So I’m about to make a small bag and since this makes a great teaching moment, I’m going to try to explain all the steps as I go along.
I’ve got a specific size in mind so I’m going to use “How to measure for a bag”
And with that information, I’ll see what the string count is and that’s how I’ll choose my pattern. Now, this is because I really want to keep the size, but if that wasn’t necessary you could start with the pattern you wanted to use. When you choose your pattern, I’d recommend you choose the one you’re comfortable with. Basically, I’m saying that if you choose a pattern that you have to keep looking to your printed copy, it’s going to take way longer and make it less likely that you will finish it. Save that complex idea for after you have managed to really have a grasp on how this works.
Now at this point, I am working out the details in my head, but you will have the advantage because when I get to posting this, you can see photos.
As I start I am thinking of this as three pieces that all come together to become one seamless piece. The three pieces are the front, back, and the sides that also form the strap. Each will need to have considerations as to the lengths of string. The back forms the flap that comes over the top and with that needs to be longer than what will form the front. The sides with strap need to quite a bit longer as it’s got a huge kumihimo braid.
Now, this first piece I’ve designed (in my head. Don’t try this on your first go I’d say) is to start like a fat bracelet with a loop that I can use with a button to keep the bag closed. I’m going with a group of colors that will contrast each other and help the complicated pattern (also only in my head) to really shine. It started with a really big kumi that would become the loop for the button. To fit cards like a drivers license and bus pass, I’m going with a three bracelets-wide design. With that I wanted it to look more Bohemian as if it were many bracelets sewn together. Later in the photos, you can see this is not the case.
Here you can see me working on the color sequence. I had an idea before I started and here you can see how I’m shifting the strings into a workable method.
This might look silly, but it was how I worked out how I was going to spread the strings for the two outer designs. This way they would fall into the chevrons as I had intended. This also answers why I don’t have patterns to share. I work out some of my thoughts on a dry erase board. I suggest you get one! They are totally remarkable!!
See how the image from the dry erase board has become a reality?
Joined and progress made. Of course, by now I’ve checked again that the width was going to work, but since I had used the math prior to cutting a string, it was of course perfect.
This was just about as far as I could go before joining the sides.
The sides. A long kumihimo set one bracelet width and long enough to easily fit over the neck. That bit knotted on the end is as far as it can go before being joined to the back.
Dry erase board again. I added this to show that despite all that I can sort out in my head, I’m still human and this was how I worked out the sequence to the strings as well as how they turned out. They are as far as they can go before being joined.
Here I’ve joined the previous ones with the grayscale bit. I added this little v shape because of having the cards inside, I wanted to make it easy to get ’em out. Details like this have to be worked out at least in your head long before you start knotting in that area. There’s no going back to add it later that’s going to hold up as well or look so clean.
Back and sides joined. As an added visual bonus I have the sides working in a mirrored effect. Not necessary, just because I thought it might be cool.
Adding the front I made the executive decision to have it a bit lower again to make it easier to get cards out. Again it’s really about planning ahead.
At this point, I can join the two sides and have a tube, but I did not.
I’m continuing the knots downward while this is all laying flat on my clipboard.
This was about as far as I went before joining. Once joined, progress is a bit slower as you have to shift the thing around to work on the next bit.
This is how I hold the work to the board once I’m going to join the pieces. It’s some cardboard from a box of cereal I had just finished.
The cardboard is clipped to the clipboard and two smaller clips are holding the knotted work ready to be joined. You want these to be really close to make it so no one can see where it joins up.
Once joined you can really see it taking shape. All that’s left is getting it to length.
Paranoid, I kept measuring just to make sure I got the length right. Once I had it in one spot it was easy to get the rest to the same length. This wasn’t a problem when I was making handbags and could choose the length based on what I thought looked nice.
All finished and it holds the cards just as intended!
It’s important to note that all that went into this little bag is really not so different from a bigger bag.