My next pattern for you is here, and I've decided to make this one a handy bag for men, women, teenagers, kids - anyone! Let me introduce you to the John Duffel Bag!
This pattern has been named for a dear friend that passed away this year (2019). He was a friend that camped with us, went hunting with the boys, and was one of the most genuine people you could ever imagine. The Big John version of the duffel bag was truly named for him as that was his nickname when playing darts or hanging out around the campfire, and this was the bag I had planned to make him before he got extremely sick.
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The John Duffel Bag pattern comes with 3 sizes - the Little John, John, and Big John - designed to accommodate all people and needs. The Little John is perfect for a trip to the gym or an overnight bag, holding just enough to keep you going. The John is a good weekend bag, perfect for camping on a weekend or city camping for the weekend in a hotel. It's also the same size as an average duffel bag found at local sports attire shops. The Big John lives up to its name and is a great bag for a number of days away or for a larger person. My husband uses his duffel when he heads out hunting for a week or when the two of us are going away for a weekend and we share a bag. It's big and it's roomy and it holds everything we need.
The John Duffel Bag is designed to be slouchy, sitting comfortably against your side when worn with the crossbody strap. It has two end zipper compartments that open fully, allowing you to stay organized and see everything you've put in there easily. The interior then has two mesh pockets on the ends to hold your smaller items and a zipper pocket which is where we turn the whole bag near the end of construction. The pattern also has a comfortable crossbody strap pad, so that when you fill your bag, it's still comfortable to wear. AND, it has a handle grip so that you can keep the two handles together to easily pick it up.
I tried to incorporate all the features that I feel are important in a duffel bag and that I've seen my stepdaughter and husband use or struggle with on their bags - I'm trying to learn from their experiences. And the last item to note is the sturdy bottom of the bag. I've suggested in the pattern that cork or vinyl be used on the base of the bag, as this gives you a great sturdy bottom that is still soft and slouchy, but helps protect everything on the inside of your bag.
The John Duffel Bag pattern is not a long one. I've tried to keep it condensed so that you can spend more time sewing and less time reading. It has clean diagrams outlining each step for you, showing you the sewing lines and how to put your bag together. There are pattern pieces for all the pieces that are not rectangles. However, you will need to measure and cut pieces for the main parts of the bag and measurements are provided in Inches for all rectangle pieces. You will also find a Copy Shop pattern page available for download when you purchase the pattern, allowing you to get one large 24" x 36" page printed with all your pattern pieces for all the John sizes at a print shop - no taping required. Finally, Mae of Isabella Sparsh has done up an awesome YouTube video quickly walking you through the construction of her version of Little John! Be sure to subscribe to her YouTube channel so that you don't miss a single one of her videos - she's so good at this!
So let's see all the amazing bags that my testers did up!!!! They have worked their butts off, frequently doing up more than one!!
Up first is a pre-tester for me, Line of Fine Line Designs. She did up this Little John and her husband snagged this one from her before she could put it up for sale! And check out those panels she used!!!
Then we have Michelle who also did up a pre-tested Little John for me. This one is a gift for a friend this Xmas - yep, we're already making our holiday gifts LOL Check out that wide-open end pocket - so easy to photograph when it can open like that!
Then she made a Big John - pretty sure Buddy thinks it's hers LOL
And then Mae of Isabella Sparsh (Instagram link) - the one who does up the awesome YouTube videos of the bag - did three bags! This one is John in vinyl with a fabric interior pocket instead of a mesh pocket! Such a great adaptation when you don't have the mesh and fold-over elastic handy!
This one is Little John using a pre-quilted fabric
And this one is Little John again with an added zipper pocket (Not included in the pattern)
I also have a new tester that just did up a stunning Big John. Tara of Mooi does such beautiful work and I just love her photos. I have troubles getting a good shot of this big guy, but she even added props to give some context to it! I love this musical version!
Then she did up a Little John for her daycare!
Then Abbe of Just an E (Instagram link) completely outdid herself with her John, and it started a whole "add-on" conversation, and we are all so excited about her pocket addition to her bag. (Note that the cargo pocket is NOT included in the pattern.) That orange cork is to die for!
I also want to thank a few friends that were in the background helping out with this pattern. Sometimes it's not about making the bag, but making sure the words in the pattern make sense and that I'm not out to lunch on my original design: Cyndi of Nosy Pepper Patterns, Jen of Sincerely Jen Patterns and Piera of ByPiera
And a picture for scale, although it may not help at all. Lincoln is unimpressed with having his photo taken, but this is the 90 lb lab with the Big John....