Pattern Puzzle: how to fix this bag? pt.2

fix_bag_pony_clamp Continuing from part one, I never imagined we’d have such a range of responses. I included the link to the pattern so you could see the shaping -basically a square with straps on one end. The bag is gusseted similar to the average plastic throw away bag you get at the store and upon which this design was based. I was looking for a down and dirty solution, nothing complex. My point in the entry was that sometimes you don’t need a lot of complexity, rough guesstimates can be good enough.

For example, comments notwithstanding, my solution was to hang the bag and grasp the excess gaping with my ever favorite pony clamp as shown in the photo. The measure of excess fullness (approximately four inches) was the only figure I needed to shift the area appropriately. In the series of sketches below, I’ll show how I did that. Again, remember this bag is gusseted at the bottom corners, the fullness being shifted from the front is only going where it wants to go anyway.

At left in the illustration below is the original pattern. It’s too big in the center. Some of that needs to be taken out and placed at the sides, bringing the straps closer together. The illustration on the right shows the cut lines. Parts labeled A will be joined at center front. Part B will be split and placed off to either side of each part A.


In the sketch below on the left, parts B have been placed at the sides and parts A have been shifted toward the center. The only thing that remains to be done, is the trimming away of the tops of parts B so they match Part A in vertical length. And on the right below is the final pattern all put back together.


Now, how do I know this will work? Well, even though I haven’t sewn a sample yet in real life, all I’ve really done is shift back what used to be there before, back when this style was known as 4212/4213 (illustration at the pattern link). Back when this was still style 4213, the straps were twice as wide but they folded. This was unwieldy. It might work in a throwaway plastic bag but it doesn’t in leather. I’m constantly fighting the folded straps of the blue leather bag. By the way, you can see the gusseting nicely there.

Regarding comments, both Barb and Betsy were on the right track by suggesting the straps needed to be moved more towards the center of the bag. A few caveats though, this is a shopping bag, not a lady’s handbag so while their points should be seriously considered for other oversized bags, they don’t really apply to this one.

els_bag_solution Also, the straps are not rigid, not in the slightest. The leather (two layers of suede) are soft, almost padded so there won’t be any painful cutting into the shoulder. Regardless of softness, I would agree this could be a problem if the straps were any narrower but these are nice and wide -about 2″ or so.

Els submitted an interesting sketch (above right), she says:

I agree with Barb Taylorr’s comment but also noticed that the front side shoulder strap is gaping due to the natural slope of the shoulder.

This is one reason I never buy a bag with 2 shoulder straps. There is always one strap falling of my shoulder if the straps are long.

You can prevent this gaping by cutting and sewing the front shoulder strap at an angle so it will rest on the shoulder without having an empty space there. See the photo (your picture which I used paint to alter the strap).

It’s interesting that Els brings this up. I had thought the strap ends could be contoured in part as she illustrated but then thought it might be overkill (I’d be guilty of over engineering). I don’t think I’d vary each side as she has because I’d have to remember which side goes out and then also not confuse the facing sides (straps ends attach to facing) and I’m doing well enough to remember my keys. The edge of the strap that faces out, sticks up a little bit when it’s slung over your shoulder (yet another reason it’s not digging into the shoulder altho I certainly agree with Betsy/Barb that it looks like it would be). In the end, it’s a shopping bag albeit an expensive one. The individual maker could decide the course best for them.

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