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Category Archives: Design

Here’s a sneak peek at the latest bag design.  It’s a small shoulder/crossbody bag with an awesomely cool magnetic buckle (it slides sideways to open). The prototype is unlined with an exterior zippered pocket.  I’m thinking of adding a partial lining and additional zippered pocket in the lining.

I’m working on a new backpack design. I finished up the prototype a few days ago.  I have a few changes to make and hope to have one or two with me at next weekend’s SF Etsy Indie Holiday Emporium at Pier 35.  They should make it into the shop by early to mid-December.

The backpack is sleek and simple with a lined zipper pocket on the outside front.  The flap closure is secured by two side release buckles.  The main compartment is unlined. The bag is big enough for a 13″ laptop.

Here’s a sneak peek:

FullSizeRender (39)

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I’ve been working on a new batch of bags just in time for Renegade Craft Fair at Fort Mason Center on July 18 & 19.

Sporty vegan bag in black and blue

Sporty vegan bag in black and blue

Here’s the low down:

The bags are made of nylon pack cloth, so they are lightweight, water resistant and sturdy.  The interior and pocket linings feature a recycled nylon fabric made entirely from post-consumer materials.

Interior zipper pocket

Interior zipper pocket

There are two zippered pockets – one on the flap for easy access without having to open the bag and one interior lining pocket.  The adjustable strap can be worn crossbody or over one shoulder.

Magnetic snap closure

Magnetic snap closure

The flap closes with a magnetic snap.  Flap fronts come in solids and stripes.  As an added bonus, the small pieces that make up the stripes give me a way to use scrap pieces of fabric left over from other projects.

Flap fronts in progress

Flap fronts in progress

There are two sizes.  The small version is approximately 7″ X 10″ X 1.5″.  The standard version version is approximately 9″ X 12″ X 3″.

Come see them (and me!) in person July 18 & 19 at the Renegade Craft Fair.  The .retool. booth will be in the Herbst Pavilion.

Last week I wrote about the bag I made as a holiday gift for my friend, Pam.  This week I’m back with details on the bag I made for Pam’s husband, Glenn.

Glenn wanted a messenger bag around 12″ x 12″ x 4″ with two 5-6″ interior slip pockets and one exterior zippered pocket.

 

The body of the bag is made of 1000D Cordura® nylon.  The print used for the flap is cotton.  It reminds me of brushstrokes, which is especially cool since Glenn is a painter. DSC_0003
The flap pocket is lined with nylon made from recycled plastic bottles.  DSC_0005
As requested, the inside has two slip pockets to help keep things organized.  DSC_0006
 The flap closes with a side release buckle.  DSC_0004

I was pleased with how the bag turned out. I decided to make a few tweaks to the design and add it to the shop. More on that later!

Late last year I was making a lot of wallets in preparation for a couple of holiday shows as well as stocking the online shop and local shops that carry .retool. products.  I decided I needed a break, so I got in touch with my friend Pam and offered to make her and her husband Glenn each a bag as a gift.

I suggested a new design I was testing out, but she threw me a curve.  For her bag, she countered with a list of features that bore little resemblance to my initial offer. This gave me the opportunity to try something different that I would not have come up with on my own.  It also sparked some ideas for some new designs, so it was well worth it!

Pam wanted something similar to this toiletry case I made for her a couple of years ago. She loved the size, but wanted some more depth, instead of a flat pouch. She wanted a black print, a 1 inch strap, and an interior pocket. So, basically she wanted something more purse-like. boris-pouch

 

Here’s what I came up with:

Pam’s a cat person, so I decided on this adorable CoCoLand print from Kokka.  I moved the zipper to the top of the bag.  The bag is about 1 and half inches deep. pam's-bag-front
Back view.  The 1 inch wide strap is adjustable and clips on to the bag. pam's bag-back
The grey lining is made from recycled plastic bottles.  My favorite part is the lining of the interior pocket. Pam's-bag-interior

I’ll write more about Glenn’s bag next time.

As design geeks and art lovers Jacob and I value clean lines and simple but well-made items. This carries over into our aesthetic tastes for the items we produce for .retool. and also into our personal tastes for vegan items.

Below are some of my current favorite items from vegan-run clothiers & shoe designers. (I wish I could say haberdashers will be included, but I don’t often wear hats.) I’ve marked vegan-owned companies with a (V). There are some honorable mention slots for environmentally/eco focused companies and one or two from major companies that have a particular item that’s vegan. ‘Wish list’ level fare and more budget conscious ones will be interspersed throughout this multi-part roundup. Have fun looking at pretty things!

Clothing

Vaute Couture – Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY (V)

Wax cotton pea coat

T-shirt (bonus cute puppy in pic)

T-shirt (puppyless pic) but still a nice shirt

Nau – Portland, OR (Sustainable & Philanthropy)

Oooh, selvage denim. (Ooh hoping for a sale at some point)

Denim jacket

A good wind shirt can go a long way in the land of fog (a.k.a. San Francisco)

Courier wind shirt

Shoes

Good Guys – Paris, France (V)

I have a crush on their derby style shoes.

‘Aponi’ in navy

My current favorite – Black vegan suede & leather

‘Dean’ in vegan suede & leather

Brave Gentleman – New York, NY (V)

I own a pair of ‘Defender’ boots and love them. When I bought them two years ago Joshua Catcher was in MooShoes (man, I miss MooShoes) but I didn’t want to harrass him by saying hello. If you like patent ‘leather’ you’ll like the upcoming 2014-2015 line.

