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Compass Bag Kit

by Jamie Trinier January 21, 2017

The first bag up in our Bag Box series is the Compass Bag by Anna Graham, aka Noodlehead.

Anna writes up a mean pattern. Very well written and easy to follow.

I have several of her patterns I’ve already purchased, but never made.

To be honest, bags intimidate me. I feel like your mistakes are out there for everyone to see and you can’t send it off to you fabulous quilter to cover them up! **cough cough, Andrea, cough cough**

Plus, there are A LOT of directions in bag patterns, and my reading comprehension has always been less than mediocre.

You know those standardized tests you have to take in high school with math, English, reading comprehension, etc? My lowest score was always reading comprehension. And usually it was way below my grade level. Math? Nearly perfect scores. English and reading comprehension? Not so much.

Yet, here I am writing for you...

I always read through the pattern before I start, and then usually I have to read each set of steps a couple times, just to make sure I’m not screwing anything up!

Let me tell you, I screwed up more than I would like to admit while making this bag. #mombrain

Hopefully, reading about my mistakes will save you from making the same ones.

Anna gives you two sizes to choose from, large or small, I made the large.

You, awesome #culcitacrew, you have enough fabric to make the large as well.

(Note: The fabrics in this post are different than the ones we sent you, because I couldn't get the collection shipped to me in time to make it before shipping to you... but I will be updating this post, as well as social media, once I am able to make one.)

I set the small pieces aside, so they wouldn’t get in the mix by accident.

I also chose to make the adjustable strap and cargo exterior pockets.

noodlehead compass bag kit pattern pieces

Everything started out hunky dory, got all the pieces cut out, and I even fussy cut the little horse. Or thought I had.

Then I trimmed the fusible fleece for the exterior by 1/2” all the way around, I don’t like having all that bulk in my seam allowance.

I also write the names of some of the pieces on the back with chalk to easily tell all the pieces apart.

compass bag kit cutting

compass bag kit by noodlehead fusible fleece cutting

Time to start making!

Anna starts you out making all the accessory pieces, like the strap, D ring holders, etc.

I think that’s so when you’re all done with the main part of the bag, and you’re feeling all victorious, you don’t have to make a bunch of small pieces to finish the bag.

compass bag kit by noodlehead trim pieces

In the pattern, she gives the tip of changing the stitch length when you top stitch to 3mm.

Great tip! I’ve never heard that before and it makes all the difference in how the top stitch looks.

You can see in the picture below where I remembered to change the stitch length. Mistake #1.

compass bag kit by noodlehead mistake #1

Mistake #2 came soon after when I sewed the tri-glider on backwards.

Mistake #3 happened when I sewed the D ring holders in half the wrong way, making them look like chicken legs on my D rings.

compass bag kit by noodlehead triglider on backward

compass bag kit by noodlehead d rings too thin
Then, I had a pretty good, mistake-free run.

I got the little puffs that cover the D rings done and as well as the cargo pockets and pocket flaps.

compass bag kit d ring puffs

compass bag kit by noodlehead cargo pockets
For the flaps, Anna says to trim the seam allowance with pinking shears, but I don’t have any, so I just trimmed it with normal scissors and cut little notches on the curve.

I also don’t have one of those plastic corner-pusher-outer thingys, so I use a homemade cardboard snips cover.

Works great.

compass bag kit by noodlehead corner cutting

compass bag kit by noodlehead makeshift corner pushout tool
When it came time to sew the pocket flap on, she says to pin.

I hate pinning.

Probably because I always jab myself.

That’s why you’ll almost always see me use Wonder Clips, but you can’t clip the pocket flap.

I’m kind of a hoarder of all things crafty, and I saved couple of strong magnets off our name tags from a Christmas party a couple years ago.

They worked great to hold the pocket flap in place without pinning.

compass bag kit by noodlehead pocket pinning with magnets
The final seam for the main exterior of the bag was a little tricky to top stitch. You have to be all ninja-like and sew down the middle of a tube.

compass bag kit exterior top stitch

compass bag kit exterior top stitch complete
Then came the bottom of the bag, easy, done.

compass bag kit bottom sewing

compass bag kit bottom sewing
Turned it right side out, all proud of myself.

Eff! I sewed the fricking bottom 90 degrees off.

Mistake #4.

BIG mistake.

compass bag kit bottom sewed wrong
Rip the seams, try again.

Got it this time.

Yay me. 😁

compass bag bottom fixed
I used my magnets again for the zip pocket and the interior slip pocket.

I’m pretty proud of my magnet trick.

Saves my fingers from lots of pokes.

My uncle is a Type 1 Diabetic, and I cannot fathom how he pricks his fingers multiple times a day.

I do it once while sewing and I’m searching for Lighting McQueen Band Aids.

compass bag zip pocket magnet pinning trick

compass bag kit interior zip pocket
For some reason, my zip pockets never turn out very well.

If someone could enlighten me with some tips, that would be great.

Be sure to pin the zipper pocket up while sewing on the slip pocket!

compass bag kit interior slip pocket magnet pinning
Time to sew the interior to the exterior!

Happy to report, no mistakes in this vital step!

compass bag kit interior and exterior sewing
Again, Anna says to the seam allowance to 1/4” with pinking shears, I just clipped slits all the way around.

compass bag kit interior corner trimming
Two rows of top stitching, and we have a bag!

compass bag kit getting there
The pattern says you can sew the D ring holders on before or after you sew the interior to the exterior.

I, personally, like to do that step after.

I don’t like the pucker-y lining when the D rings are just sewn through the exterior.

I had to pin the D rings on, as my magnets weren’t strong enough.

compass bag d ring pinning
And I had baby on board, so I needed things secure while he was entertaining himself by bouncing on my lap while I was trying to finish my bag!

compass bag kit finishing with baby on lap
Has Homer Simpson says, d-u-n, done! Looks so great!

The only problem, those horses I thought I fussy cut?

Covered up by the pockets.

Mistake #6.

compass bag finished
Even with all my mistakes, I love this bag!

It is so satisfying for me to finish after all my trials!

I’m so excited to show it off, because you know, what? No one notices your mistakes!

compass bag finished

compass bag complete

How did it go for you? Any other tips and tricks to add, beyond what I've noted here? Comment below!

Jamie Trinier
Jamie Trinier


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