Monday, May 17, 2010

May You Be Inspired Days: Metal Gear

This week I’m going to show you how to make a bag that works, both visually and functionally. First, in my experience, messenger bags are the best all around bag for carrying STUFF. No, they might not be the best bag for looks, grocery shopping, or a night out, but if you need to haul your laptop ANYWHERE, its a messenger bag. Have a baby? Get a messenger bag. Like to craft, read, or any other hobby where you go OUT with stuff, get a messenger bag for it.

And that leads us to today’s bag:

P5170003 P5170004

This bag is geared towards a particular hobby, which in this case, is music. Most of the musicians I know need bags. They like to carry things like a bottle of water, some drum sticks, a magazine or laptop, some music sheets, a pen or two, maybe even some posters for an upcoming show. So this bag is for them. First, notice the music theme visually. The printed fabric has guitars in browns, whites, and greens with a little black. The solid orange is accented with machine embroidery to compliment the print. But it ALSO adds stability to both the front flap and the front pockets, as I HATE a limp bag. 

Now lets talk pockets. You need to have them for what you NEED, not what looks the best. So in this case, the water, drum sticks, magazines, sheet music, laptops, posters, groupie underwear… you get the picture. The pocket under the volume knob is actually split down the front into two pockets, both of which have water resistant lining. This makes them perfect for holding a water bottle and it not sweating on everything else.  They are also sized for a decent sized water bottle, not just the thinnest little plastic bottle out there. The interior pocket is well padded to protect a laptop. And I know it will fit a 17” monitor laptop easily and comfortably. It will even still allow you access to its zipper pocket.


The zipper pocket (which I prefer to think of as the SECRET STASH), has a 7 inch zipper and is completely lined and stabilized. Why, you ask? Because nothing is worse than the pocket getting a hole so that your secret stash becomes so secret that even you can’t find it. I hate digging in the lining of a bag for something. Ugh… Also, please notice the green lining. This is intentional. A color that ISN’T too light (an thus shows every pen mark) but that ISN’T black (which shows NOTHING and makes your bag a HOLE). There is a bag for white and black linings, but a USEFUL one isn’t it.

Finally, there is a back pocket. The picture sucks, but here it is

P5170006 See? Told you. Sucky shot. But a bad picture is better than none. It does show you that the back is trimmed in the pattern to easily locate the edge of the pocket, but still flow with the overall bag. It is also a darker color on the reverse, allowing it to not show dirt and grunge as badly. Finally, this back pocket is SUPER stable. In fact, it’s got INTERFUSE lining it. If you aren’t familiar with this stuff, you should check it out. It’s the awesome. Basically, it makes your fabric STRUCTURAL. This pocket is also nice and deep. Why? Because you need somewhere to stash your sheet music, magazines, and posters where they won’t get crumpled.

So, to sum up. A great bag needs:

   useful, object specific pockets 
    productive linings
    thoughtful color schemes
    decoration that works for you
    materials that work as hard as you do (Interfuse, water-resistant, etc)

Now, I should tell you that this bag ended up a lot brighter than I intended originally. I wanted a much more somber bag, but I got distracted by one toddler chewing on the other toddler (17 month old twins will do that kind of thing…Who knew?). So both of the front pockets ended up orange, which is BRIGHT. But it won’t be missed, for sure. And after putting them together, I do like it. It’s just not what I’d planned. Happy accidents, I guess. Also, I wanted pen loops, but the Interfuse doesn’t play well with needles. You can sew it with a universal, you just need to take your time. So when I got to the areas that had a layer of interfuse, two layers of lining, two layers of exterior fabric, and wanted to add more for a pen loop, well. I decided my children might have heard enough interested swear words under my breath, we’ll put it that way! :) So no pen loops, because I don’t want to punch holes in my water resistant lining (that would defeat the purpose) and I don’t want to put the pens in the laptop pocket. Oh well.

Learn from my mistakes! Be inspired to make your own bag, or at least have one made. Don’t settle for what some department store says will organize your stuff. Get custom! And I’m planning on making this bag available in my Etsy shop as soon as I can take some good pictures. And I’ve got more custom ideas for you as the week goes on. So be inspired!

And don't forget! I'm gonna give away one of the items from this month's inspirations on June 1st! It could even be a custom bag.

All you have to do is:
1. Become a Follower of StressTheSeams
2. Comment on one of the posts this month telling me what you would love to win!
International readers will have to pay their own shipping, but American followers will get it for free!
I'll close entries at 1am eastern standard time on June 1st and use the fabulous random number generator to select one wonderful winner. The prize will be a surprise for the reader, but I might just be looking at what they say....hint, hint! :)
So go become a follower and comment! And there will be other ways to get extra entries as the month goes on, so don't miss a day!



1 comment:

Carrie said...

I love the orange on the bag!


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