Version 4 of the temari project tote bag was made to improve a couple design details.
The eyelets for thread guides and buttonholes to close the pockets were good design ideas that had problems.
In the first two versions, the eyelets were too small to be easy to pass the thread through. The third version solved this problem by using larger eyelets. And in all three of the previous versions, the eyelets were below the buttonholes. This meant reaching into pocket to get to eyelet hole, making it more difficult to thread the thread through the holes. Although, not much of an issue with the larger eyelets in third version.
Then there were all those buttonholes. They are time consuming to make tricky to have come out looking nice on course fabric that has a loose weave like the linen.
So, the solutions to both problems was to eliminate them: no eyelets and no buttonholes. The eyelet thread guide were replaced with V notch at the top of each pocket. The buttons were kept, as a means of securing the thread, but not for closing the pocket.
The previous version used a heavy weight fabric which made sewing seams challenging, especially when sewing the sides to the bottom. Trying to sew the sides and base together with a heavy weight fabric was a bit of a challenge.
To make construction a little easier, a lighter weight fabric was used in this version. Lighter weight means less bulky seams. The outer fabric in this bag looks like it would be a heavy weight, but it is actually not, so it was easier to sew.
The first two bags had a tendency to slouch since, which made it a little difficult see and access the inside. So the 3rd and 4th versions have a stabilizer to back the sides of the outer bag. With a lighter weight fabric, it was essential to have the stabilizer to give shape to the bag.
Adding stabilizer did not add bulk to the seams since the stabilizer was cut slightly smaller to avoid being added to the seams.
Also, with a stabilizer backing the fabric, pulling the thread down against the V notch does not collapse the bag sides.
Without buttonholes, the buttons now serve only to secure the thread, not to close the pockets. The pockets do not really need to be closed. Besides, having the button closures meant that the depth of the pockets was limited by the placement of the closures.
To make the outer pockets a little more accommodating, the inner bag fabric was made with a stretch sportswear fabric and elastic was used instead of twill tape for reinforcement. The fabric stretches to hold more and it also helps hold things in the pocket. The fabric was a little challenging to work with, but the results were worth the effort.
The inner pockets are made like in the 3rd version, but decided on three large pockets instead of two large and two small like in the 3rd version. The stretch sportswear fabric was used for the inner pockets too. The hems on the top of the inner pockets have elastic inside so that it will stretch and then return to its original shape.
Another change that was made was size. The first two bags have a hexagon with 3 1/2′ sides and the third has 4 1/2″ sides. The smaller size was just a tad too small and the overall size of the third bag was to big for most of my temari projects. The obvious solution was to compromise and try a 4″ sided hexagon base. It has turned out to be a nice size.
In summary, the “improvements” are:
1. no buttonholes- means less bag construction time,
2. no eyelets- means don’t have to buy or install them and no fussing with threading thread through hole,
3. V notch replaces eyelets- easy to make,
4. stretch fabric for inner bag- helps hold thread in pockets so don’t need to have button pocket closure and stretches to accommodate larger balls of thread,
5. hexagon base with 4″ sides- this is just a different size option from previous 3 1/2″ sides, not necessarily an improvement,
6. lighter weight outer fabric- less bulk to sew in seams,
7. stabilizer in outer bag- gives bag shape so does not slouch (also in version #3), and
8. inner pockets- the addition of inner pockets means somewhere to put tools and supplies such as scissors, paper strips, needle book, thimble, graph paper, hand warmer, etc. (also in version #3),
Another change in this bag is the type of handle. It is not necessarily an improvement, just different. Paracord was used to make a 6 strand flat braid handle and to make the drawstrings.
Unfortunately, the coordinating temari pincushion was finished before I realized that the lobster claw intended to attach it to the bag was too small for the D-rings already sewn on the handle. So, a split ring was added to connect the two.
I have been using this tote bag version for a while now and really like its features. It was worth the time to make another version to address different design details.
The temari that is seen in the pictures is the current one in progress with the thread that is being used to stitch the pattern. The finished temari will be in an upcoming post, so come back soon.