Prototype bag Style# 4216 pt.2

4216-4217_finished Did you think I’d forgotten about this project? If you were hoping so, no such luck. Again, for review, the past entries are pt.1, pt.2, pt.3, pt.4, pt.5, pt.6, and pt.7. It’s only now that we’re getting to something interesting. Well that’s my opinion because we finally have enough of these bags to see style, function and engineering problems emerge. So you don’t care about making bags. These lessons translate in similar ways. But first, the photos of the finished bag (4216); this one seemed to be more popular. At right is the front.  The back I don’t have room to post with all of today’s other photos but it’s here. It came out pretty cool too. It’s the sunrise split piece pattern I showed before.

4216-4217_liningThe lining (lower right) was rather interesting. If you missed that, in the interests of divining the perfect bag lining, I’ve changed the pattern for every single bag. It’s an experiment. The first one (4213, the blue lamb) I hated because it had that inside patch pocket. The lining material was a nightmare that didn’t want to hold a press. I have henceforth decided I’ll never make another patch pocket in my entire life. Until I forget I said that of course or until such time it’s convenient for my purposes -naturally. I made the pockets in the lining for this bag differently yet. I inserted the pocket in the seam between the facing and the lining itself. I’m not sure I’m wild on the pattern design of it but I can work on it. The funny thing is, when I was photographing the lining (by turning it inside out), I decided that could be another exterior design option unto itself.

After making two or three bags (the blue lamb and black velvet), I decided I wanted to change the strap design. Previously I’d had a sort of fold over handle (photo) but I wasn’t wild on it. The pattern looked like this (the one on the left):


I decided to narrow it down and eliminate the fold so the pattern changed to look like the pattern on the right (4215-4217). The new ones came out well enough except a leather facing for the strap was now needed. That was also okay, it didn’t increase the allocation too much, maybe by 2 square feet at the outside. Are you all interested in how to calculate leather yield manually? I’ve seen others explain how to do it but that’s not how I do it. I’m not suggesting they’re wrong either but it’s not the way I learned to do it.

At this point, it’s important I mention how these straps were designed to be sewn otherwise you won’t understand the really stupid thing I did on this latest bag, yes, the one I opened with. The bag straps were designed to be sewn as in view A below but there’s another image if you want to look at something sketched prettier.


I was bored and for some reason decided I didn’t want to sew the straps like the sketch on the left. No no. I decided to sew them like the sketch on the right (view B). Boy was that stupid. The bag still looks okay but the straps are too far apart side to side across the front of the bag and they’re too close together through the sides. For the next version, I’ll have to move them in towards the front and leave more room at the sides. No one would know there’s a problem with the bag by looking at it. Maybe not even after using it. But it would be noticeable that the ergonomics of the bag were off even if one couldn’t articulate the reasons for it.

It’s at this point I should bring up the matter of style numbers. Up till now, I’ve been using style numbers that start with 42–. Now because I actually do like the look of the bag with the straps sewn the other way, I will start a new numbering series that (to me) will indicate the straps are sewn differently than the others. So these next ones will be numbered with 43–. This isn’t something you have to do all official like yourself and have these grandiose reasons you have to keep track of, it’s just one of those things you decide to do on the fly. I’m not using the 4 numbering series for anything but accessories anyway. Up till now, 41– was scarves so I still have room. Worse come to worse, I could create five digits if I needed them and just re-number everything.

Anyway, so how do you like the look of this latest bag? My next project is a western styled bag. It will have fringe and doo-dahs on it. Yet another guaranteed to be off the mark price-wise bag.

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  1. LisaB says:

    I think the new bag is great! I can see how this pocket would be far better to sew than a patch pocket, too.

    Fire away on the manual leather yield calculations. I’m interested in learning.

  2. Becky says:

    This bag looks great Kathleen. I do like the handles sewn this way better. Looks like it fits over the shoulder better than the first ones. I love the layering of the different colors.

  3. Kaaren says:

    I like the narrower handles and set the way you have them- may have been a mistake to start with but the look is great. I also think that in the end it will be easier to shoulder if full as it looks like it should have better weight distribution. Have you tested the bags with weight in them? Is there a difference in how stuff rolls around half full, full?
    and Yes – please the leather yield formula would be wonderful!


  4. Theresa Riess says:

    Kathleen, the way you sewed the handles on 4216 seems right to me. As Becky said, they will fit over the shoulder better. A handle on either side of the bag seems to be the norm for purses and tote bags and your bag is long enough to function as a large shoulder purse. Such style for shopping! I’m looking forward to the Western style bag.

    Theresa in Tucson

  5. Danielle says:

    Like other people I also prefer the handles the way you sewed them. I have a problem with my hands, so carrying a bag can sometimes be a challenge. I learned that a bag with the handles like above is much easier to carry. I don’t have to turn my wrist which means less strain and aches.

    With the handles sewn they way you meant them to be, I find I’m dropping bags a lot more. So that makes me curious what you mean when you say :
    But it would be noticeable that the ergonomics of the bag were off even if one couldn’t articulate the reasons for it.

    I’m just wondering. Maybe because my hands work different (less strength and feeling) it works different for me. I spoke with an ergonomical therapist (sorry, don’t know the english name for it) and she helped me to use my hands as efficient as possible.
    The best way of course is not to carry as many things as I sometimes tend to do.

  6. Jasmin says:

    I too prefer these handles – and I would be most interested in the yield calculation method.

    I love seeing the iterative approach, the changes, and the way the idea (and patterns) change and evolve, it is absolutely fascinating. Thanks Kathleen!

  7. I appreciate you wanting to sew the straps the way you did. The pattern can be fixed so the bag does not gape. I have “shopping bags” with the straps sewn the other way, and they do not hang nicely against your body. … My husband constantly complains that the bag bangs against his knees while walking. This is much more sensible.

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