Monday, January 14, 2013

anatomy of a No.41 signature bag

Hey there! It's my first ever guest poster! And you're in for a treat, because you get to meet alison! Alison is my other half at No.41 and all of the beautiful photos you see of the girls and their bags are hers! Today Alison is putting her talent to work and showing you how the girls make the No.41 signature bags, start to finish! Ready? Go!...

we are so thankful for our no.41 girls. they are incredible.. seriously. AMAZING at what they do. i thought this little post would be interesting for people wanting to know about the process that goes on to make the bags. for those of you who don't know, we struggled for a while trying to find burlap locally. we took a last minute trip to uganda recently and made a connection who found it, we wired him money (then crossed our fingers and said a few prayers)- and he had it on the bus that night. now the girls are constantly working their booties off.. not to mention, we can hardly get them out of the no.41 house.. they can choose when to come and go, but they want to be there. it's exciting to see. we are so proud of the work they are doing. here's a little "behind the scenes" look at all the hard work and love that goes into making each signature no.41 bag. literally every single step of hard work is 100% credited to the girls. have i told you we are proud?! :)

**most of these photos are of our fabulous art student, clarisse. she is a little go-getter, and always has a solution when something crafty needs to be done. she absolutely thrives on her artistry and takes so much pride in her work. since giving her a little extra responsibility, we've seen her confidence building and her work ethic is incredible. we have to tell her to go home because she always has her hands in something- which is why we call her boss:) clarisse is clearly an asset to our no.41 family.
as you probably know, each bag is screen printed on both side. we originally had a screen from the states, but after a month or two, it started tearing. after panicking and thinking it was all over, clarisse came in to save the day. here she is taking paint thinner to get rid of the old stencil on the screen.
 it all starts out with a print out of the logo.. 
then it must be lined up with the green stencil sheet
then, she very carefully traces around each letter so when she places the green part on the screen, the paint will go through.
 once the letters are all cut out, she removes it from the paper..
the mesh screen is then placed over the stencil
 paint thinner is swabbed on so the stencil will stick to the screen
 it's important to make sure your screen and the stencil stay in place so you don't have a wonky print when it comes out:)
  cleaning the screen and making sure it's perfect.
there's a clear film attached to the stencil that must be removed so the letters can be exposed to the paint that must be taken off very carefully in order not to be ripped.
  screen is completed and ready to print onto the burlap.

and here's where all the magic happens...
 before any fabric is cut, the girls use a pattern to make sure our size is consistent.
jeanette and zawadi are cutting the fabric for the insides and straps of the bags
ange is pinning the fabric and burlap together for a strap
fanny is sewing her straps together
our sewing teacher- medi, donatilla, rosine, valentine
clementine is putting the finishing touches on her bag
after finishing up a bag, the girls put their tags on them.
therese is holding the screen so clarisse can screen print without the print getting shifted
now all that's left is to let it dry!
viola! the bags are then hung up in our living room when they are finished.

whew! lots of hard work. hope you guys enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes look at what goes into making the bags. to visit our website and see what else the girls are up to, click here.

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