Friday, March 06, 2015

Road Trip Case

A couple of weeks ago, I found a treasure trove of DMC embroidery floss at the thrift store. I snatched it right up, but when I got home I realized I didn't have anywhere to store my sudden wealth of floss. I had found a storage box with the bunch of floss I bought, and I had one already at home, but I quickly realized I was going to need about 4 boxes to store all this floss. I also have a new floss goal: at least one skein of each color floss that DMC makes! Anyway, storing all that floss in boxes is no problem, but when I'm working on a project (like Keeping Room), I don't want to cart 4 boxes of floss around the house and have to constantly open different boxes to find the floss I need. And there was no way I could - or would - take all that floss with me on a trip, which is one of my favourite times to work on cross stitch projects!

So I began a search online for a pattern to make an organizer that would hold floss, scissors, needles, hoop, pattern, and the actual project. I wanted something I could use at home as well as away from home, and cute wouldn't be bad either.

The pattern I bought is Noodlehead's Road Trip Case. It has a clear vinyl zippered pocket, plus 4 more pockets to store extras. I made the 4-pocket alternate version; the original version was made for rainbow loom supplies, with the long, slender pockets with elastic at the top. For my case, I used an embroidered denim for the outside and inner pockets, an apple print for the inner lining, handles, and pocket flaps, and a red & white plaid for a finishing touch here and there. I quilted the outside, but the embroidery was already done - several friends have asked if I did the embroidery too.

I made the case in about 3 evenings spread out over the course of a week. It's not a difficult pattern, but I did have to make sure I understood exactly what the purpose of each step was and how I was supposed to achieve it. I'm familiar with sewing, but not as familiar with items like this, so I had to pay close attention to where the pattern was headed with each step. There were several times I started out putting something together backwards!

I was nervous about sewing on vinyl, but I was pleasantly surprised to find all the steps with vinyl to be the easiest ones! The pattern mentioned that the vinyl might stick to the presser foot, and what to do if it did (use tissue paper under the foot, then tear away after stitching). I only had to use the tissue paper once, while sewing on the binding. Most of the time, there was fabric between my foot and the vinyl. Also, this was the easiest zipper installation I've ever experienced! Don't be afraid of zippers in pouches and things like this case; they are much easier than putting a zipper in a dress or skirt! The hardest part - and even this wasn't all that hard, just fiddly - was binding those curved edges. Of course, I used bias binding, and it turned out ok, but I'm going to have to practice curved binding! You may not be able to see it, but there are places where it's rippled and twisted just a bit, and I'm not quite happy with that.

This case was my "test run," with fabrics from my stash. I like it well enough to use it myself, but there are several things about it that make me hesitant to put it in my shop, all mistakes that I made (like those spots of ripply binding!). Anna gives permission to sell items made from her patterns as long as they aren't being mass-produced and pattern credit is given to her - both of which I'm fine with! I'm going to make another one soon for myself, out of some designer fabrics, and I'm planning to make several for my shop, some from designer fabrics and some from vintage sheets and/or fabrics. This would be fantastic for kids' toys or craft supplies, as well as sewing or embroidery supplies, or for art or journaling supplies. Or letter-writing supplies - pens and stickers and stamps for writing and sending notes and postcards on a trip! Whatever small things you want to organize on the go, I'm thinking this bag would be just right.

Do you like to carry small crafts with you on trips? Are you able to work on crafts or read while you ride?


  1. That is really cute! I used to like to take projects along while traveling - now I mostly just take books. I have never sewn on vinyl before, either - glad to know it is not difficult.

    1. I used to be more of a reader on trips. Now I get too sleepy when I read, so I like to craft. Thanks for your comment, Barbara!

  2. I do LOVE to take crafts along on road trips (and plane trips, and train trips) and often accomplish a surprising amount. I don't do well reading to myself in the car (though that's fine on plane or train) but have found I can read aloud just fine. I have found embroidery, cross stitch and crocheting all good crafts for traveling, as long as the projects aren't large ones.

    I am so encouraged to hear what you had to say about the zipper installation. I shy away from any pattern with a zipper. I put in a lot of them in my girls' clothes over the years, but I learned to do them well by hand because I just could not master the process of doing them by machine. And the vinyl ... I'll share a tip a friend told me about. If you need only a smallish piece of clear vinyl, you can cut it from one of those zippered cases that sheets, comforters, etc. are packaged in, rather than making a special trip to buy vinyl at the fabric store. I would never have thought of that!

    Happy crafting!

    1. It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you're basically "trapped" in a car, train, or plane! LOL My grandmother taught me to do a "hand-picked" zipper, and when I'm sewing one in a dress or skirt, that's how I do it. But on little zip pouches and on this case, you're sewing the zipper onto the flat pieces of fabric before you attach them to the main body of your project. It's SO much easier! I wish you could do that with garments! Thanks for the tip on sewing with vinyl, too. I did go and buy a HUGE pack of vinyl (the only one I could find at Wal Mart, but it was inexpensive), but it will last me a really long time, I'm thinking. But using something you already have is even better!

  3. Susan, love it!! Yes, i do take crafts with me on trips...but I work on them in the motel room. I can't read/craft and ride unfortunately. You may have a best-seller there! I bet the designer fabric ones would be beautiful!

    1. Thanks, Deb! I think I'd just about die if I couldn't work on projects or read in the car! One thing I've found that I can't do in the car is work on a laptop computer (not so much a problem anymore as I have a tablet now). Something about the flicker of the screen messes with my head and tummy. I do hope I can sell some of these cases. I think they're very versatile and would appeal to young moms, older people who travel, crafters, etc. I've found that most of my customers have been professional women (doctors, nurses, attorneys, teachers) who can afford to have something custom done, so I'm making with them in mind!


Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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