Pink Castle Blog

Noodlehead Divided Basket in Cotton and Steel Menagerie Canvas

Posted by Katie Remski on Aug 7, 2017 11:06:00 AM

Cotton and Steel Menagerie Canvas by Rifle Paper Co You can never have enough storage bins-- it's a scientific fact. The Divided Basket pattern by Anna Graham's Noodlehead Patterns is a soft and flexible bin with a divider panel in the middle to help you organize small items. I knew as soon as I saw the Menagerie Jungle Canvas from Cotton and Steel's latest Rifle Paper Co. collection it had to be a children's book basket. After my success with the Poolside Tote, I couldn't wait to get started! 

For the lining, I used Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in the color Seafoam, which is a pale green. The stabilizer is By Annie's Soft and Stable, my go-to for all projects that need structure. I love the smooth, flawless look it gives when layered with canvas-- it's almost like it's one with the fabric. I used 1" cotton webbing for the handles, and Aurifil 50wt thread for all stitching. 

I opted for the pocketless version of the basket to best show off the large-scale print without interruption. 

Cotton and Steel Menagerie Canvas by Rifle Paper Co
Cotton and Steel Menagerie Canvas by Rifle Paper Co  I sewed the entire basket on the Janome Skyline S7, and I can't even begin to describe how much easier AccuFeed made the process-- at one point, I was sewing through canvas, 2 layers of linen, Soft and Stable, and webbing all at the same time, and the machine hummed along like it was nothing. If your machine doesn't have AccuFeed, definitely use a walking food to help keep all the layers smooth and feeding through the machine at the same rate. Wonder Clips instead of pins are also a big help for holding all layers in place. 
The Divided Basket is overall a real cinch to sew, the only complicated part being the divider-- even then, go slowly, read the directions throughly, and have a seam ripper nearby. Once you've sewn in the divider, you understand the construction and the second basket you make (trust me, you'll want dozens) will be even easier. All the instructions are clear and easy to follow, and the steps are very logical. The only part I had trouble with was keeping my topstitching straight, but changing to a 1/4" foot helped immensely. Cotton and Steel Menagerie Canvas by Rifle Paper Co
Cotton and Steel Menagerie Canvas by Rifle Paper Co

 If you're looking for a soft storage bin pattern, the Divided Basket is a great option. I'd rate the skill level for this pattern as confident beginner-- it's easy at the start and finish, and just challenging enough in the middle to build up your skills. It's really fun to get to work with some substrates like canvas and linen (the pattern works with regular quilting cotton too) and doesn't use a lot of fabric. Wouldn't this make the best gift for a child's birthday, pre-loaded with a few good books? 

Happy sewing! 

 Shop Menagerie by Cotton + Steel Now! 

Topics: bags, kids sewing, Noodlehead, skyline, For the Home, cotton and steel, linen, kids, cotton + steel, menagerie, divided basket, basket, tiger canvas, canvas, essex linen

Summer Sewing- Road Trip Case!

Posted by Brenda Ratliff on Jul 23, 2014 1:19:00 PM

I made my first Road Trip Case because I needed somewhere to tote around my English Paper Piecing supplies, and I'm a sucker for organization. (You can see it on my blog here).

Then I had to make another one because one of my family members was adamant that she needed  a pink one-- to be fair, it is one of the best bag patterns to sew. 

Road Trip Case

I chose a few prints to feature from Heather Bailey's new line Up Parasol, and backed them up with a number of pink blenders from my stash. And a few Tula Pink horses for my horse crazy girl.

Road Trip Case

It's a great pattern, very thoroughly written, with a vinyl pocket that's straightforward to install. It uses fat quarter amounts of fabric (four is suggested), making it a great place use fabrics you love but maybe don't have a lot of. And it's versatile! Although many people use it as a traveling sewing or craft kit, it would be also excellent for managing small toys for travel with kids. And those little pockets are not as little as they look! They can hold a lot of things.

