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Laser Cut Rubber Tote

Sustainable Fashion | Projects

  • Million's of bike inner tubes are thrown into landfills each year, and will remain there, hurting the environment. The Laser Cut Rubber Tote re-uses bike inner-tubes to create a stylish and practical bag. The Laser Cut Rubber Tote is 14" by 17" and is made out of bike inner tubes. It features an interior pocket made out of red fabric, a zipper, and handles. The bag is designed with a pattern that is laser cut, allowing the red lining to show through. The contrast between the black material and the bright red flowy pattern also gives it a dramatic flare.  The interior red lining adds a pop of color and strength to the bag. The handles are attached with gromets, adding another design element as the silver metal contrasts the red and the black in the bag.  The bag is durable, and will be able to withstand a significant amount of weight and use due to the materials used.  

  • The term sustainable fashion can be interpreted in numerous ways. It can mean fashion made from recycled matirals, using new material that is sustainably produced, ethically made products and/or resusable products. Challenged with the task of creating fashion accessories out of rubber bike inner tubes, we began to work with the material to get comfortable with it. We discovered that the rubber gets stuck in the sewing machine, and curls, making it difficult to sew in a straight line. After running various tests on the rubber, we realized it does not pain well, adhesives do not stick to it, it gets extremely hot in the sun, and the soldering iron cannot be used on it. After working the material, we began to brainstorm our final project, keeping in mind how to use the strength of the rubber to our benefit. Harper and I realized we wanted to create an accessory that fixes a problem, discussing first creating an accessory for use in the rain. However, we realized that we do not know how waterproof the material is. We then discussed creating an organizer for a tote bag. We realized that the durability of the material would allow the organizer to be strong and hold a good amount of weight. We decided to create an organizer for a longchamp tote bag, that many students use as their school bag. Therefore, we designed the organizer to have compartments that would help organize a students school bag.

    After our initial brainstorm, we began to finalize the design details of our organizer. As this was going to be used for school, we decided to create five pockets. One for a laptop, one for folders, one for an iphone, a small miscellaneous bag and a large miscellaneous bag. We then began the sketch up templates and cut them on the laser printer out of denim. However, we then to make alterations to the demensions to make them larger as we did not account for seam allowances, and therefore had to re-cut all of the templates out of a cotton fabric. After laser cutting all of the bag templates, we sewed the bags together, creating our first iteration. We realized that for our final we would have to change a few demensions to make the organizer longer. Overall, the iteration was succesful and represented our design well. After, we began to sew the rubber inner tubes together to create the fabric for our organizer. This took a full day and a half as every piece of rubber had to be washed, dried and sewn together. After completing the first sheet of the rubber material, we realized that we did not account for the weight of the rubber. This extra weight would make our organizer extremely heavy and impractical. Therefore, we decided that we would create a bag instead of an organizer. This would allow us to use the rubber we had already sewn together, and would lessen the weight. We then made a new template on sketch up and hand cut the rubber to the paper template. We decided to further lessen the weight of the bag, we would create a design that would cut out some of the rubber. We wanted a design with some movement, to counterbalence the stiffness of the rubber. Harper designed a flowy line pattern that incorperates the movement concept. After, we then cut this design out of the rubber in the laser cutter. After washing the rubber again, we sewed a red backing onto the back of both of the designs. Next, we sewed the lining (also red) into the bag, and finished sewing the bag together.

  • After our initial brainstorm, we began to finalize the design details of our organizer. As this was going to be used for school, we decided to create five pockets. One for a laptop, one for folders, one for an iphone, a small miscellaneous bag and a large miscellaneous bag. We then began the sketch up templates and cut them on the laser printer out of denim. However, we then to make alterations to the demensions to make them larger as we did not account for seam allowances, and therefore had to re-cut all of the templates out of a cotton fabric. After laser cutting all of the bag templates, we sewed the bags together, creating our first iteration. We realized that for our final we would have to change a few demensions to make the organizer longer. Overall, the iteration was succesful and represented our design well. After, we began to sew the rubber inner tubes together to create the fabric for our organizer. This took a full day and a half as every piece of rubber had to be washed, dried and sewn together. After completing the first sheet of the rubber material, we realized that we did not account for the weight of the rubber. This extra weight would make our organizer extremely heavy and impractical. Therefore, we decided that we would create a bag instead of an organizer. This would allow us to use the rubber we had already sewn together, and would lessen the weight. We then made a new template on sketch up and hand cut the rubber to the paper template. We decided to further lessen the weight of the bag, we would create a design that would cut out some of the rubber. We wanted a design with some movement, to counterbalence the stiffness of the rubber. Harper designed a flowy line pattern that incorperates the movement concept. After, we then cut this design out of the rubber in the laser cutter. After washing the rubber again, we sewed a red backing onto the back of both of the designs. Next, we sewed the lining (also red) into the bag, and finished sewing the bag together. The final product looks like a pretty typical tote bag (dementions are 14 x 17in) . The only difference is that it's made out of bicycle inner tube. The contrast between the black material and the bright red flowy pattern also gives it a pretty dramatic flare.  

    In terms of sustainability, this material is great. It's waterproof and very durable. This is a bag that would last for a very long time. Yes, the material is a pain to work with, but this studio has been a good example of how if you're willing to endure labor that's a bit more intense, you can make something that is healthier for the environment, more durable and pretty unique looking too!

  • The term sustainable fashion can be interpreted in numerous ways. It can mean fashion made from recycled matirals, using new material that is sustainably produced, ethically made products and/or resusable products. Challenged with the task of creating fashion accessories out of rubber bike inner tubes, we began to work with the material to get comfortable with it. We discovered that the rubber gets stuck in the sewing machine, and curls, making it difficult to sew in a straight line. After running various tests on the rubber, we realized it does not pain well, adhesives do not stick to it, it gets extremely hot in the sun, and the soldering iron cannot be used on it. After working the material, we began to brainstorm our final project, keeping in mind how to use the strength of the rubber to our benefit. Harper and I realized we wanted to create an accessory that fixes a problem, discussing first creating an accessory for use in the rain. However, we realized that we do not know how waterproof the material is. We then discussed creating an organizer for a tote bag. We realized that the durability of the material would allow the organizer to be strong and hold a good amount of weight. We decided to create an organizer for a longchamp tote bag, that many students use as their school bag. Therefore, we designed the organizer to have compartments that would help organize a students school bag.