Sunday, August 2, 2015

Caravan Tote from Noodlehead

Some of you may have seen that I am keeping up with the Community Match portion of the SOSM II. Round three the contestants had to make a bag, specifically the Caravan Tote from Noodlehead. Now for the community match we could make any bag, but as I have done thus far I decided to use the same pattern as the contestants.

As someone who has made her own bags for a long time it was hard for me to give over to using someone else's pattern. I am glad I gave it a shot because they do things different than I usually do, I learned some new things, and I was really pleased with the end result. The first thing I noticed and loved about this pattern was how noodlehead made their samples up and how many different fabrics they used. Their bag was so well curated, and the fabrics coordinated so well without being matchy match.

These are some of the Noodlehead Caravan Totes. They are really good looking and super inspiring! Look at these beauts! Check out the needle pocket in the third picture. These folks are talented, they make a good bag pattern.

Armed with some killer inspiration I took to my local JoAnn's to let my spirit animal of a bag speak to me. To be honest I went in there twice. The first time I went in nothing was right and I was discouraged. I left a little huffy. Then a new day dawned, I was well rested, the birds were chirping, and there they were, the fabrics that had been waiting for me. I also began to think about my hardware and what I wanted to do with handles. I found these great light wood handles and thought that I would take a step out there on a limb and put my own stamp on the pattern as prescribed.

I chose an odd little mix of fabrics and I was super pumped about them. Then the next step was to get cutting. So I got my cut on. This bag has a lot of pieces that you have to cut between the exterior and lining fabrics plus all of the interfacings. Woofty I was a cutting fiend!

Once I had everything cut my first step was to put together the front exterior pocket with the zipper in it. I used a metal zipper because I just love metal zippers on purse and accessory items. I have found that the need a little time to be broken in, but man when they do, WHITE HOT!

One of the variation options for this bag was to have a little pouch on the front with snap closures. I will tell you I love industrial snap closures and I love pockets so this felt like a no brainer to me. To make this little pouch you sew the two pouch pieces together right sides together and then you clip your corners and curves. Then you turn it right side out. I did all of these things and then gave it a good press.

Then I laid the completed pocket minus the flap on the front of my bag. I hated it. I just felt like it made my classy houndstooth bag look holly hobby and not in a cute way. As a result I didn't even bother to make the flap, The front pocket was officially cut.

See she looks way better with her clean and classy houndstooth facade. I'm glad you all agree, saved me from making a bad call, thanks friends.

I next constructed the needle pocket that goes inside of the front zipper pouch. I did a variety of 1"-1.5" slots for my needles. I love knitting and these pouches will be perfect for my interchangeable needle set from Knitpicks. They are awesome and if you knit I can not recommend them more strongly. Buy them, they are outrageous. Oh and I just saw that they are currently 10% off. Run don't walk people.

Once I made the needle pocket I basted the front pieces together in the seam allowance and constructed the coordinating back piece. The pattern calls for you to add this little tab on the side. I don't really know what the purpose of this little tab is, Maybe just to look fancy, but I do think it looks fancy. I used some glitter vinyl I had left over from another project and I also made a zipper pull for the front of the bag. I love adding a little sparkle to, well to anything.

To add on the wooden handles I made and bagged out two rectangles of fabric to hold them to the bag. I added some very stiff interfacing to make sure that it would be sturdy. then I basted them on in the seam allowance.

I cut the notches in the bottoms where the bag bottom will match to the side of the bag. and then I sewed the bottoms and sides together. 

::On a Side Note:: I've started using these clips to do sewing on heavier weight things that are tough to pin through and they are freaking awesome! I highly suggest them. They kept everything lined up and looking cute.

Then I pressed those seams open and sewed the bottoms and sides together where I notched out matching my seams.

I repeated most of these steps with a few variations to make the lining. I added the magnetic closure before I put the fronts and backs together. I also made sure to add interfacing to the back of the lining where I put the snaps on.

Rather than use grommets for yarn guides I like to make tabs with snaps so that I don't have to break my yarn if I need to remove it from a grommeted guide. That is what those black tabs are.

Then with my lining together I turned it inside out and sewed the interior and exteriors together at the top edge, leaving a large hole in the bottom seam of the lining. I flipped them right sides out and the hand sewed the whole closed. Once everything was flipped to the inside I did a little top stitch on the edge of the bag to keep everything tidy and in it's place.

Then my bag was finished. I LOVE HER!

I have already received tons of compliments on this bag and I love turning back with pride and saying I made it. I hope you all head over to Noodlehead and make your own. She's awesome.


  1. This is fantastic. Thank you for detailing out your modifications!

    1. Thanks Sandi, I'm glad you found it interesting. I've been using the bag for a few weeks now and I LOVE it.

  2. Love your beautiful houndstooth bag...a really clever pairing of fabrics and your modifications were spot on. I just bought the pattern and I'm excited about making it. I've made the Super Tote and love it. Thanks for sharing. BTW, what are you using for pattern weights?

    1. Thank you iluvsweets. I really enjoyed this pattern. I've been using it just as a purse rather than a craft tote and I've gotten some really great feedback. I have a friend who has a lathe, and he had made these brass weights for his wife to look like small spools of thread. They are amazing, their the perfect weight. If you know anyone with a lathe who could whip you up a set beg them pretty please. Their awesome.

  3. So happy to see your version! I am researching to make this bag and love your snap yarn guides as an alternative-the grommets would be cool too, but breaking yarn would not be my preference either. I too got the interchangeable needles from knit picks and love them good!