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Topic: need advice on sizing/drafting a tote insert...  (Read 1301 times)
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« on: June 27, 2010 10:32:20 PM »

Hello all!

Quick setup: my friends and I go to a lot of Jpop concerts. They're kind of unique in that every show, there's a bunch of certain "props" that everyone brings with them - penlights, fans, etc etc. I got the idea last night to make some kind of insert/organizer type thing that would keep us from losing track of our stuff mid-show (happens a LOT during MC parts), and now I have a bunch of VERY excited friends on my case  Undecided

Now, I looked at some of the purse organizer tutes, and they seem to mostly be long, coil-up deals with pockets the same depth all around. Unfortunately that won't quite work for this.  So here's my 2 issues I'm mulling over.

Basically, everyone uses the same standard totes for these shows. I measured one of mine on the seams, they're about 30cm wide, 33 high, 12cm wide bottom. This is what I'm making the insert to go into.  Thing is, some of the things that go in here are exactly 30cm wide. WIth just the tote, of course it fits, because canvas bags are floppy and all, but if I'm making something that will have to have a bit more sturdiness to it, how do I account for this when I'm sizing it? Should I just make it a 33x30x12 "box," or should it be smaller/larger?

Second, my visualization of what I want is probably kinda...complicated. Here's  a quick, crappy MS Paint:

The 2 wide/narrow compartments would need to be kind of stiff/sturdy, to keep pressure off the fans. If they get squished (especially in the summer), bad things can happen. Here's an example I made last year:

Dorky right  Grin Anyway I'm trying to figure out the best way to mock this up, I have a few thoughts:

1 - make separate "boxes" for all of the compartments with slightly high outer edges, put them into another outer "bag" and topstitch it all around to kinda hold it all in

2 - do some sort of variation of the 'coil' deal people use for purse inserts

Does either sound more feasible, or is there a better way I'm just not thinking of? Or is this whole post too confusing to follow?  Undecided Any thoughts would be much appreciated! ♥
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2010 08:49:50 AM »

Sorry - I'm confused. Is your diagram a top view of inside of the bag? It could ideally work if that's what it is. I custom made a bag for a friend where she wanted special pockets (including a velcro strap for her umbrella). You just need to portion out each section & do accurate measurements. Having higher sides will keep each content inside. If the insert is to be permanent, you'd sew it to the lining, then sew the lining into the bag. I don't think I've addressed your issues, but I think I know what you're trying to do.

« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2010 12:05:45 PM »

Hi, thanks for replying! Sorry for not being clear - yeah that's a top down view.

I want it to be removable, so you can just switch it out into another tote the same size. My main concerns, again, are figuring out how big to make the actual insert, and how to piece it together so I can actually sew it together on my machine. I'm still not that experienced at drafting my own patterns, so those dividers are pretty tricky for me to work out.  Undecided
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2010 07:41:19 PM »

Okay so the bags you're going to put the inserts in ... are they consistently 12 cm wide?  Are you measuring on the outside or on the inside?  If on the inside ...

I'd do a little 'box' with those dividers.  If you didn't need every last centimeter of the 30 centimeters for the fan and pamphlets, I'd make everything an inch smaller than your original measurements (so cut the fabric to the exact measurements you have and use a half inch seam allowance ... or quarter in if you want to have just a half inch of extra room).  I think that'd let you get it in and out more easily.  Since you do ... well, I don't know if there is a way.  If the pamphlets are 30 cm and they just fit into the bag, then putting something else into the bag has to be smaller, or else it won't fit into it.  Could you leave the ends off those parts? 

Or - here's an idea - make a box for the smaller stuff (the pocket type things and the drink holder) and then have two flat inserts that are just basically walls that separate the fans from the box?  I'd definitely use stiff interfacing so those walls can stand up on their own.

Not sure if I've made sense or if I've helped, sorry!  Good luck!
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010 09:26:45 AM »

It sounds like you need it to be the full 30cm wide, just to make sure your flat crushables aren't crushed or bent. I've done somethign liek this for a purse inset because I carry flat curshables as well.

Here's how I would start:
find something like cardboard - half of an old binder might be good, that's 30cm x 33cm (or a little less on the height). This will form the center of your divider.

make the pockets in two sections.  One will be your large flat pocket, the other one is the divided pockets for smaller stuff.  when you sew them, leave seam allowances sticking out where the two will be joined and finish off everything else nicely. 

Then make a sandwich with the cardboard in the middle.  You might need to trim it a tiny bit so it fits nicely without overlapping the seam allowances.  Now sew around the seam allowances, trapping the cardboard inside.  When I did this I didn't sew the bottom shut because I wanted to be able to slide the cardboard out and replace it if it got bent up.  Now finish off the ragged edges with bias tape or something.

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