Answer without thinking: Who is this for?

Answer without thinking: who do you think this is for? Is it for you? Is it for someone you know? Where would you expect to see this?

Sidewinder is Here

It came out great. Strap it on and strut like a rooster.

Spin view of the Sidewinder

Until I find the right model, you’ll have to settle for my strut.

looking pretty tough... or just looking pretty

Squares over Triangles

I played with the idea of a bag with triangular cross section a few months ago. You may recall, I ended up rejecting this configuration because it required too much material to get to a desirable volume; and so this time around when I wanted to try out a more exotic look for the Brad, I left the top cross section square and made only the bottom cross-section triangular.

But it turns out that fabric isn’t so stiff as to respect the elegance of the design. For one thing, sharp corners like the angles at the bottom tend to collapse into nothing. The nice rising ‘V’ shape of the back-facing panel just didn’t look V-like.  I’ve often gotten to the point in design of these bags where I’ve thought, ‘if I could just stiffen this edge with a plastic rib…’  But then, that’s not allowed in a bag that’s 100% biodegradable, is it?

So this one was just plain mushy. If I had made it a bit smaller, it would have shown some of the qualities I was looking for, but after a wash or two those might not show up so well.

Here’s me, trying to point out that the bottom of the bag is triangular…whoopie.

Plus: I did discover that if I don’t finish the edges I can make a usable prototype in about an hour! :-)

For good fun I made a very basic square-ended carry-all with just enough strap length to get it over your head in a pinch. It looks like this:

I’m not going to produce this one no matter how badly you want it. Although it has a pretty sleek two-piece design, and it would be very cheap to manufacture, I still think it’s boring. But it’s useful as a benchmark against other fancier designs. If a fancier design doesn’t work at least 30% better than this one, then I won’t produce it.

Adding a twist to the Brad

Been thinking about how to solve the problem of a single-strap tote bag that wants to rotate around its axis while you’re toting your load home from the store.

Brad and I have been using the prototype square-ended bag and we’ve both noticed that when it has lots of stuff in it, it wants to rotate a little as we’re bopping down the street.

So, I thought about damping the rotation with a little truss while simultaneously providing more support around the bottom of the bag with additional webbing (in addition to the already double thickness of canvas on the bottom).

Got a chance to make it last night.

It has a rectangular solid construction (other Brads have had a slight taper toward the top–which we’ve noticed presents some problems when loading heads of cauliflower, watermelons, etc). I left out the avocado pocket because I pretty much know how that changes things.


The truss seemed simplest to make by folding the webbing such that it made a square pattern, and then attaching half of the square to the bottom panel of the bag. That decision led to the dimensions of the bottom of the bag being 12×9-ish rather than 10x10ish. This is a pretty big bag: holds about 70% more than a standard grocery bag. In the end, that’s too big for the stiffness of this fabric. This fabric (which I love) is best for a bag that holds just about as much as a standard paper grocery bag. So when I do this type of form factor again I’ll use a 15″ height and 11″x 9″ bottom perhaps.

Finished! Here’s the view of the way the bag closes and draws up the line in the signature Zatchu Bag style, complete with stop at the top of travel. It did work to shift the weight to one side to minimize rotation, but I think it’s a little too complex for production, and the benefit doesn’t seem to be worth the extra complexity.

I also used about 2.75 yards of webbing on this design, which at $1.50 per yard is a substantial fraction of the total input cost. That led me to think of designs that don’t try to solve so many problems by adding webbing…

I do think the webbing width (1.5 inches) is right for the single-strap design. The 2-inch wide webbing that’s on the currently-being-tested Brad is too heavy and it ends up flopping because it weighs more than the rest of the bag.


Slinger: an app custom-built for the Sidewinder

Slinger is an app for Android that helps make the very best use of your tablet holster in a dramatic situation. Draw your Android tablet or phone and shoot-’em-up High Noon style.

Download from Google Play.