Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Magical Quest for the Perfect Bag

The rain was falling and the sky was dark on a cold January morning in Victoria. In the Smoking Lily studio, however it, was HOT, hot with desire for the ultimate purse. Earlier in the week we had received a note via messenger pigeon from a certain Julie, asking for a bag that she could not find, a bag that did not exist, a bag she could only dream of. All morning Nicole sat at her sewing machine, fabric, ruler, and zippers in hand. She was feverishly pondering the structure and dimensions that Julie had asked for:
1. Size--large enough to fit a normal girl's lunch (who uses tupperware not plastic wrap) and maybe a book and craft project and water bottle perhaps? Just needs to be large.

2. Zipper closure--so that when it tips over in the car during a sudden stop not everything spills out

3. Secure External pockets (2)--one to slip in keys and one for a wallet so that you always know where they are and you don't have to rummage around inside the purse to fish them out. Secure--like with a zipper or snap button so there's no chance of you losing keys or wallet, but not with velcro (which can wear out)--yes.... I've thought about this for a ridiculously long time

4. Strap length--must allow the option of wearing messenger style

5. A few internal compartments--I'm flexible here--my purse usually ends up in a chaotic mess no matter how many internal compartments there are

6. Leather would be nice, but fabric is fine too.

7. Here's the difficult part--a fun, slouchy shape! I was in school for a ridiculously long period of time, and although I do love the messenger bag, that's all I carried while in school, and now that I'm working, I would love something a little...well... less messenger-like. But...if messenger is the only way to make this bag, so be it.

If there is anything to add to Julie's list please let us know so we can complete our epic journey towards the perfect bag.


Jacqueline said...

Definitely a lining that can handle being spot-cleaned - there's nothing worse than a blush/lipstick/chocolate spot that you can't get out of the lining of your favourite bag!

sarah h said...

Ah, the eternal quest for the perfect bag. I've got several not-quite-right bags that I've acquired in my search. Personally, I'd like to be able to fit my laptop if needed (so be at least as wide as a laptop).

In terms of a shape that isn't messenger style, I recommend something that is bigger at the bottom than the top, so maybe it has gathers along the top in order to give it more space inside. I've tried this a few times myself, but have only made smaller versions. I had success with one shaped kind of like a clamshell, with a wide roundy bottom and a gathered top.


Smoking Lily said...

It has to be light weight!

Erin said...

Great post, Jo-Anne! I love the photo of Nicole, feverishly at work. I seriously can't wait to see what you guys come up with! And how awesome that this all came from a (very detailed!) customer request?!

Anonymous said...

oooh, can it be vinyl or leather or some other rain proof material? a must for the pacific north west.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for the perfect bag for years now. My requirements are pretty similar except perhaps the size. My rule of thumb has always been that it must fit a carton of eggs, a small book and a cardigan because anything smaller isn't an everyday bag but more is too big.

Also, a bag that fits in equally at a business meeting or on a hike would be great!

Chris said...

Sounds amazing! I already want one. Things I'd add: A skinny pocket for a couple pens, that's the think I can never find when rummaging around in my bag; and, a adjustable length strap. Although, I prefer messenger length, the shoulder option is nice too.

Fabric that stands up to Northwest weather (Seattle in my case) is also a must.

Anonymous said...

eeeeepps! That's me your talking about! blush...

I appreciate the sweat-on-brow effort Nicole. Go forth on your magical quest, I'm cheering for you all the way!

By the way, this is just an idea in case you need anymore inspiration. My friend showed me her bag the other day--it had cleverly hidden panels that folded up to expand the bag--it also had a button that allowed her to travel backwards in time--just kidding! About the time travel not the expanding panels.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, you designers have your work cut out for you, meeting all of our needs!

Another thought- what about an external pocket to cram a wet umbrella into, say when you're standing on the bus and don't want to drip on everyone, but also don't want to soak everything in your perfect bag?

Smoking Lily said...

I've been test running the prototype for the last two days. This is what I have in it. Lunch (one tupperware, a yogurt, orange and banana) two pairs of glasses plus a pair of sunglasses all in hard cases, Jack wallet my compact, an umbrella, a nikon coolpix, business card folder, keys, phone itouch and adapter, a wool skirt and lipgloss, a pen and two bills. It is raining right now and I am going to do water proof testing on my way home.

Anonymous said...

Dear Smoking Lily,

You have done it! You have made my perfect bag! I can almost here the musical dings as I mentally check off my requirements. When I saw photos of the Ivanhoe Bag just the other day, I was in love. Especially when I saw the bags with the external "mono-pocket" as it looks like this pocket would perfectly fit my Good Wallet and a set of keys. Sigh... I have Renee on watch for a bag printed with a ship but she says she can make no promises so... Smoking Lily.. I beg, I implore you to please, pretty please..with a cherry on top make an Ivanhoe Bag with mono-pocket and printed with a ship for me!