Refine My Line Reject: Sharp Hill Designs

rml_reject_sharp_hill_designsIt’s almost funny when I write someone telling them they’ve been rejected for Refine My Line, I say something like “Congratulations! You’ve been rejected!” and they say something like “Whadda you mean rejected? You make it sound like a good thing…” Recapping, a RML reject is a product that shows no need of improvement. Once I remind them of the purpose of the Refine My Line series, they say something like “I am thrilled that you have rejected my line….thank you!” which is also kind of funny to read.

Without further ado, today’s RML reject is Catherine Woodman of Sharp Hill Designs. Catherine says she’s been very successful selling this line in the Hamptons, which is where she’s starting from.

What makes these bags worthy of rejection is uniform construction that is appropriate to the given form (intended to be stiff and not readily collapsible). The three  biggest problems with bags are usually not enough reinforcement (interfacing usually but not in this case), top stitching and wilting straps. I have not asked Catherine but it seems the bags have a shaped liner (presumably a molded plastic insert but I don’t know). The straps look sturdy enough, I’m guessing they were reinforced with a heavier laminate and then sewn. Whether something is topstitched depends on preference and bag styling but in this case, the bags are fine without it. Before I go further, I hope I haven’t left anyone with the idea that totes and bags must be hard formed because I don’t believe that to be true. It depends on the styling. I personally prefer more casual totes that aren’t hard.

The bags look very crisp and professional. The specifications and execution of a pattern to full the I.D. and O.D. of a bag isn’t as simple as it sounds. Or rather, getting the pattern to match isn’t much of a trick but sewing to meet the specifications requires practice and experience. She’s hired a contractor to produce these and it appears they know what they’re doing.

These cotton totes (also lined in cotton) have 6 interior pockets (one  zips closed) and a key fob. The bags are secured with a magnetic snap closure.

What I’m not saying:

Catherine has another side line of bags she’s producing herself. They are very similar to these but I think they need a very light hand and will be doing a separate RML entry on those. As such, Sharp Hill has one reject line and one accepted line. In some ways, I think the issue with her in house product is that she copied the attributes her contractor set. And that is not wholly a bad idea either. It’s kind of a long story but I’ll tell you more about that later.

Questions? Comments? The forum discussion is here.

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4 comments

  1. Marie-Christine says:

    I also think it’s a good idea to share the rejects, after all everyone who is one deserves to have their horn tooted as loudly as possible :-).

    More to the point, I think we all learn from it as much as we do from the accepted candidates. What constitutes something that needs no improvement (and most importantly why) is just as helpful as what needs improving. See: like this, not like that.. I sure hope you do ‘before and after’ recaps eventually too, so we can all compare how much better it looks to do what is suggested..

    I tend to prefer softer bags too, for carrying at least, but I can definitely see the point of shaped bags. Tossing your towel in at the beach. Keeping your knitting available. The cookies at hand.. Better for static applications. These look -very- sharp.

  2. Those are gorgeous! I could see that she would do really well in the Hamptons. Without actually handeling them, I think they look great in the picture and look well made. I appreciate that the handle is as stiff as the body. Nothing irks me as much as flimsy handels that will pull easily off.

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