Design Checklist and Iterations

Sorry for the delayed posts.  I had most of this ready for print last week.  But things had not completely resolved enough to hit the publish button.  Instead, I chose to work in the studio.  It’s that old pit bull behavior: I couldn’t let go until I was really satisfied.  

I met a fellow sewist a few weeks ago.  Over dinner, I mentioned that my blog is about the creative process and that specifically this post is about iterations.   She was very affirming and reminded me that ALL products evolve.  No versions one, two or three are perfect.  We, the general public, don’t get to see the transformation of a product.  So here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the development of my newest Sock size and Tote size bags.

After publishing Road Testing Bags post, I am realizing that blogging is having some interesting side benefits.  I can gain some emotional distance.   I didn’t recognize a flaw in the ‘After’ design until seeing it on the blog.  The strap handle attachment looks amateur.

Last week I created version 3.  Satisfying…I really like the aesthetics now.  A few more issues to resolve with the construction process can be dealt with once I’m in production mode.   It was a very labor intensive process and still too bulky.  While ripping version 3 a part, I came up with a much simpler, easier, ‘duh, moment’ solution.  So we now have version 4.  And I’m thinking of changing the lining to both speed production and add a pocket.  Version 5 will be tested in the next color.

You can see the succession or iterations.

4 Versions of Sock bag

4 Versions of Sock bag

  • Version 1: No strap  (Need to increase the size a bit to fit a pattern sheet, snap top gets dirty quickly because I’m grabbing it all the time)
  • Version 2: First strap (better size, better handle, Switched to a regular strap handle instead of the wristlet because it’s easier to grab, ugly attached handle)
  • Version 3:  I like this a lot, 2 are finished.  Production-wise, minus 10
  • Version 4: Yeah! Changed fabrics, fixed tab. Success, simple modifications still needed

The tote bag…

Original thinking…This should be easy, simpler construction, nicer fabrics…wrong.  This has been the frustration project.  Is it a coincidence that the two current projects have same issues with the strap connection to the bag body? 

General Design Checklist:

  1. Function:  weight, comfort, easy of use (nothing frustrating), secure construction
  2. Form:  Does it (fabric chose, strap, pockets, etc) match the aesthetic of the bag?
  3. Process:  how much time, broken needles, sore neck and fingers are required to do this? In other words, am I going to LIKE making 4-5 of these at a time?

Checklist on this tote:

  1. Version 1 of Tote bag

    Finished Version 1 of Tote bag

    Function:  a collection of old handbags, window shopping and road testing narrowed the style of handles to a rolled version.  I found out it’s called ‘rouleaux.’ It’s comfortable in the hand and on my shoulder.

  2. Form:  The body is a medium weight tapestry.  It’s too thick and textured for the handle, so a contrasting fabric is needed.  I found a nice faux leather that works beautifully with the body.  but all the faux leather handles on my sample bags have a finished edge.  
  3. Process:
    a.  How do you attach a rouleaux handle?  Where on the bag? Hardware? (Maybe the next version)  A tab? as simple as possible.
    b. Craftsy classes (Design Your Own Handbag with Brett Bara and Making Leather Bags with Don Morin) helped a lot.*
    Searching the Internet helped a bit.
    c.  A bad habit bit me bad.  I took a chance to try the simplest tab, (flare the ends of the handle to form the tab).  It wasn’t simple.  It had a weak point at the end of the cording.  It was floppy and could easily tear after some use.
    Lesson learned: You need good leather not vinyl to accomplish this simple look.  Unlike yarn (where I picked up that bad habit of not swatching and jumping right in), I can not unravel this handle.  I just wasted good faux leather.

    Tote Tab Swatches

    Tote Tab Swatches

    d.  Ok, hand sufficiently slapped…I decided it would be better to make swatches of the attachment.  This version, modified Morin’s tab covered attachment.


* I am not a Craftsy affiliate.


One thought on “Design Checklist and Iterations

  1. Pingback: Road Trip to Austin, Still in Autumn | slanted stitches

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