I kept seeing this bag design on Pinterest, and I finally tracked it back to someone who published a free pattern, Ikat Bags. It’s a pretty elegant bit of design, really — The bag naturally forms a cup that, when unzipped, forms a natural frame for holding a number of Sharpie pens, or really pens and pencils of any size.
It’s often compared with the Tool Roll, as a favorable alternative. Why? you might ask: and the answer is simple: where a tool roll sometimes lets pens or pencils fall out, or wind up on the floor, or takes up a lot of space on a desk… this pouch forms a natural cup, which means that nothing falls out, it takes up minimal space because it’s storing everything vertically, and it holds all the pens, pencils, markers, Sharpies, and so on, in the same orientation — all aligned with one another. More than that, since the bag opens all the way to the top, you never have to struggle to put anything in, or take anything out.
I attempted to follow the directions for the design today, and I produced a “backwards prototype” — I managed, in a single iteration, to perform most of the most-likely-to-result-in-failure mistakes that could possibly produce such a design:
- I sewed the lining inside-out, so that the shell fabric’s back faces the viewer/holder;
- I mis-sewed a zipper in place, so the zipper doesn’t fully lock at the bottom of the zip.
- I mismatched the thread.
- I added a seam allowance to one piece, but didn’t add it to two other pieces, so the pieces don’t quite fit together.
- I needed to put in a piece of plastic or heavier stock to create rigidity, and as a result there’s no rigidity to keep the cup upright.
- I mis-matched polyester thread for the top thread with cotton thread for the bottom stitch.
- I didn’t put a piece of plastic (probably a cut out from the wall of a milk jug) in the base or in the walls of the cup.
- I mis-assembled the lining and zipper, so the lining and padding of the cup wound up on the outside rather than the inside where they belong.
- I didn’t add enough quilt-stitching to act as replacement boning.
- none of the seams are “clean enough” for a finished product.
- I put in the bottom and side wall (front of the cup) so the pocket faces into the bag rather than out… making it relatively useless.
- I mis-stitched a few edge seams with the bias tape, so frayed edges poke out where they shouldn’t.
Still. Just making the thing, I think I’ve identified and learned from most of the mistakes that could be made. And it still works as a bag. All the things that could go wrong, have gone wrong, did go wrong, and it still works.
Proof. Of. Concept. Now, Ikat Bag’s blog has specifically asked that readers not produce bags commercially from this pattern. Which I get. And I don’t think I will. At the same time, I think that these make useful favors and gifts for people in my circle, and in time they can be used as advertising, in a sense, for the other kinds of work that I will do for people.