Monday, January 19, 2015

Re-Working Your Existing Projects -- TARDIS

Recently, I got a chance to test-drive my TARDIS messenger bag out in the real-world. I had to spend a good chunk of time away from home during one weekend, so I packed it with stuff, including a water bottle, three knitting projects (including a sweater WIP), my iPad mini, and small things (wallet, phone, knitting accessories, etc.).

While it was extremely serviceable, I noticed a few flaws that REALLY bothered me that needed to be fixed before I used it at a Convention. I could completely re-make the bag from scratch, or I could take apart the existing bag and re-work it with modifications.

As creating a new bag from scratch would entail more work (and more fabric), I opted to re-work it instead, as the issues could be fixed.

There were two issues:
  1. The biggest thing that bothered me was that the bag was too soft and floppy. It would fall over and not hold its shape; the front and back would fall into each other. It oozed, much like Pile-o-Cat, where I wanted the Tall-Cat bag.
  2. The way I had placed the buckles were not holding the bag closed well. The front flap would slip to one side of the buckles, thus creating a gap. 
Both were relatively easy solutions to fix the problem.

Problem #2 was extremely easy to solve. Because the front flap was shifting away from the buckles,  I sewed them to the front flap at several locations. I also added a magnetic closure to the very middle of the bag flap so that there would be minimal shifting.

Problem #2 was also a relatively easy solution, but it entailed that I take the bag apart, and add thicker padding between the lining and fabric so that the bag was sturdier.  I took some thicker Pellon #70 Ultra-Firm Stabilizer that I sandwiched between some pre-quilted padding that I already had lying about.

The end result was about ~ 5mm (or 0.25 inch) thick.

I inserted this extra padding at the bottom of the bag (to help it stand up), as well as the front and back of the bag.

Here's the bag BEFORE I added the padding. See how it wraps itself around the mannequin slightly and appears to be floppy?



The re-worked bag can stand on it's own now with a few things inside.

However, because of the extra padding, I wasn't able follow the pattern instructions of turning the lining right-side-out. In addition, the added padding required expanded the width of the bag slightly so that I had to add a front facing all around the edges of the bag in order to seam up properly. This new facing also required that the bag straps be attached differently to the bag -- to the edge of the facing on the inside of the bag. Luckily, this didn't affect the overall aesthetic.

Here's the previous bag without the extra facing.

Unfortunately, the facing had to be hand-sewn into the bag, but it was still faster than creating a new one from scratch.
Here's the modified version with the extra facing

I think these modifications will make the bag more usable. I'm really glad that I took out for a trial run before taking it to a convention.

Previous posts on the TARDIS Messenger Bag: