Monday, October 25, 2010

Project Two: Upcycling

Seat belt webbing is a very durable and strong material; making it perfect for incorporation into designs such as bags, where this material property is put to use. This material appealed to me as a fitting choice for this assignment, as it is effectively at its end of life when the cars in which they are found are sent to landfill.

I sourced the seat belt webbing from some car wreckers in Blacktown called Pick 'n Pay. Each belt cost $5, being almost 2 metres in length. For the design of the bag that I made for this assignment, approximately 4 and a half seatbelts were used. This product is able to be mass-manufactured, as it only requires the supply of seat belt webbing, used recyclable bags and a sewing machine.

As a material, used seat belt webbing is easy to source, from car wreckers and car heaps. Each car produces four seat belts, each belt measuring about 2.2 metres in length. On average, one auto recycler landfills over 270 kilograms of seat belts every month.

This bag effectively upcycles seat belt webbing, fulfilling the criteria of the brief. The design of the bag is reflective of the style of objects found within a boutique store. The bag is made from seat belt webbing, with a lining of recyclable shopping bags. The front of the bag is held shut with velcro strips. This is a simple and sturdy design aimed at people who carry numerous books to work or university. The sleek appearance of the material allows the bag to fit nicely into an office environment.


  1. I really liked your project! it was really well made and it would work well as a bag and would be very strong. I think the use of line and colour of this bag make it more subtle and that is why i would carry this bag. I think you did a great job welldone!!

  2. I was really impressed with the quality finish of your product. The original material was a great selection with many options you could have explored. The final design of the bag was very neat and the quality of the stitching was impressive. If you were to sell this product i would suggest some detail to contrast the black seatbelts just so it didnt look so plain. Well done Helen

  3. Hey Helen, I really like what you have managed to do with these old seatbelts. It still retains the look from the seatbelts but it has a much higher perceived value than the original belts. I could definitely see this being sold in an up-market boutique. The craftsmanship of this product is amazing and the final product looks really nice. I think you have done a great job in this project and fits the brief well.

  4. Congrats on this project. I really like it, as I mentioned to you in class. The craft(wo)menship is amazing.
    I'd add a few things such as the apporiate hardwear to adjust the strap length and a coloured lining so you can identify objects easily inside the bag.

  5. I reckon this is one of those products that really fulfilled the requirements of the brief. It has that sense of sophistication and elegance that I never envisioned seatbelts to have. GREAT JOB!:)

  6. Hey helen, This is a great bag, It's design is very subtle and the aesthetic is very focused on the original straight lines of a seatbelt. I think that is a feature of your bag, that someone who wanted understated but quality products would be very attracted to. Perhaps if you were going to extend your process after this, you could play more with what different patterns or lines could be created with the material beyond straight verticals.
    Overall it looks great!

  7. Wow,that's amazing!! I was definitely impressed with your design. This great bag is functional, nice and very attractive, making me want to have one. If the bag can be made of other colours and be more closer to the fashion, i think you can start your own business with this fantastic bag. Lovely!