Cargo Duffle Prep

As you know from a previous post, I have been working almost exclusively on the prep for the BAMQG Cargo Duffle class. I haven’t had tons of time to sew. What I have had I have spent on prep.

I like making bags, because I have something useful at the end of the process. Also, people seem to like them when I give them as gifts. I do not, however, like the prep required, regardless of whether I am just sewing a bag on my own or preparing for a class. In fact, I always swear a lot and then swear I will never make another bag again when I am in the bag prep process.

Part of this feeling has to do with my, well documented for you, difficulty in reading pattern directions and understanding what the designer is trying to say. I’ll take some, but won’t take full responsibility because I believe that the directions for this bag were briefer than necessary. I understand why, especially after working with Alison, because patterns need to be printed and printing 60 pages of directions including photos is daunting.

Cargo Duffle pieces and parts
Cargo Duffle pieces and parts

One of the things I had to do, which was different for this pattern was to quilt a lot of the parts. I understand why, and you will as well after seeing the finished piece, but it made for a lot of extra work.

Friday night I stayed in my workroom until 10pm sewing on this project. Finally, DH called me down to watch the parade of nations for #Rio2016. I decided that I would have to work on whatever I didn’t finish in class. I estimate working on the prep for about 20 hours. I didn’t keep strict track, but I think that is in the neighborhood.

What I really needed was a chart showing the pieces and giving their sizes with arrows pointing to the piece on the finished bag. I really needed that visual. I think it would have made my life a lot easier. I didn’t really understand what a gusset* was, especially in this context, and that added to the confusion of all of the parts and pieces.

I am not criticizing the teacher who was extremely patient on her first outing as a teacher. She responded quickly and non-snarkily each time she got a question on the guild forum from one of the 20+ students.

I would have liked to have seen more meshing of the pattern and the hacks/supplement (by our teacher), including references back and forth to when to go and do a step from the pattern and when to stop. This addition would have required a lot more time on her part and we weren’t paying her so I think that would have been too much to ask. It might have been nice to get together with other students beforehand to work on the prep.

I constantly learn from creating new bags and, though, this isn’t the kind of bag I would tend to use, I am learning quite a bit from making it, not the least of which has to do with gussets. 😉









The definition of gusset didn’t match what I was seeing in the Cargo Duffel pattern so that created some confusion. Wikipedia’s definition is similar to the American Heritage and Merriam Webster. I didn’t didn’t find any of them to be super helpful in the context of this pattern: “In sewing, a gusset is a triangular or rhomboidal piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing.[1] Gussets were used at the shoulders, underarms, and hems of traditional shirts and chemises made of rectangular lengths of linen to shape the garments to the body.[2][3]

Gussets are used in manufacturing of modern tights and pantyhose to add breadth at the crotch seam. As with other synthetic underwear,[4] these gussets are often made of moisture-wicking breathable fabrics such as cotton, to keep the genital area dry and ventilated.[5][6][7]

The phrase “don’t bust a gusset” (a variation of “don’t blow a gasket”) is an admonition to calm down; becoming so enraged and inflated that one busted a gusset would imply extreme rage and expansion beyond one’s clothing capacity.

Gussets are also used when making three-piece bags, for example in a pattern[8] for a bag as a long, wide piece which connects the front piece and back piece. By becoming the sides and bottom of the bag, the gusset opens the bag up beyond what simply attaching the front to the back would do. With reference to the dimension of the gusset, the measurements of a flat bottom bag may be quoted as LxWxG.[9]

Pillows too, are often gusseted, generally an inch or two. The side panels thicken the pillow, allowing more stuffing without bulging.

Gussets are also used in other areas of manufacturing, e.g. bicycle frames employ gussets to add strength and rigidity.[clarification needed]” (Wikipedia)

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

6 thoughts on “Cargo Duffle Prep”

  1. That’s an intense amount of prep work! Gussets (and darts) are always hard for my 3-D challenged brain to work with. Sometimes written explanations work, but there are times only pictures will help me enough so I don’t completely mess up. I’m glad you had a good teacher and group to work on this project.

        1. I plan to make another one, so we can see about doing it together. I plan to cut a little, then sew a little so that I have less cutting all at once and more cutting then sewing. Much more satisfying that way.

    1. You can see two of them at the top of the photo, one on each side of the zipper (I attached them). Stay tuned! I’ll make sure I point them out in the final post about this bag.

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