Trying a new medium: Sewing

April 25, 2016

One of my goals for my time off was to try out sewing. I'd spent a lot of time investigating the perfect backpack a couple years ago and while in Japan in January, really admired a lot of the backpacks and men's clutches that I saw. I decided to try it out. This was an easy decision because my SO was interested in the same thing and had already gotten a sewing machine set up in my apartment.

First Project

My first project was to tear apart a pencil case he'd made in an introductory case and sew it back together. It was a good way to get familiar with the sewing machine. Sewing straight lines, thinking about the order of operations, and doing the reverse stitch to end each section.

Second project: Archery bag

I'm on my second project now. An archery bag. Here are my requirements:

  • it stands up on a flat bottom
  • it has a way to hold the quiver upright
  • it has pockets for various items that often get tangled in my basic tote bag
  • I can carry it over a single shoulder like a tote bag. It's not a backpack or anything to be used in hunting. Just to hold my stuff on the ground while I shoot.

First attempt

I pulled a basic bag together that could hold a quiver and had a flat bottom. Making a flat bottom from a cylinder was the most difficult and most fun part of this project. I had looked at a few other bags and borrowed some ideas about how to create a flat bottom.

It wasn't pretty, but it made a flat-bottomed bag! Then I started thinking about adding pockets and realized I was going to have a hard time trying to fit my sewing machine into a tote bag.

Second attempt

I really really love pockets. Gotta have 'em. So I deconstructed my bag and cut fabric for pockets and started all over again. This is great because it means I can do a better job the second time around. More practice!

After 3 hours, I got the pockets in, handles, and made the bag's cylinder shape.

Next time, I'll work on the bottom again. I'm having a great time. So far I enjoy this a lot more than many of the other projects I've tried to do. I love the spatial problems of taking flat cloth and making 3D shapes. I also might enjoy it because I'm not worry about the details, or making sure this looks good. I'm happy to be prototyping.