In July, we posted a compelling backpack we’d bought from the stylish COS site only to discover that its design was profoundly flawed. If you put all but the lightest items in it, its magnetic closure instantly popped open, inviting strangers to dip their hand into the bag and steal our wallet (image below). In that post, we experimented with a possible fix by using binder clips. Since the approach seemed workable, during our recent break we hacked the straps and sewed on sliding holders. We’re proud to say our fix WORKED: a lesson in trying ideas out, and flexing our own untrained design muscles to make things better or at the very least learn a few things.
Here was the problem:
Here was our prototype using binder clips to test our idea out:
We jumped right into to learning how to use our new Janome HD3000 Heavy Duty Mechanical Sewing Machine, YIKES! Being novices, the our stitches are a bit crooked…No matter, here’s what we did:
Seeing that the existing strap was longer than we needed…
…we ripped out the stitching to remove it from the slider. Then we cut about three inches of the fabric off the end of each strap…
We used the two 3-inch strips to make loops that would hold metal sliders (which we ordered from a leather goods supply company for a few bucks). We sewed the strips-with-sliders to the top front of the bag; then we threaded the original straps (on the other side of the backpack) through the loops, replaced the original sliders and resewed them as they had been. Our added loops keep the pack closed when it’s worn, but make it easy to open the back to take things in and out.
They also keep both sides of the pack flush and close against the back.
We kept the interior straps that transforms the pack into a tote, but shortened them slightly.
In retrospect, this was our one mistake. We would have been better off keeping those interior tote straps their original length.
Nevertheless, the bag works wonderfully to haul around all the things we carry in a day without looking overstuffed. It easily transforms into a tote. But best of all, we showed ourselves that we COULD indeed design a solution to COS’ sloppy design, and execute it. All it takes is a little courage and the willingness to fail…or sew some crooked stitches.