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Archive for July, 2012

In the last few months, my small messenger bags have started selling really well. I started approaching them much like I do my patches, with embroidery and designs that pick up on geeky pop culture references, and suddenly, they got noticed! Bags embroidered with Loki’s Army, the Doctor’s Name, and Winter is Coming have been especially popular, both in Etsy sales and at the last two shows I’ve done, and it’s really been fantastic.

That said, though, there is one piece of consistent feedback I’ve gotten on them at shows — “I love it. But I wish it was bigger.”

The first Storied Threads laptop bag.

So, I started thinking about doing a larger version. I didn’t have time, at the beginning to put this plan into motion, so the idea sort of sat in the back of my brain for a while.  At first, it was simply to enlarge the bag I already had — make it basically the same, but…well, bigger.  But the longer the idea sat back there, the more it formulated into something much more ambitious. And thus was born the Storied Threads Laptop Bag!

I had a boring, black laptop bag that I got at Best Buy. And I kept meaning to personalize it with awesome patches, but I just never got around to it. So when I started thinking about making a larger messenger bag, I thought — why not go all out, and just design a laptop bag that’s pretty geeky to begin with?

I decided to do the prototype with my new Hiddleston’s Army embroidery design, in part because it’s a piece that’s simply too large to fit on one of the smaller bags. I designed it a while ago, with larger bags in mind, and hadn’t even had a chance to run it yet, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Interior of the laptop bag

The next question was — what should the inside of the bag be like?  I knew it needed padding, if it was going to house electronics, so added a lining of quilted cotton inside.  It’s deeper than my other bags, too, and I didn’t want my laptop to sort of bounce around inside — so I added a wide elastic band across the back, to hold it in place.  I also added a pocket on the front, for smaller things that would be easily lost in the cavernous main compartment. Which, as you can see from this picture, is pretty huge. I’ve got my laptop in there, plus two hard cover books, with room to spare!

Once the bag was all done, I happily flung it over my shoulder — and realized that the strap (which was the same length as on my smaller bags) was comically too long. I had failed to take into account the fact that the bag itself was so much larger that it would affect how it hang!  As a result, the bottom of the bag was actually hitting just below my knees.  In the end, though, this turned into a good mistake — it made me assess the strap as a whole, and realize that a really good thing would be an adjustable length shoulder strap.  I decided to use a sliding belt buckle style which — once I got NEW buckles instead of the VINTAGE buckles that were already living in my studio — worked like a charm! Easy to adjust, and crazy strong, easily supporting the weight of everything in the bag as I walked around the house and jogged up and down staircases.

Overall, I’m really pleased with how this bag came out.  Eventually, I’ll be making versions of all (or at least, nearly all) of my small bags in this style, but that will take a while. In the meantime — dying for a Loki’s Army laptop bag? Or one with the Doctor’s name embroidered on it? Please feel free to contact me — I’ll be more than happy to make one for you!

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Idris, meet Kaylee.

Back at the beginning of the year, Mike and I sat down with my fiscal records and did a lot of math and some speculating, and we decided that if I got the fancy new embroidery machine I was longing for, I should be able to pay it off within a year.  This seemed like a super reasonable amount of time, and so in January, I got Idris.  I kept my old machine, under the theory that that way I could run two machines at once, and get twice as much done. But, as it turned out, it didn’t really work like that. Idris was so much faster, so much better, than the old machine (who was then dubbed Elba), that I used Elba less and less. And at the same time, my business kept increasing — more patches and bags were sold in the first few months this year than we had predicted, based on last year’s figures. And I was having trouble keeping up with production.

So, within the last few weeks, two things have happened. The first is that I paid off Idris — six months earlier than predicted.

And then I went to Able Sewing, and ordered a second MB-4 embroidery machine.

Idris in the foreground, Kaylee in the background.

Her name is Kaylee. ‘Cuz she’s so shiny.

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