Drawstring Bag and Not a Jackson Pollock

Drawstring Bag and Not a Jackson Pollock

My girlfriend bought me a bike a couple of months ago and a big sturdy lock for it. There’s nowhere to attach the lock to the bike though, so I thought I’d make myself a drawstring bag just big enough for carrying the lock and a few tools. The first bag I made turned out a little too small and a bit thin on the bottom so I’ve put that to the side for now. I used a bigger template for the next one. I started working inside out and laid out some pieces of silk and cotton gauze in shades of black and white for the front. I was just going to use black Merino for the top layer, but compared to the black, the silk looked blueish so I used some dark ‘midnight’ blue Merino as well. This is how the front turned out after felting:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the back I started with a piece of black silk chiffon, I thought it’d help reduce pilling (bobbles) if the bag rubbed on my back while riding. It really sunk in and isn’t really visible unless you look really hard! I used some grey merino with the black for the back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to keep the natural top edges, but it seemed simpler to cut it straight across for adding the webbing I wanted to use as a channel for the cord. I cut the bag at the top at each side, slightly smaller than the width of the webbing I was using, then I sewed the webbing on with the machine, leaving each end open. You can see from this photo that I used some scrim for a lining on the bag.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI blanket stitched along the top edge to make it look nice.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’d originally planned to use eyelets at the bottom for the cord to go through, but after looking online I had a choice of spending a small amount of money for a few eyelets and a little plastic kit, or a large amount of a money for a really sturdy metal looking kit and about 400 eyelets. I’m not planning on making that many bags, so I decided to just cut the holes I needed and blanket stitch around them πŸ™‚

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI attached the cords so that the shoulder straps were also the drawstring closure. I used spring toggles so that I can shorten the straps too in case the bag hangs low while riding.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is what it looks like closed. I must admit, I was surprised how well it turned out!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m just in time for Ruth’s Jackson Pollock studio challenge. I thought of many things to do for this, one idea was to do wool and wire sculptures based on some sculptures Jackson Pollock dabbled with. I thought about ‘action painting’ some silk, but in the end, I thought I’d do something based on some works of his that weren’t action paintings. They had large areas of coloured shapes, this is a good example. I thought I’d ‘modernise’ it a bit though and use brighter colours and silk and gauze pieces. And since I was enjoying making bags, I thought I’d use my idea and make a bag at the same time. The bag turned out great! The design though, was a little bit bright, and really, not in the slightest like a Jackson Pollock painting!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI need to get some nice webbing or braiding for the cord channel, but I’ll show the full bag when it’s finished.

23 thoughts on “Drawstring Bag and Not a Jackson Pollock

    1. Thanks, Leonor πŸ™‚
      I think the holes will be alright, the felt is fairly thick there and the cords don’t tend to rub too much.

  1. Not only practical (oil from bike bits won’t show!) but very attractive and good construction.

    If the holes do need protection, you can get very thin silver washers from a hardware shop (5p each) and blanket stitch them on both sides of the hole (I used them to make a corset style fastening in a silk overjacket when I made a Tudor costume for my grand-daughter – worked a treat to thread the cord through).

    I think your second bag is going to be pretty – it could just be the photos giving a 3D effect, but the silk and gauze pieces look as if they are floating above the felt! Especially the purple and green rectangle in the last photo.

    1. Thanks, Lyn πŸ™‚
      The washers are a good idea, I probably have a collection too! There is a weird floaty effect to the photos now you mention it!

  2. Zed, I think both bags are just too nice for carrying metal stuff in them. They both turned out great, I don’t know which one I like best.

    1. Thanks, Nada πŸ™‚
      I’ve already had those thoughts! I’m really trying to get out of the ‘it’s too nice to use’ mentality though and tell myself it’s just bits of wool! πŸ™‚

  3. Great bag Zed, Very practical for riding a bike. I would call them backpacks but maybe they don’t call them that in the UK. What a smart idea with the washers Lyn.

    1. Thanks, Ann πŸ™‚
      I think some people probably call them backpacks, though they are usually the bigger, sturdier kind of bags.

  4. Very clever idea for making lightweight backpacks, Zed! The colors in your Pollock piece are just stunning and I would probably want to make a wall hanging with the very colorful design.

    1. Thanks, Cathy πŸ™‚
      I was pleased with the Pollock piece, I thought I might find it a bit much, but it turned out alright πŸ™‚

  5. Great Bags and yes they are really nice but USE them – I use my heirloom crystal, china and silver. My mom always wanted her coffee served in a real china cup and her afternoon pick me up (tody) in a crystal goblet – I am so happy that I used them when I served her. And I use the hankies my mother in law tatted around edges. A little wear just shows that you enjoy your creations.

    shadyrr AKA frances

    1. Thanks, Frances πŸ™‚
      Yeah, I will definitely use this bag, and make some spares to save πŸ˜‰

  6. I love the bag and the black is perfect. Lyn’s idea about the washers is a good idea for protecting holes. I’ll have to remember that one. The Jackson Pollock one does remind me of his work and the bright colors are great for spring.

    1. Thanks, Ruth πŸ™‚
      I hope I can find some nice webbing for inside to match the bright colours of the bag (an excuse to go shopping!)

  7. Zed, the darker colors are perfect for the bag since you’ll be using it outdoors. You did a great job with construction. Enjoy using it. And yes, Lyns idea is good in the event the holes start showing wear. I love the Pollack like design. I look forward to seeing the finished project!

  8. Zed this is such a cool design for a bag…I particularly like the black one. I go everywhere with my backpack but its a shop bought ‘sports’ type which is pretty boring. It didn’t occur to me to make my own….until now! Thanks for all your great tips.

    1. Thanks a lot πŸ™‚
      I was thinking of making the next one a little bit wider at the bottom because I tend to lay the wool a bit thicker there so the top doesn’t shrink so much and looks wider. Also, I just found a ‘Tarpaulin Repair kit’, basically eyelets, washers and heavy hardware for it, in a cheap ‘bargain’ shop for Β£2.50, so might try that too.

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