Hey Everyone, this week, I have been working on some concepts that I’ve been wanting to make for a while: origami in functional designs! In this case, I have made a pouch with the balloon-style origami fish.
Recently, I have gotten myself a BOOX Tablet, which I am currently using to transcribe my handwriting directly! Despite my familiarity with tech, I find it hard to focus on a project when I’m limited to typing on a keyboard. Thoughts come in more naturally when I get to write, while typing can add more content to an existing thought. As you can see, I need a variety of ways to continue the momentum to write more content.
Going back to the concept, it feels as if origami was meant to lend well to textiles; you can see the idea in action with the existence of towel animals and furoshiki wrapping techniques. I folded the origami balloon-style fish, and used that as a template to find out where would be best to apply seams or fasteners/zips; I also unfolded it to see which portions would become part of the container for the bag.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this design were made with an actual furoshiki wrap, or printed square tea towel, since the pattern is about modifying a square piece of fabric; for this project, I found some fancy prints, and paired it with solid colours that were sitting in my textile storage. Depending on the weight of the fabric, sometimes one piece can hold itself well; you will see how this influenced by smaller pouch, as I used two different weights together.
While I could have easily brought out my sewing machine to stitch the edges together, I ended up sewing each of the pouches by hand; if you are going to stitch the pieces together by hand, I found that the basic running stitch was better to use than the back-stitch for flipping inside-out. The combination having a thinner outer fabric with thicker inner fabric, along with using the back stitch, made the smaller fish have a wave to its edge; I had to go back with a running stitch to keep it flatter, though it didn’t come out as nicely as the larger fish pouch.
While I was making the smaller fish pouch, I added seams in areas where the folds would usually enclose the interior space; I also added an opening, so that the area could be accessed in a way that didn’t interfere with the design.
As I was going through this process, I found that I had a better time installing the zipper first, before stitching the folds together; again, my larger fish pouch had benefitted from this discovery. Since the concept requires cutting in the middle of the fabric, it was a lot easier to keep the zip flat, along with the edges around it. If you are wondering where the zips came from, they were harvested from some old jeans; these turned out to be the perfect sizes for the squares, which derive from a letter-size sheet (8.5″ x 11″) and a ledger-size sheet (11″ x 17″).
Once most of the sides were stitched into place, I started marking down where I’d like to put plastic snaps on; I used a pen to mark the fabric, poked a hole with an awl tool, and loaded the pliers with the snap pieces to fasten them together. I put the snap piece through the punched hole before loading it onto the pliers, so that it had a better chance of staying secure.
The resulting pouches turned out fairly well; I think the smaller one would work better as a coin pouch, whereas the larger one is more of a small gift bag size. Overall, it has been encouraging to see that they are functional; I am already thinking about how other origami designs could be translated into pouches or bags.