I want to make a bag with many pockets and compartments for a university student friend of mine (and lets face it, one for me too!) This bag will have to be able to hold many heavy books and notebooks, so it will need to be strong strong strong. Also, she will be throwing pens and keys and coins into all the little pockets, and we don't want them poking holes. Would a felted bag hold up to this kind of strain?
I agree that two strands or more would make it stronger. In my experience (admittedly limited) felting is very strong. I think the weak point would probably be in the handles for a very heavy bag. Make sure the bag is well felted, too.
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before you felt it you might want to run some cording through the handles to strengthen them because they WILL stretch. Unless you use something completely different for the handles (like a cool belt!)
you might want to also consider lining it with fabric to help take off any added strain.
And if you decide to line it, which I think is a good idea, try using the kind of fabric used in regular backpacks -- nylon, , preferably the rip-stop variety, or Cordura. That would make the bag super strong without affecting the appearance of the outside. You could salvage it from an old parka or tote bag. Or buy a yard at an outsdoors fabric place like seattlefabrics.com