Of course, having made a bag, I have to cruise around the internet and see how other people have made theirs! Here are a few I've especially admired:

One of my favorites is this one made by the pattern's designer, Anna Graham of Noodlehead, using fabrics from Rae Hoekstra's Lotus Pond collection:

It has a bright orange exterior:

Road Trip Case

That contrasts with its cool blue interior. And of course, those adorable snails!

Road Trip Case

Erin from House on Hill Road made her Road Trip Case with Lizzy House fabrics to hold embroidery supplies:

Road Trip Case
Road Trip Case

Laurel of Sing All You Want made her Road Trip Case sewing kit with some Moda favorites and Denyse Schmidt fabrics:

Road Trip Case

Krista of Spotted Stones made two Road Trip Cases:

Road Trip Case

 One features Anna Maria Horner fabric:

Road Trip Case

And the other with Lizzy House and Carolyn Friedlander fabrics using the long pocket version of the pattern:

Road Trip Case

I hope you're inspired to try something new! If you make a Road Trip Case, we'd love to see it, and all your other projects, in our Made With Pink Castle Fabrics Flickr group!

Topics: bags, Noodlehead

Making bags with Home Decor weight fabrics

Posted by Amy Stevenson on May 19, 2014 12:02:00 PM

Bags! This is a subject that's been on my mind this weekend. My usual sewing machine is in the shop, and while I am lucky enough to have a fallback machine, I am not so lucky that it works as well as my monstrous modern electronic Pfaff.

After an instructive evening of ripping out stitches, I decided that it's not a suitable machine for accurate piecing for quilts, and so my thoughts turned to bags. I do love a good tote bag pattern.

I have a little collection of Echino fabrics. They have their own subsection in my stash. They are so wild and strange, I just adore them. So, this weekend I made a new Super Tote using the Noodlehead pattern. I call it my super loud super tote:

Awesome tote bag!

I used Kalmia in purple as the focal print- because it's a large print that needs that room to breathe, and the lining and the gusset and the straps are all other, older Echino prints. (Good thing I've been stashing them, right?)

Here is another Super Tote using Echino. This one was made by Samantha of Making Life Prettier, just to show that an Echino bag doesn't have to be insanely colorful, if you don't want it to be.

Awesome tote bag!

Melissa used Hide in Pink and Purple to make a Camp Stitchalot Bag:

Camp Stitchalot bag by Sara Lawson!

She made this while attending the most recent Camp Stitchalot, which only seems appropriate!

Another fun bag I have made using Echino is Noodlehead's 241 tote. We don't sell this pattern, but it is available through Anna Graham's website.

Noodlehead 241 Tote!

These are older prints; I made this bag a while back, but one of the things I love about Echino is that while the designs change the colors are fairly consistent in each new line. The pink from Echino 2014 is the same pink as that pink Maruco Dot which was from two or three years ago. It certainly make coordinating prints easy!

And of course, we have many other fine bag patterns in our shop as well!

But about the actual making of bags - I use a denim needle when working with this heavy linen blend - but I don't go crazy with it - a 90 is plenty sturdy. I have been sewing them recently using Aurifil 40 weight thread, the 50 weight is a bit thin for the larger needle. I use Pellon Shape Flex as my interfacing of choice. Because it's a woven fabric rather than a pressed fiber mat, it doesn't get those annoying creases that handmade bags can sometimes get. And I always interface my straps, even when it's not explicitly suggested, to keep them from stretching out of shape!

Also I am a firm believer in these Bohn magnetic snaps that Pink Castle carries. They are thinner than every other clasp I have seen out there, which makes them more elegant.

But if Echino is a bit intense for your taste, Ellen Luckett Baker's last three lines for Kokka were printed on the same heavy linen blend substrate - and we still have yardage from a few of these prints in stock!

