I set out in this project to design and make a tool for someone in my group. I paired up with Gemma whilst visiting R.E.M.M. I wanted to make a useful, personalised tool for Gemma that would benefit her while working in the workshops on this course. I gathered as much information as I could by assessing her appearance and talking to her about her life and likes, dislikes and interests. I also noted the exhibits she admired or was interested in at the museum.
When considering what kind of tool I could make for her I decided I wanted to make something that could be used in all areas of the course rather than being useful in just one. I particularly liked the chatelaine at R.E.M.M. and this influenced my initial idea of making something to hold tools instead of making a tool. A modern day equivalent of a chatelaine is a toolbelt and that is what I decided to design and make.
In order to evaluate whether I have met the learning outcomes in this brief I need to analyse my final product and the path that led me there.
I feel I have demonstrated my ability to work independently as this is my own design and I researched all materials, designs and techniques myself. I also demonstrated my ability to work in a team as I collaborated with Gemma and others in my group throughout this project.
Does my toolbelt relate to Gemma?
I think it does. The belt reflects ‘biker’ style, black suede, fringing and studs, this is one of the first things Gemma talked about. On seeing the finished belt Gemma said she really liked it so I believe that I have met her needs in creating something aesthetically pleasing to her as well as being practically useful to her needs. I feel I have personalised the belt as I considered her needs when designing the belt, not only in its style but in its usefulness. An example of this is the ticket pocket made to fit her student card. I also made the belt to size. I had to alter the design when the finished product was too large due to an addition I made.
Is the toolbelt a useful tool?
Utility/tool belts are often considered mini toolboxes and are as handy as the tools they carry. I think it is a useful tool and will hold many different types of tools that Gemma may use.
Fabric, structure and design of toolbelt.
Soft and supple fabric making it easy to wear, a heavier fabric could have felt cumbersome.
Strong, needs to be able to hold quite heavy items.
Does not fray, sharp items may puncture fabric and woven fabric would fray.
Able to sew using a sewing machine.
Structure and Design.
Sewn securely with sewing machine.
Wrap around style, easy to put on over clothes.
Made in panels, allows movement, eyelets and laces keep panels together and allows some adjustment to fit over bulkier clothes.
Eyelets on separate pieces, could be replaced if torn without damage to main panels.
Double D belt fastening, able to take on and off quickly but fastens securely, adjustable.
Flat back open pocket, not suitable place for holding tools but could hold rags. Flat so will not catch on things.
Deep open side pocket, made baggy enough to put hand and tool in and out easily. Deep enough to hold large tools without risk of them falling out.
Small second open pocket, useful for dropping small items into when using.
Ticket pocket, made to fit student card.
Small pencil pocket, will hold 2 small pencils.
Hanging loop, useful to slip large items such as hammers into when using. Re-enforced at back to prevent fabric tearing with weight of tool.
Patch pocket with fastening flap, suitable for holding small items like beads or screws without risk of them falling out.
Belt loops, for attaching keying’s etc.
Fringing and studs, changes appearance of utility belt to fashion accessory. Represents Gemma’s personal sense of style and interests.
Things that went wrong.
When I changed the design and put the eyelets into separate sections rather than straight into panels it added width to the overall product. The belt on completion was too big. I then had to re-cut the front sections in order to make it fit Gemma. Luckily, I was able to do this without having to make any adjustments to any of the pockets.
The studs I purchased did not have very long claws at the back and were not suitable to go through multiple thicknesses of fabric so I was unable to embellish the fringed pocket as I wanted to.
I made the belt using a skirt purchased from a charity shop as I wanted to re-cycle rather than buy new fabric. Because the skirt had been worn, the suede was stretched in some areas. During the making up of the product I had to adapt the sewing to take in excess fabric. The waist band could not be cut in one piece and had lots of seams. The added thickness of these seams made it difficult to sew at times.
The machine stitching on suede was difficult at times, especially when stitching multiple thicknesses. The suede ‘gripped’ when being sewed. A less matt fabric would have slipped under the machine foot more easily.
I feel that this project was a good introduction to this course. It pushed boundaries within my craft and thinking.
I am happy with the final outcome of this project and feel it has been successful.