Fixing the Process

Tote Bag prototype 1

Version 1 of Tote bag

Version 1 of Tote bag


love the look and feel
I have enough room to hold 2 project bags, one purse, a book and binder
the gals like it.
only minor changes needed, (add a stiff bottom, lower the handle tabs, maybe add a closure…)


one major change needed, if staying with the rouleaux style, a metal hinge.  Probably need to use a rivet to close it.  More equipment and stuff to learn.


This little piece took 1 hour

This little piece took 1 hour

And again it’s the handles.  Managed to trim it down to 5 hours.

The body and lining of bag takes at least a day to make.  One complete bag in two days does not make a good business unless I charge a few hundred dollars.  Not interested in making this thing so exclusive that my friends will think twice about buying one.


So what can I do?
Changing the order can help.  Handles and tabs first.  Pockets and snaps second.  Get the hard stuff done first.  Think, veggies before dessert.  Assembly and top stitching las

Can anything else be simplified?

  1. Find a specialized leather foot that fits my machine to stitch the handles and tabs.  Looking for the Babylock Leather Quilting Roller foot for a low shank. Hopefully less struggle equals faster finish.
  2. Switch to a leather handle and tab.  Expensive, more equipment and supplies needed.
  3. Switch to a leather tab if I want to keep the rouleaux style.  Now need to find a leather source and colors. Is this getting more complicated not less?  Wait…Stick with available colors.  I have black leather, purple and tan suede.  I can experiment with these first.
  4. Modify the handles:
    What does changing to a hardware connector between the handle and tab do?
    Improve the look and feel, probably.
    It could affect the weight.  Now need to find the right hardware.
    Maybe focus with fabrics that work with readily available hardware until the design is settled and interest is good.
    I do have smaller brass and nickel D and rectangle rings and big antique brass rings.
    Will need to swatch.
    Does it make the stitching/assembly more or less complicated?
    Don’t know.
  5. If the above don’t work, I need to design an alternative handle.  I saw a bag in Seattle made of seatbelts.  It’s too heavy for a whole bag but maybe the handles.  Look for smaller seatbelt strapping.
  6. Do I eliminate something?
    a. Pockets, will need to check with the gals.  I’m biased towards as many pockets as I can get.  This one has four.  Twist my arm, I can eliminate one or two.
    b. Move the handles to the top of the bag?  Hmmm…that means the outside and facing are separate cut pieces.  + stronger edge + no tabs needed – might need a magnet tabbed closure
    c.  Or have a front and back facing, attach the handles/tabs at the seam.
    I like this one better than b.
    I’m starting to like this one a lot.  And I can do the metal connectors and tabs.
  7. I’m going with the last idea 6.c. 
  8. If 5.c. doesn’t work, than go to 5.

But everything is on hold until I’m back from the trip.  Road testing this bag, of course.



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