A few other great substrates for bags, apart from the
Linen blend we've been discussing are Oxford (it's a bottom weight fabric, and hence quite sturdy), Canvas (it's the default bag fabric for totes, after all - and, oh, aren't those Cloud 9 prints lovely!), and the catch all category Home Decor.Likewise, Melody Miller's last collection was printed on linen, though some of it is a lighter weight. (You have to be careful ordering linen online, as there are generally two weights, a softer clothing appropriate one, and the home decor weight - if you have questions about which print is on what substrate, please feel free to call the shop and ask! or drop us an email -

Here's an amazing Oxford print crying out to be a bag:

Well, I have a few more days before my Pfaff is back, so I can make at least one more bag... I guess I'd better pick out some new fabrics myself!

Topics: bags

7 Great Big Bag Patterns to make with Modern Fabrics

Posted by Amy Stevenson on Sep 25, 2013 10:11:00 PM

I don't know about you, but fall for me means packing stuff. Packing lunches for school, packing kids into the car, trying to fit two lunchboxes into my handbag. And a book for the kid, and one for me. And three water bottles. All the sudden there is all this stuff which is only needed part of the time... Sweaters we need in the morning that just end up in bags by noon. Umbrellas we need for showers that clear up suddenly, and now we need our sunglasses out, and the sunblock for another week or two. At least in Michigan, the weather can never make up its mind.

Browse bag pattern to sew!

So, I'm cruising large patterns for bags to find one that works for my family of four, or just for me when I'm in the midst of a long book, with an umbrella, water bottle, notebook, sketchbook, lunchbox, and spare sweater in tow.  I think I've found some of the best bag patterns to sew!

I love a great bag pattern!  Time to make up some big bags for summer!

1. The classic large bag may be a bit large for everyday use, but is, I'm sure, on every sewist's bucket list: Amy Bulter's Weekender Travel Bag. I always see one or two of these at sew ins being pressed into service as quilt carriers. While I'm sure we all have seen ones we drool over, but my favorite is this one by Elizabeth, that she made with a Blogger Bundle from Pink Castle Fabrics created by Katy Jones. What an awesome pattern, Amy Butler!

Weekender Bag pattern by Amy Butler
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth of elizthany

2. Another travel bag is the StudioCherie duffel. I have not seen one in the wild, but rumor has it that it's huge! It certainly is cute in these penguins!

Image of the StudioCherie duffel bag
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy

3. Noodlehead's Super Tote is an excellent around-town bag. Here is a pretty one in this fun Echino print. I love the lining, too, just the right touch of lemongrass. I just bought this pattern myself!

Image of the Super Tote
Photo courtesy of Samantha of Making Life Prettier

4. A fairly recent pattern that looks nice and roomy (and ready for travel) is Bari J's Holiday in London Duffle Bag. Fabric designer Jeni Baker of In Color Order made one in a quilt as you go fashion, blogged here.

Image of the Holiday in London duffel bag
These are my colors, Jeni!

5.  Sidekick Mini Suitcase. I know this is one for the kidlets, but I seriously want one of these for myself! It reminds me of those glamorous train cases. I can just see hauling my fat quarters around in one of these! Here is a particularly adorable one made by Barb from the Crafty PhD.

Image of the Sidekick Mini Suitcase
those hippos!

6. A newer addition to the traveling bag pantheon is Sew Sweetness's Aeroplane Bag. It's large enough to fit a (small) sewing machine! There are many adorable examples but since I had to pick just one it would of course be one with pink and purple patchwork!

Image of the Aeroplane bag
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy

7. Another versatile bag is Anna Marie Horner's Art Student Tote. The contrast straps make this a bold statement bag, while the many pockets make it so your small items don't get lost. The pattern includes instructions for three sizes. I have chosen a bag from Sarah of Sew What, Sherlock? to feature, because I love her use of a text print to highlight the straps. It's a daring choice that really pays off.

Image of the Art Student Tote
Doesn't the pink text print just make the bag!

It's so hard to chose a favorite pattern! Obviously, I just need many, many bags! But which one first? What's your favorite large bag pattern? Which ones did I miss?

Be sure to share your new (or old) bags in our Made with Pink Castle Fabrics Flickr group! You can see my new bag there, too.

Amy Stevenson!
Browse bag pattern to sew!

Topics: bags

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