A customer asked F and me to design a feather-weight fold-over wallet that was as small and lightweight as possible and could still hold dollar bills and around 6 credit cards and also a couple of those small cards that are made to go on key rings. Oh, and she wanted it to provide an RFID shield, so it needed to be made out of an aluminum- lined coffee bag. F was telling me about it this morning when we got together briefly before she left on a several-weeks-long trip. She had already come up with a prototype, but the customer wanted it to hold more than one or two dollar bills and had now asked for a billfold compartment.
We bounced ideas around while we stood there, and I made some sketches. At one point we were headed down a blind alley, and then we simultaneously thought of an elegant solution to the bill compartment. We were in a hurry, though; so F left to do last-minute trip preparation and I went home mulling over the new design.
My process was to start on a new prototype, drawing and making notes as I made it. That's what all these drawings are. I finished the wallet, as you can see here, but it had one glitch in the design: the two inside card compartments needed to be sewn by hand because I couldn't figure out how to sew it on the machine. And that hand-sewing took as long as the entire rest of the job.
I started folding the wallet this way and that to see if I had missed something, and soon I saw that it might be possible to press the bill compartment back to the left and then slip the back side of the flaps under the presser foot. As I drew my hand pressing the wallet into this position, I knew it would work, and it does. So for today a series of drawings that led to a discovery!