Monday, August 30, 2010

Musings About Closures

Making bags involves almost always involves a certain issue: closures. Personally, I really don't like bags which do not have any kind of closure. I might be a little paranoid but to feel secure I need something to close my bag (no matter how big or small the bag is).

I believe the most effective closure against pickpockets is a zipper. Many of the bags and purses I bought to far have zippers. I like them for being secure but I really hate to fiddle around with them. Usually my bags are indecently stuffed and the zipper gets stuck. I still hesitate a little to include zippers into my bags when I make them. Apparently it is not really about the confidence to sew them in, it's rather that I don't like the look of the zipper on my bags.
Therefore I usually use magnetic snaps. They are strong and easy to open and close. They are hardly visible inside of the bag and completely invisible for the outside. Magnetic snaps are easier to use than "normal" snaps. They are especially great if the bag does not need to be pickpocket proof. The magnetism of the snaps can be seen critical though. A couple of weeks I had a custom order of one the Happy Bags and customer had great doubts about the magnetic snaps as she feared it might affect her debit cards. So far I didn't have any issues with any of my debits cards, neither has anyone of my customer reported me any problems. As long as the debit cards are not wiped over the magnetic snap without protection there shouldn't be a problem. It got me thinking though. The solution in this particular case was to add a flap and attach the magnetic snap to the outside of the bag.

During the weekend I experienced with a new kind of closure. It took me three attempts to be kind of happy with it. The overall idea is to use ribbon and "holes" as a closure. What I really like about this idea is that it is not just a closure but also a very decorative element. Instead of inserting a zipper to my Sweetheart Clutch Bags I added three holes and ribbon to the top of it. I tried to sew in the holes with a technique I use for the handle of the happy bag. Huge failure! Seriously, HUGE. The handle is square and difficult to sew. The holes were meant to be circles and impossible to sew. I didn't take a photo of the result as it did not look neat at all. From the beginning on I thought that grommets would be great for the holes. It seemed to be impossible to find large grommets though. Late at night and shortly before I was about to go to sleep I came across a home decor website. Jeez, it was too easy! Grommets for curtains are perfect. No special tools, no metal to corrode. Just cutting a hole and clipping in the grommets! Of course my first trip on the next morning was to a local fabric store. I bought 12 of them (and apparently paid a rip-off price). I prepared a Sweetheart Clutch and in the end cut holes into it and inserted the grommets. 

So far, so good (or not). I like the look of the grommets but I don't like the shape of the bag. It doesn't look neat enough. I figured out that it should have pleats. A different shape overall. So unclipped the grommets to reuse them on another prototype (no need to waste six grommets!). I made another model of the same pattern, but with pleats and a stripe of fabric on top of it. The stripe turned out pretty difficult (at least the way I did it, I'm sure there is an easier way). Because of the pleats the top of the bag is smaller and I only needed two grommets on each side.

Yes, yes it's as neatly and nicely done as I want it to be. I hope I'll find some time again soon to improve it. This is one of the prototypes I'm keeping for myself to test wear it. 
As a new kind of closure this technique will be used my me more often. It would look so cute on Happy Bags, wouldn't it? 

Is there any kind of closures you prefer? Zippers or magnetic snaps? Or something completely different? 

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