Friday, September 26, 2014

Blag-a-Bag: Drawstring Bags

I found myself needing some gift bags this week, and making some felt like a nice, light project to ease myself back into Pacific time. The first several days of this week, we were getting up at 5AM and crashing at 9PM, so it was a little tough.

Focusing less on complex structure also gave me more time to play with the texture and fabric, too.
I had this idea because I was thinking, when I start brainstorming on a UX problem, I like to come up with ideas that I hate. That might sound weird, but I do this purposely, because I get one of three results:
  1. I actually love the idea, and wouldn't have thought of it otherwise, or
  2. I have a better understanding of why I dislike it, and I fix it, or
  3. All of the above--this is the best scenario, really.
I think the princple is the same for exploring with textiles, or anything new, really. The next time you find yourself faced with a problem, give it a try. You might find it works out better than you anticipated. But it's always good to start with some basics.

This is a great way to use up scrap fabric! I tend to accumulate pieces that aren't quite small enough to get tossed, but aren't big enough to cut pattern pieces.

My first experiment was with the drawstring location. While we were in New York, one of the shopping bags I got at a store had a centre drawstring pull, which I thought was cool. So, this bag has a buttonhole in the centre on each side, instead of along the side seam. It works OK, but doesn't really open easily.

I started playing around with texture, using a pintucking foot and a twin needle. I tend to shy away from flashy patterns and busy texture, but these next two small bags are my favourites. (See point 1 above, about unexpectedly loving something!)

The opening photo is the same grey bag, but with curvy patterns like the blue one. I think I like the parallel curves better, since the intersection of pintucks flattens them a bit too much.

If this next one looks familiar, it's because these are the leftover scraps from some placemats I made ages ago.

The blue panel made the bottom too wide, so I put in a small box pleat. I think it looks super cute, but you really can't put a lot of weight in this bag, or else it sags. I bet that problem would be fixed with a lining and some stabilizer, though.

This last one is my most bizarre experiment. It started with a perfectly square piece of fabric.

When flattened, it looks kind of like origami. This, like the previous, isn't the most practical design for a bag, and wouldn't be good for anything more than gift wrapping, but it's fun to play with constructing shapes.

Can you say Haute Couture?

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