40. Problem Solving Through Prototyping


I have no more cardboard so I'm going straight into using old fabric that I had in my sewing bag. I made some seat covers for my old campervan using this... i bought it because it has a square pattern on it, making it impossible to cut in a crooked line. It has been ideal for me to cut with ease to adjust the sizing. I kept adjusting the sizing till I found what felt right for me. The waist straps were moved from the edges of the vest, to the middle of the back, so the weight goes on the waist.


As soon as I began to realise that I'm probably gonna need a lot of straps, I went ahead and ordered them along with buckles and velcro on Amazon. It made the prototyping experience much easier.

I'd describe myself as a M/L female, and a M male size. As I have no one to model it, i need to make it to fit myself. I realised that the vest would need padding, to give it a bit of rigidity, and to be more comfortable for the wearer. I used incontinence pads to stand in for the padding that I do not currently have, but will order. I also used them instead of fabric in some situations, as I dont have much of that either.



I got in touch with a friend of mine, who is also a seamstress. I asked her the best way to make the bags, as a novice sewer. We discussed the MVP that I mentioned earlier. She suggests that I make it as easy to manufacture as possible, at least to begin with. She made the suggestion of the basic bucket bag, which appear to be in fashion anyway! They are so easy to make. I literally used 20 beers as a template for the bag on the back. This is its intended purpose.



I used similar to this sewing pattern for the bag, but intend a roll top like the grey one.







By making it taller instead of bulkier, it gives the bag more capacity, but keeps the weight closer to the body and centre of gravity, making it easier to carry.




Here's the back bag prototype. I was hoping to make these from strong, high denier rip stop polyester (my fabric research wasn't a waste after all), but I cant source any that doesn't have a 2 week processing time. I also don't have the best sewing machine, so I fear that it wouldn't really work anyway. I will see what fabric I will able to get on order. I couldn't get any nylon or polyester quickly enough, so I bought 6 polyester shower curtains. I needed this fabric to test the pouch, as I didn't have enough of any other fabric, and it behaves in a different way, I needed to test it in the flesh.


Here's exihbit A. 2m X 2m, perfect size. I knew that sewing this would be difficult, but my word.


Any plans I had to make the whole thing outta this has gone out the window. I 'quickly' sewed a toggle string to the outside of my now circle. I then pinned it between the bag and the vest. I dont know if it's clear from my drawing that I want the stuff bag to encompass the 'alcohol' bag when in use, and for it to be hidden when not in use. Still haven't figured that out yet...


Here's ma vest. It's going to need more straps...



I was happy with my sizing on these things, so I began to make some form of sewing pattern.




I think it was this point that I realised the enormity of this task. After speaking to my friend, and discussing how she is out of work at the moment, I decided to recruit her as my Zoom sewing tutor. Im in the fortunate position that I'm being paid while millions aren't, so I'm able to spend a bit more than usual.


This is the lovely Julija whom I met at college 9 years ago. We're discussing my options and she's going to help me through my final model, because she's a hero. My hero.



Side note/life hack: notice the timer there, it's a half-hour sand timer. To help me concentrate, I stick that on and commit to 30 mins hard work, then a 5 - 10 min break, or I will go so something work related for 15 mins. I've found this has helped me with motivation and concentration, as I've been seriously lacking in both.