My very first bags from reclaimed sweaters – the bolsas.
The Design Challenge:
Replace the department store paper bags I was using to cart things around. This new bag, MY bag, had be lightweight to begin, yet sturdy enough to hold all my stuff, and to last a long time!
Aesthetic requirements: timeless architectural lines, and very functional.
My original tagline read: “Each bolsa is a functional work of art; one of a kind, thoughtfully designed.”
Deciding to use some of the sweaters I’d collected from the thrift stores presented the challenge-within-the-challenge: how to take a soft, fluid textile and transform it into a sturdy textile that could withstand the daily use of a tote bag?
Sampling, sampling and more sampling revealed the perfect density and layers of stabilizers to transform the knit textile functionality to that of a densely woven fabric.
It’s the little things that matter:
* metal feet to protect the “leather” bottom
* stabilizer to help the bag stand tall on its own
* stand-up handles so one didn’t have to fumble to pick up and go
* an inside gusset pocket and a large zip pocket to keep all the little things together
* a removable interior key fob
* a smooth and sexy deadstock microsuede lining
The original bags had reclaimed leather garments as side gussets, bottoms and handles. When I reached out to PETA for endorsement, they required no animal products at all. I switched to deadstock automobile pvc, and was listed in their catalogue!
I made over a hundred of these bolsas. The first 50 were made on my little Riccar sewing machine from the 70’s. My machine repairman suggested it was time to move to an industrial machine. I visited a factory to see how they would manufacture my bags. I met with a department store for advice on marketing one-of-a-kind products. And I never looked back.
My product offering has grown, but I’m still “Transforming reclaimed textiles into limited edition collections of sustainable eco fashion: One at a time. One of a kind.”