The Math behind the Beauty

Matuschka Satchel, product photo curtesy of ModaRévisé LLC 
Ever wonder how those beautiful fashion apparels and accessories are made? Ever question how these unrealistic concepts from crazy designers living on cloud 9 occupy your closet space?

Pure Math. 

Below are 2 reference patterns I borrowed to show you the craziness we designers go through to bring joy and luxury into your life :) 

Take fashion handbag for instance, our most important responsibility as a designer is to figure out "the way" of executing the "concept" we decide to go forward, so that the product is not only pretty, but also wearable and stick to the Laws of Newton!

You'd be surprised how many designers have trouble sticking to the Laws of Newton, and more inclined to Murphy's Law. 

Below is an actual pattern of a bag and as you can see, you must MUST explain the construction in the most scrupulous and OCD way possible. 

This way, every single detail including measurement, panels, fillers, stitchings, hardwares, edge paint (if any), binding options, backing preferences, or and any other special graphics or print you wish to do are faithfully transcribe to the pattern maker. 

Actual bag pattern curtesy of Natsuko Mikami 2006 
Therefore, to be a successful and responsible handbag designer you must also have the following besides talent:

1. Be able to create fabulous bag that has executable pattern, which can also be translated into mass production.The harder a bag's construction is, the more expensive the labor cost and sometimes material consumption will be. 

2. Be detailed oriented a.k.a have slight OCD but not yet clinical.

3. Willing to learn to do math!

4. Have innate understanding of spacial orientation and shapes. If you aced through geometry back in school, you'll be fine. 

5. Willing to learn all sorts of different components and materials used in a bag. Unlike apparel, a bag may sport on average 7 different components including hardware, filler, edge paint, stitching, trim material, body material, and lining. 

Photo curtesy of Patching 12 Book

6. Willing to learn all sorts of different techniques to be applied onto the design of a bag such as sewing, cutting, weaving ,braiding, heat transfer, engraving, embossing, debossing, etc, etc, etc. The learning never ends.

But most importantly, you need to know your NUMBERS. 

Now repeat after me 1/2" of 3/4" is 3/8 which is 1cm, and 4/5" is actually 2cm which is also 20mm. 

Normally we leave about 3/8" for seam allowance but sometimes 1/2", and 1/8" - 1/4" - 1/2"  is the gauge of stitching on most industrial sewing machines such as Juki used in the factory. 

And don't forget about the circumference measurement for hardware and corners of a bag. 

Truly, the math that creates beauty. 


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