Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in our studio? You know, sit there and watch the magic happen as bags “miraculously” spring to life? Well it would be a long day, so we’ve decided to speed it up for you! Here we are doing a manufacturing run of our BullPup Backpack and have sped it up so we look ultra-productive, plus we provide basic explanations so you know what is going on!
Hi, I am Dave, and welcome to the BOgear studio!
Founded in 2008, and now located in Springwood, Brisbane, this is where the magic happens. All our custom bags and packs begin their life here, and are crafted by a dedicated team of Five. We used to be a one man band based in a spare bedroom, however industrial sewing machines take up a lot of room and we fast outgrew the space. Now we are not only able to fit all our machines, but also craft customised bags to your needs and tastes.
Right now we are making a custom BullPup backpack, and I’d love to share with you little insights into our machines, our designs, and the people who craft these hard wearing bags for you.
First thing we do is cut the raw materials into the required pattern pieces. This includes cutting the webbing, the external fabric, the internal fabric, as well as foam, mesh, and shoulder straps. Unfortunately we missed videoing this step but thankfully you can half see Simon in the top right cutting out the BullPups.
One thing we did catch however was the bulk cutting process of the black base. We use black as a base colour as it least shows up dirt and grime. First step is to lay the fabric using a spreader. This stack is about 25mm tall. Next we lay a sheet of paper on top called the marker. This gives us the required cutting lines. Next is to staple down the marker, which also helps hold the layers of fabric together. And finally the cutting process begins, using our 8 inch straight blade knife.
While Simon is cutting, I begin the process of creating the shoulder straps. These are also cut in bulk, and include the webbing, the top layer of fabric, and the shoulder strap foam which we have previously laminated to a 500 Denier face fabric. This face fabric is lighter than the rest of the BullPup, which means it isn’t as abrasive on your clothes, but will last an incredibly long time. In this step right now, I am stitching down the webbing onto the top layer. I am also including a D-ring from which you can hang keys or other quick access items.
Meanwhile, Gene is on our light weight needle feed machine which is incredibly fast and accurate. In this step Gene is sewing the mesh onto the front lining. This creates the two pleated pockets, perfect for storing and organising all your smaller items. Plus, being mesh it is incredibly easy to see what is inside the pockets. I should also point out that the zippers used in all our bags, including the inside mesh pockets are YKK brand. These come with a reputation of being smooth, reliable, and incredibly long lasting.
Speaking of zips, on our straight stitch machine Felisa is flying through the zip borders. This becomes the main opening to the BullPup. In this step Felisa is creating a zip flap which protects the zip from dust, dirt and grime. The zip being sewn is also YKK, and is a very beefy number 10. We have not had a single return or fail of this zip to date. At a later step we add two zipper pulls which means you can completely lay the BullPup flat and access it suitcase style, or only open it slightly for a top access pack. You could also just unzip one side if you wanted to get something from the bottom of your bag but didn’t want to rummage around or completely open it up. Essentially two zipper pulls gives you the most versatility to access.
Gene has finished the mesh front pockets and is now on our Walking Foot machine joining the shoulder straps that I created earlier to the laminated foam blanks. I am standing up and am on the binding machine. Right now I am binding the shoulder straps that Gene literally just finished. In front of me is Felisa who is still sewing the zip borders, which is a very long process.
Simon is sitting in front of the Bartacker eating an apple. He literally never stops eating! And the black Labrador is called Helen. She is our official Customer Licker and a registered Guide Dog Brood. She forms part of our giving back to the community, and has had two litters of pups to date.
Just a quick close up of the binding process, this is our cylinder arm machine. The bed of the machine sits above the table top which means you can really throw a bag around giving a really clean result. Right now however I am still binding the edges of the shoulder straps, which hides the raw edges of fabric and foam. This also results in a shoulder strap edge which won’t rub your neck or annoy you unnecessarily. Speaking of comfort, the shoulder straps are tapered and contoured so they fit around your body and won’t rub or get in the way.
Bri is on our bartacker flying through the creation of the front clipping webbing. These stitches are incredibly strong and allow you to attach pouches or tie things onto your bag. They also can add a touch of colour, contrasting the webbing or fabric.
So I’m Dave from BOgear and if you are looking for a hard wearing, Australian made pack, designed specifically for you, which touches our machines and are caressed into life by our skilled team head to our website!