Sure, I’m in the midst of quilting the Sports Quilt and I have three sweaters on the needles and have bought new fabric for a Fall 2016 SWAP. Oh, and jewelry projects. Plus work, of course, and there might be Christmas presents, too.

But I took that Craftsy class on making a duffel bag. I have the fabric, and have gradually been gathering the enormous list of additional materials needed to make this thing. I didn’t foresee all the additional costs.

  • The class: $30
  • Fabric: $18 outer fabric, $17 lining
  • Fusible fleece: $13
  • Zipper: $2.50
  • Hardware: $16
  • Webbing $4

Plus tax, shipping, and whatnot.

I have thread, but I don’t have pinking shears ($30.00) or a walking foot ($15.00) or any of the other special tools the class instructor used in the class.

So my homemade duffel is going to cost me at least $100.00.

I think I can get a decent weekender duffel bag ready-made for one third of that.

Or a Baggallini for $150 or a Fossil for $400. Or a Hartmann for $2,800. I really like the $400 ones myself.

So if I can make a bag as good as the $400.00 ones, I will have saved quite a bit of money. If not, and given that this will be my first attempt at a duffel bag I can probably only make one as good as the $35.00 ones, then I will have had a pricey sewing class.

But all this is assuming that I only make one bag. Making one thing is almost never cost effective.

Suppose that I make more bags.

brooklyn nora-traveler2


The costs will go down as I amass materials and tools and skills, use up extra materials, and learn more. The quality will improve, too.

Of course, I usually spend $100 on a leather bag, properly made with a padded space for my laptop. My daughter gives me gorgeous handbag gifts. And I usually only buy a bag once a year, at the Franklin-Covey annual sale.

Unless I can make my bags as good as the $1,800.00 ones, making handbags might not be the thriftiest of my creative options. I might end up spending more than I usually spend, and having way more bags than I need. And maybe still only carrying the leather ones.