Friday, May 8, 2015

Designing and Jigsaw Puzzles

When you start constructing anything, whether it be a garment or a Murphy bed, it all starts out the same way. Part A and part B go together and part C and part D go together. Then part AB goes with part CD. Wallah! You have the basics started. However, have you ever thought about how to put a idea from your mind onto a piece of paper? Well, it's quite like a jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces have to fit together in a certain order. Sometimes you have to go back to the drawing board. Many times it's a step or two forward and then a step back.

The Murphy bed I constructed

A fine example of this is a wallet that I'm currently working on. I had some brown vinyl and started making little coin purses. This got me thinking about how my daughter keeps telling me that I need to have some purses that have shop card holders in them. She tends to like purses and wallets with plenty of pockets and neat places to store her valuables. Another thing both of my daughters and my granddaughters keep telling me is that I need to jazz up my items with a little bling and maybe some studs. My goal eventually is to make things from leather so I thought that working on vinyl would be a good beginning for a prototype wallet. 

Recently, I've been making some multifunctional zipper pouches.  So I used that as the basis for my length and width of the wallet. I wanted to have a fold over flap in a envelope style with a snap and a center pocket with a zipper.  I have seen plenty of these styles before, but getting the center zipper pocket sewn in place was intriguing. I had done it a couple of times before, but it had been awhile. In addition, I did it differently each time due to the purse design. I wanted to come up with a design that was simple and easy. One thing I also did a while back was to purchase a little wallet with a middle insert so I could study it. 

So to start my design, I had to draw and measure the jigsaw pattern pieces for my puzzle. I began with the outside fabric, knowing that the inside lining and interfacing would be the same. My design pattern measured 11" X 6". I allowed 1/2" seam lines for my entire design. My flap had a 35 degree angle that began about 9.25" up from the bottom. The inside zipper pocket was going to be made from the same outside fabric. That pattern piece measures 7" X 7" and the the piece that attached it to the wallet was 8" X 6". I had to figure out how to construct the shop card holders. First, I measured a shop card, since they all are a standard size. Second, I added the half inch seam allowance plus 1/4" for attaching it to the wallet lining. Third, I decided how many shop card inserts I wanted and measure the rise between each shop card. Finally, I had to add up all the figures, double it and allow for some top stitching between each shop card insert. Even with the best measurements and allowing for all of the necessary details before cutting the fabric, the jigsaw piece doesn't quite fit into the puzzle, which means you have to go back to the drawing board.

So just like a jigsaw puzzle, I was putting this wallet together. I was pretty proud of my design and how it was coming together--so I thought. I had made the zipper pocket for the mid section. I was satisfied with the results and ready to insert the shop card piece.
It was then when I realized that it wasn't working quite right. The shop card inserts I had sewn into place were too long. I had begun with 4 inserts, so I decided to shorten it. It still wasn't working. The wallet dimensions were too small for placing the shop cards top down. However, I did notice that if I put the shop cards in from left to right, it would work.  If I changed my design a little I could still use the outside fabric piece for a later wallet design. I decided to do that, but that meant I would have to redesign the original wallet to fit the shop cards in the way I wanted them to appear and to include my original zipper pocket.  It was a setback, but designing is like a jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces have to come together in a certain way so back to the drawing board I went. This time I made the wallet larger not only in length, but in width as well so I could fit USD paper currency inside the wallet without having to fold it.
This time I cut a 15" X 7" piece of vinyl fabric with a flap that had a 40 degree angle. Later I did cut off a couple of inches in the length. After ironing on the heavy craft interfacing, I drew lines on the interfacing for seam lines and snap placement. The wallet was ready for the middle section, but how to attach it was another piece of the puzzle. My problem was how to attach the ends without any rough edges showing. So  I did some research. I looked at the wallet I purchased. It had 2 mid sections. I then looked at the couple of purses I did with mid sections. My crochet purse had the solution. It was simple. I just had to fold in the edges. Now why didn't I see that before??

My Wallet Design--A work in progress

Next, I basted the lining to the outside fabric. As stated earlier I decided to cut of a couple inches because it was more like the size of a clutch purse than a wallet. I pinned the mid section to the wallet and discovered that I had to adjust and cut it a little to make it work. Now it's all ready to be stitched together and add the final touches.  

Designing something is like a jigsaw puzzle because you can envision in your mind how something should look. It's like looking at the whole picture on the outside of the puzzle box. Inside is all the different puzzle pieces. Individually, you can't really tell where the piece goes until you find other pieces that fit with it.  Eventually your design idea comes together piece by piece and you get to see your imagination come to life in a physical form. 

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