this are on the purse style duffel bag page at this website.

You can find information on those in foster care here!

A hundred years from now,
it will not matter what my bank account was,
the sort of house I lived in or the kind of car I drove...
but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a
child.