‘Worker’ in tan

Saucony

Only two of their lines are absolutely vegan. The Bullet, below and the Jazz Low Pro. I’ve been fooled before! These are clearly labeled on their website as vegan though and have been verified by a number of folks on the interwebs by talking to sales reps.

Bullet

To be continued…

Jamye

Urban Air Market is in Dogpatch (Esprit Park) on Sunday in SF and that means that there’s been an additional buzz of excitement chez .retool. We’re excited to present a few new items, some of which are pictured here to whet your appetite! UAM focuses on sustainable design, which we really appreciate. We’ll be participating in their Lower Haight show on October 11!

As much as we love creating and presenting new items that we hope you’d like to make your very own, we are equally engaged in an evergreen process of making our booth and tables an inviting and visually appealing place for you to peruse our wares. 

So come by and check us out! (Booth #37, on 19th St, near Indiana) Sunday Aug 17,  Minnesota Free to attend.

P.S. You can find UAM here: Urban Air Market, Twitter: @urbanairmarket

This week’s post features a couple of duffle bags I made over the past few weeks.

The first was a modification of a custom bag I made a while back.  Here’s the original version:

joe-bag joe3 joe-2

It’s difficult to tell from these photos, but the bag has a sort of teardrop cross-section.  The bottom is rounded and the sides taper as they go up. The top of the bag folds down and clips to the sides to create a more typical duffle bag shape.  This version had one external side pocket and one interior zipper pocket.

After several months of use, the owner asked for a wider mouth to make it easier to pack and unpack the bag.  In order to make the mouth wider, I had to make a bunch of other changes as well. I ended up changing the profile completely.  I replaced the sides and the lining, added a second zipper to the top of the bag and a second external  pocket. Here are some photos of the modified bag:

 DSC_0012joe-duffle-v2-opening joe-duffle-v2-lining-pocket joe-duffle-v2-top-b
 joe-duffle-v2-front  joe-duffle-v2-side-a joe-duffle-v2-side-b

I was pleased with how the bag turned out and wanted to make another one. Fortunately, my vacation trip to Kauai was rapidly approaching – the perfect excuse to try my hand at making a carry-on sized version.  Here are a few photos:

 carry-on-top carry-on-side  carry-on-open

This bag has a zippered pocket on each end and two interior zippered pockets in the lining.  The outside is made of 1000D CORDURA® nylon and the lining is 4 oz. pack cloth.

I scavenged the shoulder strap from an old laptop bag – it’s way too long for me and needs to be replaced.  I just haven’t had a chance to make a new one yet.

The bag performed well on its inaugural trip. It held all of my stuff with room to spare. It was comfortable to carry and fit easily in the overhead compartment.  I used one of the outside pockets for a pair of water shoes and the other for snacks. The inside pockets worked well for small stuff like my camera battery charger and more snacks.

The new bag will get its second test this Sunday, hauling wallets to and from the 16th Annual Glen Park Festival in San Francisco.  If you are in the area, stop by and see it (and us!) in person. Here are the details:

Date: Sunday, April 27, 2014
Time: 10am – 4:30pm
Location: Diamond St b/t Chenery and Bosworth; also extending down Wilder St

Note – Our booth will be on Wilder St.

Hope to see you there!

We’ve got some new products in development that we are planning to unveil in the next couple of months and wanted to share them with you first.

We’re branching out of our bag/wallet/case niche and expanding into belts and straps (it’s about time, really – we’ve got lots of seatbelt webbing around the studio).

Here are some photos of the prototypes:

The seatbelt belt.

We picked up a small batch of airplane seat belt buckles and metal end caps for our belts.

seatbelt-belt seatbelt-belt-closed

The camera strap.

The strap is adjustable, durable, and it looks great, too!

camera-strap

One of the first bags we made for .retool. was our vegan Weekend Tote Bag. It’s made of 1000D nylon and has interior and exterior slip pockets and a magnetic snap closure. It works great for a quick weekend getaway, a trip to the store, or even for carrying your daily essentials Here are a couple of photos (click to enlarge).

Our original Weekend Bag.

Our original Weekend Bag.

Fully loaded.

Fully loaded.

We’ve tweaked the design and are working on a small batch of them to bring along to upcoming shows. Next up are the Glen Park Festival in April and Maker Faire in May.

Here’s a rundown of the changes.

New lining material: We’re now using 4oz. pack cloth (commonly used in backpacks) for the lining.  It’s light and durable, two things we like.

WB-navy-lining-zippers

 

Pockets: We replaced the interior slip pocket with a  zipper pocket in the lining.  We added a zipper to the pocket on the front of the bag as well.

WB-v2-red-int-pocket

 

Hardware: We switched over to hidden magnetic snaps (they are strong!), changed the hardware from plastic to metal, and added a clip for keys.

WB-vw-red-key-clip

 

It probably would have easier to list what we haven’t changed!

At any rate, we’re having fun with new color combinations and are looking forward to debuting the bags at San Francisco’s Glen Park Festival on Sunday, April 27 from 10 – 4:30pm.

WB-v2-red-extWB-v2-navy-ext