Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Shoulder bag

The spring semester is over now. The course that lasted from mid-April to the end of May got graded last week. The course was about making a product or series of products using recycled materials. I chose jeans fabric the school had in large quantities. It counts as recycled material, because it's factory leftovers that would be wasted otherwise.

I didn't do everything in the proper order, but I will present things in order here. So, the first thing is the presentation picture of the product. I actually drew this last, when all the bags were finished.

I made a series of 5 bags, which meant I had to cut parts for the entire series first. The picture below shows parts of the lining drawn with chalk on the reverse side of the fabric. It is so much easier to avoid wasting material when you're cutting a batch instead of just pieces for 1 bag. 

Here are all the pieces needed for the bags. The fabric with flowers is for the bottom part of the lining. It's the most visible part of the lining, so I thought it would be nice to have something more interesting there.

I made the front pieces by weaving strips of the fabric into a chessboard pattern. First, I sewed the strips to the upper and left edges, and then, after weaving, to the opposite edges.

Here are the finished front pieces. Each was to be cut in half diagonally, so there was one extra for each. That actually messed up my calculations at one point as I was calculating the fabric needed for 5 halves, not realizing I needed to make 3 rectangles for both color combinations.

The way to cut these in half was to first stitch diagonally twice and then cut between the stitched lines. I folded the pattern in half, placed in on top of the piece, and then used the folded edge as a guide for the first stitching. The second was easy to do using the first as the guide.

When I had the two halves, I first sewed the 3 stripes together and then the resulting wider piece in between the halves. As you can see, the front pieces were complicated and they took a lot of time to make. Too much time to make this project in any way financially viable. The two-tone pieces in the picture are for the backs. The original plan was for the back to be black, but as I couldn't get wide enough pieces of the jeans fabric for that, I changed the plan. 

I didn't take pictures from the assembly stages, so here is a finished bag. There were 5 identical bags, but I only took a picture of one as that was part of the assignment (taking a product photo).

The project looks fairly simple described this way, but it was a lot more complicated as it began with a lot of experiments with different techniques. Mostly failed experiments, I might add, but of course even a failed experiment is a good thing, because it tells you that is not the way to proceed.

After the bags were finished, I decided to try an alternative technique. The front pieces took a lot of time to make, so I tried different material and slightly different order of doing things. The experiment below is made of textile band. Its edges did not require stitching, so that reduced the amount of time required quite a bit. I haven't used this for anything yet, but I might make another bag for myself later (the 5 bags I made went on sale at the school).

My grade for the course was 5 (on a scale of 1-5), so I was quite pleased. Good grades are always nice, even when you don't actually need them. What they show me is that I'm doing things right.

 I had time left over after this project, so the teacher gave me a customer project to make. I'll be posting about that later.

No comments: