Plymouth High School for Girls

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Solar powered bag

Year 11 student, Madi, from Plymouth High School for Girls designed and made this innovative solar powered bag as part of her year 11 coursework (teacher Gemma Westaway). Below Madi talks about her work. 

Solar powered bag


Technological advances have resulted in the production of a wide range of exciting modern fabrics and components. This offers enormous scope to those designing in the world of textiles. This includes special effects, properties, textures and the range of finishes available allow designers to create products that push the boundaries of textile product design.

Design Brief

You have been asked by a Modern Art Gallery to design and make a futuristic textile product inspired by modern fabrics, components and technologies that will appeal to the visitors and be sold in the gallery gift shop.

About the bag

The bag is made out of leather which has laser cut panels decorated with artwork designs. Laser cut plastic handles have also been used on the bag. The solar panels allow for phones and other portable devices to be charged. The solar panels were from Ebay (SODIAL 1.5W 12V Mini Solar Panel Small Cell Module Charger With 1M Wire).

Solar Powered bag 2

Problems designing & making the bag

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  • Attaching the solar panels was really tricky. The back of the solar panels had a smooth surface and wasn’t rough enough so the glue wouldn’t take to it. Due to this, the solar panels wouldn’t take to the fabric very easily. The glue that was used (epoxy) spread in the fabric and to prevent this it should have been tested beforehand. 
  • Another issue was that the school machine wouldn’t go through the thick leather easily. At times the machine had to go through three layers of fabric which meant it struggled and jumped stitches.

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