Thursday, August 12, 2010

CRITIQUE: Scrap Feather Headbands

Hi! I am in need of some feedback on a new product I am in the midst of developing for Camp Smartypants. First I'll give some explanation as this particular item has some restrictions/different goals than my other Camp Smartypants product:

- This is a fall/winter product. I've wanted to create some new products that didn't scream tie-dye. Most of my current product is very loud (color). I'm worried that I am narrowing my market. The base of the feather is still created using leftover scraps from my tie-dye shoulder bags, but I wanted to incorporate other elements into the design to make it different enough to appeal to people who aren't necessarily attracted to tie-dye.

- It has to be made from at least 50% recycled materials. I recently became a member of Trillium Artisans, a local nonprofit that supports people with small crafty businesses. So far, the only product they are currently helping me sell are my God's Eye Pins (because they are over 50% recycled). I submitted these headbands to their product review board last week and they did not pass. Below is the feedback they gave me (click on image to enlarge).

The fabric and thread used are all scrap/thrifted. But the suede lace and elastic is new (which they say makes it only 30% recycled). They also didn't like how I finished the leather braid with fabric and glue.

They also didn't like that the edges of the feather are raw, and will eventually fray. I actually like this about the design. I think that some fraying fits with the idea of an actual feather and would still look nice.

So... what do you think? Here are some possible solutions I've been thinking over:
- Change the leather braid to a scrap fabric braid. (I don't have a clue as to how I'd find a source for enough scrap/thrifted suede lace).
- Change the fabric/glue on the ends to string wrapped around tight?
- Use better elastic (also try to find as much thrifted elastic as possible)

Any other suggestions? What do you think of the design as a whole? Would you wear one? Do you think that the fraying of the feather over time would be bad? Any help/feedback would be great! Thanks

♥ Rachel


  1. 'm going to think on the leather and elastic... but I have a quick thought on the feathers.

    If you do a zig-zag stitch around the outside when it has frayed a little it leaves a neat pattern of loose threads along the outside. The zig-zag would keep it from fraying any more, but would leave the feathery edge.

    I'm going to make patrick look over your leather question- but I feel like sometimes they use a kind of waxy cord wrapped around the leather.

    BTW- I REALLY like this. I'd probably prefer it to not have real leather (I always thought it was weird to have leather on my head.)

  2. I'd try to make an argument to "recycle" offcuts/remnants from local upholstery shops. Upholstery would be a good bet for long strips, but you'd have to cut them yourself into shape or strips for braiding. Hand-stitching any clasps or elastic would be best, and buy the more expensive 3-sided needles. The cheaper needles break way too easily.

    - Patrick

    Going further up the chain - Tandy Leather Factory is a nationwide seller of leatherworking goods and materials. They sell offcuts by the pound as well - search for "remnants"
    It may be worth a trip to the local Portland store just to look at the different types of leather sold and see if there's a chance you can dig through remnant stock yourself.

    Also be sure to look at waxed thread there. It's available in colors, grips well and may help you avoid the adhesive.

  3. First of all, love these!

    I've never used it before, but I did a little research for spray adhesives on fabric that could possibly work. Here's a link to something to look for:

    I personally like that you used leather for the headband part, it feels more finished and not super "crafty". I would try finding a local upholstery shop that you could buy remnants from. Maybe offer them in both fabric and leather, with leather being a slightly higher price point.

    I'm not sure exactly from the pictures above, but I like the stitching you used down the middle to hold the fabric together. Could you use that to tightly wrap around the bottom, maybe use a tiny amount of glue to keep it really secure, but that nobody would see.

    If anything is not recycled, I would try to keep it the actual elastic band part. Only because sometimes people are weird about using other people hair stuff if they don't know where it's been.


Thank for the help!