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The Sheet Protectors or I Can See Your Paperwork

Easing the Street | Projects

  •        At the beginning we spent a lot of time jumping around between ideas, not sure which to continue on. However, we liked the idea of "sheet protectors" and manipulating them in such a way so that they could deflect rain but also protect documents. We thought of tent configurations, shawls, and different sleeping bag techniques. In the end though, we decided that a jacket that doubled as a binder was our strongest idea. It would be part conceptual, and part functional with the ability to both show off your documents but also protect them from the elements.

         Throughout this project, we had a lot of crazy and unique ideas. It began with a suitcase, that would split down the middle each side having its own purpose. One side, would house a sleeping-bag and would be used for night time. The other half would have room for both clothes and documents, this second half was more of a mix of a traditional suitcase and a binder. However, once thinking about it for an extended period of time, we ultimately decided against the idea and moved onto a bigger and better idea. We then thought of a tarp, that had pockets on it and would fold up into a binder. We made a successful prototype, but even then decided it needed something more. It originally was also going to have the function of turning into a tent of sorts, with a metal frame that would hold the tarp up. Although we liked this overall idea, we decided to move past the tarp/tent idea because of certain complications. This led us to come to our final idea of a jacket that doubled as a binder, thus giving both you and your important documents protection from the elements. This idea had a lot of potential and after some careful thought, we realized we could make it of materials that were either already in the shop or would be easy to access. With some help from our studio instructor, we came up with the idea of a new kind of fabric that was becoming more and more popular over the internet. This was a plastic fabric, that you could make out of ironing plastics bags ontop of eachother two at a time. It made them tougher and harder to rip, which is perfect for making a jacket. After many trail attempts and a lot of failure, we finally come up with the right sizing for the "pattern pieces." A lot of research had to be done but we found many helpful websites and soon after began to cut out the pieces out of our fabric. After seeing how many holes and tears there were in the imperfect cvs fabric, we decided that there would need to be a second layer ontop. This also served as a way for us to show off the documents being held by the jacket, and would help the homeless people better represent themselves with their possessetions. Once the pieces were cut out and sewn together we printed out the correct size sample documents that were most likely going to be held by the jacket. This finally was another attempt to better replicate what the jacket may actually look like when being worn by a homeless recipient. Overall, this jacket is part functional and part conceptional but not only protects homeless people from the elements but also keeps their documents safe and close.

  •      Right when we got started we did a lot of brainstorming, and worked on a lot of different ideas. We quick got going on making prototypes and different models of everything. We had paper models, and even full models made out of sample fabric. We spent a lot of time during this step of the process, in an attempt to make everything easier later on. This helped us get a better idea of what we wanted to do early, so that we could spend the rest of the time working on the final. Our goal was to make something that helped out the homeless, both protecting them and their legal documents from the weather and other people. We got this idea after listening to a moving speech by one of Rosie's friends Diane Sullivan. She helped us put into perspective just how much trouble homeless people went through everyday. This then helped us think of ideas for our project, and helped us capitalize on which of the homless struggles is the most important to us and what we plan on doing about it. 


             We had many iterations for this project, the first of which was a sheet protector binder combination. It was a 4x4 sheet protector mega sheet that we taped together in order for it to double as a shawl. When thrown over yourself, this megasheet acted as a raincoat, and could protect your back from rain, snow, etc. However, this left a lot of the rest of the body exposed, and we felt this was a problem. It also could be folded up at certain places turning the sheet protectors into a stack, allowing for it to double as a binder. This would allowed easy access to the documents you had stored in the slots. These ideas were solid at the time but we felt as though it needed something more, and could easily be improved into something much greater and more useful.

        In order for us to achieve this, we changed the whole function of the idea. In the second iteration it went from a binder/shawl to a binder/tent. We decided it would be even more useful if the mega sheet could be hung over a wireframe, thus turning it into a tent like structure. This would have clips that could go onto anything, allowing for this makeshift tent to be built anywhere you want. This also would be convenient for anyone using it because sometimes the weather is unpredictable and you wouldn’t otherwise have time to find a safe place to set up your “campsite.” Although we had mini models of all these things we didn’t quite yet have anything too solid to hold and play with. Making a scale model of your idea always helps in the thinking and working process, so we aimed to make the project something we could make realistically at nuvu.

        We made this project realistic by adapting it to a jacket idea, we took the sheet protector concept and pretty much molded it into a jacket. We liked the idea of a clear jacket that could not only show off your documents, but also protect them from other people/the weather. This functioned as a jacket, but also worked as a representation of the concept that, “homeless people carry everything they have on their back for anyone and everyone to see.” We felt that this was a very powerful idea, and should be somehow represented to the public through this project. However, our first step was finding a creative material to make the jacket itself out of. With some help from studio instructors and our own thinking, we came up with the idea of melted plastic bags. And after having done some research we quickly found out that ironing 2 or more plastic bags on top of each other (with a protective sheet on the top and bottom,) creates a tough recyclable fabric. So we stopped by a few stores nearby and came back with transfer paper and around 50 cvs bags. These materials were easy to acquire and are available for nearly anyone, so realistically this jacket would be quite easy for homeless people to make. After we made the fabric we soon came upon yet another problem, and it was in regards to how we would both show off, and protect the legal documents on the jacket. After some unsuccessful shopping and research Rosie came to us with clear fabric that her friend had used for a different art project that also worked perfect for ours. After cutting out the pattern pieces for both the clear plastic and cvs bag fabric, sewing it together, cutting the slits for the pockets, and printing out the legal documents, we were ready for the presentation. In the end the jacket had come out nearly exactly as we had hoped, regardless of a few mis-sewn places that could not be avoided. We are not masters with the sewing machine by any means, but learned a lot through this process and successfully made a functioning jacket after two weeks of hard work.