Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Noodlehead Traverse Bag

Today's project, a Noodlehead Traverse bag, has been gradually brewing in my mind for a few months. Back in February when I was tidying up my fabric stash, I realised that I had a fairly sizeable chunk left of the canvas (from Sew Me Sunshine, but now sold out) that I used to make a backpack last summer. I resolved that as soon as the weather was more appropriate for the print, I'd have to make another bag so that the fabric didn't go to waste.

It took me a while to decide what would be the right pattern to make the best use of the amount of fabric that I had available - I wanted to use as much of the leftover canvas as possible, but also make a bag that I'd definitely find useful.

In the end the Traverse bag was the winner, as it's very similar in style to a bag that I already own that's now looking a bit tired because it's been used so much, and I've sewn Noodlehead patterns before so I knew that I could trust it to be an enjoyable project.

The Traverse bag is a crossbody bag with a main zippered compartment with interior slip pocket, back zippered pocket, and a front pocket with flap closure. The bag comes in two sizes - the regular size which I made, and a mini size.

The regular is a good size for me to use as my day-to-day bag, with plenty of space for all my essentials (wallet, notebook, a little pouch with lip balm and stuff, umbrella (definitely essential for the current British summer!), shopping bag, etc.), and the added bonus of being able to fit in a small bottle of water.

I always find that one of the trickiest parts of making a bag is gathering together all of the supplies and making sure that everything will look right together. Thankfully for me, I also had a decent amount of the lining fabric that I used for last year's backpack so that was the obvious choice for the lining.

I decided to highlight the black and gold in the print in the zips/hardware/piping, as although the turquoise/blue in the print is much more of a "me" colour that would have been harder to match. Not that all of the golds match each other or the print exactly, but they're close enough. The supplies that I didn't have in my stash were gathered together from a variety of small local shops, and an ebay order when I couldn't find a 14" black/gold metal zip locally.

I also decided to buy a leather strap from Etsy instead of making a fabric one. This isn't a cheap option, but I think it makes the bag look more professional. It also made more sense for me in terms of colours for this project because I didn't want a black strap because I thought any more black than I was already using would make the bag look less summery than I wanted, but truly "gold" fabric would have been hard to come by.

Once I had all my supplies gathered together, cutting out all the pieces also caused me a bit of a headache. The pattern mainly just lists sizes of pieces to cut out, with a pattern piece for the front flap. I'm used to that from other bag patterns so that didn't bother me, but working out how to fit all of the pieces onto my slightly oddly shaped leftover pieces of fabric required a bit of pattern tetris! Thankfully it all worked out, and with only very small scraps left.

The sewing process was pretty hassle free. As I expected from previous experience of Noodlehead patterns, the instructions were all very clear and I always felt like I knew what I was doing. The only thing I struggled with slightly was sewing through all of the layers where the strap holders join on to the main bag, and that was only an issue because my sewing machine objected to the thickness of the many layers I was asking it to sew through. A little gentle cajoling was needed, but I got there in the end!

The pattern is very good in terms of giving you a bag that feels well put together, and also offers lots of useful pockets and compartments.

My finished Traverse bag looks really good I think - and I've already had a couple of people be surprised that I made it so I'm obviously not alone there! While garment sewing is always going to be my first love, I do also really enjoy making bags every now and then for a bit of a change so it was a fun project to work on. I've been using it pretty much every day since I finished making it, so I think we can definitely call that a success, don't you?


  1. Very cute bag!
    I too love the challenge of playing Pattern Tetris! I usually end up making pattern pieces for patternless 'measure and cut' projects. I find that there's just too much waste if I don't make the simple pattern pieces. (Not really a big deal since I trace clothing patterns!)

    1. Thank you! I make pattern pieces too, but this time it still needed a bit of puzzling to work out how to fit them all on the fabric shapes I had available!

  2. What a brilliant bag! Love that fabric, who doesn't enjoy a good game of pattern tetris??!!

    1. Thanks Lynne! It's always quite satisfying when you 'win' at pattern tetris isn't it?!


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