Last year I wanted to make my own duffel bag, but after my first attempt it became clear that I knew very little about how to structure soft goods. This renewed effort is a learning experience for me in understanding how to work with closed cell foams, plastic inserts, etc. This is also an opportunity for me to explore more hardware and materials in a more targeted fashion.
This is a small analysis of some popular bags on the market right now. In addition to pinning these on my Pinterest boards, sketching forces me to take a more careful look at construction and helps me be more informed about the decisions I'm making on my own projects.
Three different products with different approaches that I was inspired by.
My main challenge with these canvas prototypes was figuring out how I can get the most amount of structure with the least amount of bulk. The past two bags I made were on completely opposite ends of this spectrum, but this duffel was aiming to be somewhere in between, through use of a variety of textiles, thicknesses, deniers, etc. Every combination of materials behaves differently, and as an amateur, it's hard to really know what's going to happen until I try it myself.
There are always ideas that I have a hard time letting go of, and the easiest way to do that is to sketch it out- and if I really can't let go, to mock it up. This transforming carry system is one of them. I continue to be intrigued by the idea of backpacks converting into duffels, messengers, totes, etc. The challenge is creating something stable that is also easily convertible, comfortable, and necessary. When is it easier and better just to add another handle or another strap, instead of trying to fit it all in one?
This mini hand Dremel is one of the most useful tools I own. Someone told me recently to stop waiting around for people and do it myself-- in this case, I stopped waiting for the mail to deliver the ITW G Hooks I ordered.
I do as much as I can through sketches and paper patterns, but inevitably things slip through the cracks, and sometimes the easiest place to take notes is right on the fabric itself.
The first official prototype is in! While I do a lot of small mockups along the way, there's nothing like a full scale finished sample. Already I noticed some problem areas that occurred-- for example, the crossed corner details mean the main cavity doesn't stay open in any form-- but I'm currently working through them for my next prototype.
Next step: shoulder straps