Adding a twist to the Brad

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.