I Finished the Bent LA Challenge!

  • by Jennifer Maxwell
I did it! 30 days, 30 bags! That was super difficult!
I am proud of my creativity and myself.  Making one bag a day for an entire month is a tough challenge and I succeeded!  Obviously not every bag is my favorite, but I came up with so many designs, and really love most of them.  And the bags that I don’t love, I am still proud of the creativity and the idea behind them.
I will have a booth at the Melrose Trading Post on October 13.  Come by and see the 30 bags in person! I will be selling them each for $35 and 100% the profits will go to the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is an organization very close to my heart as my journey was bent with mental illness.  NAMI recognizes that everyone has a journey and helps them along their path. I can’t think of a better organization to work with on this project!
Want more detail on the day to day, moment-to-moment, stitch-by-stitch challenges – here you go….
This was much harder than I thought it would be. In the past, I’ve come up with ideas naturally (sometimes in dreams) and built them in a few hours.  I thought that’s what this would be like, but I was wrong. 
Coming up with a new concept on the spot, everyday was really challenging!
I combatted this challenge by becoming inspired by my materials.  Some days I knew what I wanted to make, but most days I found a material in my apartment that I hadn’t played before.  I found that once I saw a new material I was able to visualize something to make.
I also had various obstacles that led to this challenge taking up large portions of my days:
  • My sewing machine broke three times. The last time, I didn’t even bother to fix it - I just decided to make the last few bags by hand.
  • After I made the bag on day 6 I finished it by adding a snap in the middle of the bag.This snap made the bag much more interesting.  The problem was that the red leather wasn’t thick enough to hold the snap without ripping. So I ended up with a rip in the bag.
  • My stitching isn’t perfect. This challenge is about creativity in ideas and bringing those ideas to life so my sewing didn’t have to be perfect.  However there were a few days like day 20 (a triangle bag) where not having perfect stitching made the shape difficult to understand.
  • I chose some time consuming projects. Day 22 was a collage of my scraps.  Even though the shape is simple, it took a lot of time to make the fabric out of the scraps.  Day 16 was a leather weaving.  I made this bag by hand because the leather was too thick for my sewing machine.  It took hours to poke holes and sew each overlap together. 
Overall, all of the difficulties made me a stronger designer and thinker. This challenge was really difficult, but it was also very rewarding.  I am so glad I decided to do it, and am sure I will do something like this again in the future!
Thank you so much for following my progress, more interesting ideas to come!

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