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Woven Tote Bag

Sustainable Fashion | Projects

  • Having worked for two weeks on our bag we learned a lot along the way about proper sewing technique as well as problem solving when things didn't go our way. We got through our setbacks and ended up with two great final products that, with a little refining, could definitely be applicable to the developing world. These recycled products are also great for eco-conscious consumers who are looking for something different in their fashion. We were able to go from zero sewing knoweldge to being fairly adept and joing fabrics in a productive way. We also got experiance with hand stiching and some embrodiary work. I felt acomplished after the studio and it was a great process of learning.

     

  • Problem: Millions of rubber bicycle inner tubes are simply thrown away and wasted each year all around the globe.

    Solution: The HD tote bag. A simple and practical use for unwanted rubber tubes.

    Process

    When we were originally introduced to the rubber material we realised it had its benefits and disadvantages. One of the benefits being that it is a very strong and durable material. One that could stretch and still be a solid building material. We decided to do several experiments with it, one of these being weaving. After making our first small rubber weave we realised that it both looked great and functioned fenominaly in holding weight. We then sewed around the sides of the piece and it was finished. We decided to base our project on this original success. After making another side weave we sewed two sides on to the weaves and connected them. Not realising at the time that we needed a more uniformed and fused system for a base we simply taped a denim bottom on. 
    We the added wood supports to give the bag a more uniform shape, an idea we would later get rid of entirely. After this rough prototype we moved onto a much bigger side weave. We had become much better at weaving uniform size rubber strips into the larger piece and these came along at a much expedited rate. We then were shown a basic 7 piece model for a bag which included sewing on the sides and bottom all together into one piece and then sewing that together to make the bag. This is where we hit our first major roadblock. Rubber is a very tough material to sew with and we spent the majority of our time working our jams and missed seams to bring all these pieces together. Once we had done that we connected and bag and added a denim lining inside. We also sewed two straps and but them vertically instead of horizontally for a more slouched look on the bag. We laser cut a lexan bottom to see if a support was necessary but ended up preferring the free formed look for the base. We also laser cut a logo out of mirror acrylic for some flare and contrast against the black bag. 

    Challenges
    Having started with absolutely zero sewing experience for either of us it was very difficult to start off with a material like rubber. After dozens of jams, broken needles, re-threadings, and bad stitching we began to become slightly more adept at the struggle of sewing rubber. We were able to work through all the structural problems that the dewing presented and in the end I feel great about my ability to sew with a machine. We also had to do a fair amount of hand stitching for parts, such as attaching the straps, that the machine could not handle. This presented its own unique set of difficulties but it ended up being a much more accurate way of making the bag, although much, much slower. 

    Usage
    This bag is a fantastic, fashionable, and unisex solution for anyone on the go who wants an eco friendly way to carry around all their belongings. The rubber and denim are extremely durable and capable of taking any reasonable load. The straps are a great size for nearly everyone and the bag carries the perfect amount of daily necessities. 

    Specifications
    The bag is made from 7 separate rubber pieces with a denim lining. The rubber used for the weave is approximately 19x10 .5 inch wide by 11 inch strips. These allow for the ideal ratio of stretch and strength. The logo is made of laser cut acrylic and the straps and rubber around rope. We used brass D rings to connect the straps to the bag.