I love a wrap scrap bag. The complexity, interest and texture of woven fabric lends itself really well to accessories. Not all wraps are suitable though and I tend to go for scraps that have wool in them as they’re generally more resilient to repeated handling when sewn for bag panels.
Taylor’s is a Manchester based wrap converter and accessories maker. Sarah, who runs the business, has a long and well regarded track record and understands how to get the best out of wrap fabric for both its structural integrity and its placement on the items she makes. I sent her a whopper piece of Linuschka Owls The Way Home, a turquoise and purple merino pocket weave scrap, for use on two test bags she’s been developing. Here’s my lowdown on both.
The Alice Bag
There’s a few makers who have been developing convertible bags – those that switch from one mode of carrying to another – with varying degrees of what I think is aesthetic and practical success. Sarah has developed the Alice bag which just about cracks it.
I tested the Alice over a few weeks for work and leisure. It’s a scrap and leather bag that is quite a substantial size though doesn’t feel it. It is a simple bucket style with a tie top, a leather back to keep the scrap tidy, a side pocket for your mobile phone etc. Inside there’s a large zip pocket, key lanyard and standard mobile phone pocket. The bag is extremely well made; the leather bottom is protected by feet and the strap D rings are securely sewn. The quality of the leather is beautiful and will last a lifetime of use.
The Alice switches into three positions with the use of a single adjustable leather strap. It can be worn as a messenger using the top two D rings, a shoulder bag with the strap shortened right down, or a backpack using the bottom two D rings and the top central clip. I found the bag excelled as either a backpack or a messenger and I understand Sarah will offer short straps for those that prefer a shoulder bag length as the current strap is a little too long for that. I sent Sarah feedback on minor mprovements which she was already considering the majority of. She’s a conscientious person, keen to keep improving, and it’s a real pleasure dreaming up bags with her.
Overall I rate the Alice bag very highly as a sophisticated bag in its own right. If you want something grown up to use beyond babywearing and you favour larger bags with versatility then the Alice bag is it.
The Bardot Bag
The second convertible bag from Sarah is wildly different with modes intended for different purposes. Ostensibly a babywearing bag it can convert between backpack, shoulder, shopper or waist bag with the use of its woven wrap long flat straps. It manages to do this with the addition of clever little loops that hold the straps in these different positions.
The design is a simple box shaped shopper bag however the top folds down when in backpack, waist or shoulder style. Inside is a large zip pocket and a key lanyard. I have to say I was initially underwhelmed by the Bardot. It lacked the same wow factor of the Alice but then I went into practical mode and realised how brilliant the Bardot is.
First off, it is very lightweight as it’s only made from wrap fabric and here Sarah has combined a large panel of the Linuschka with some harmonious Honeycomb Loom fabric. This is really important as you want as little extra weight when carrying a child.
It’s also easy to access with one hand when you need to and this lack of faffing was the real winner for me. I get my camera out a LOT so bags must suit repeated opening and closing when carrying. The Bardot did this very well, even in waist mode which surprised me. I found the bag worked nicely in backpack mode and didn’t slip from my shoulders. It was also slightly easier to switch uses than the Alice bag. This version I have tested is to be further modified.
I should add that both bags are tardis like. The Alice fitted in two packed wraps ready for mailing and the Bardot was used in shopper mode for a load of groceries; the lady in the Coop was ultra impressed.
If you want a beyond babywearing bag that is both stylish and practical but you don’t need to be switching positions -that- frequently then the Alice is for you. If you still babywear and like a shoulder free option (waist mode) that is quick to change then the Bardot is your bag. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Sarah develops these designs.
You can access Handcrafted by Taylor’s Facebook page, Instagram and website for further ordering and information.
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