Ask Kat: “Where do All the Samples Go?”

(This post is part of a new series we’ve started in an attempt to publicly answer some of the mostly commonly asked questions we receive.)

So this week, I received a very interesting question via this Blog. As many of you know, we are currently in the midst of a run-up to a new pattern design (aka “Purse Pattern Chronicles”), and if you are familiar with the series, you know that it takes a LOT of bag samples, many of which end up in the junk pile, before we achieve a finished design!

All of which prompted Carol B to ask us this question:
“What do you DO with all of the samples you make in the process of designing a new pattern?”

Here’s a junk test sample for our Carolina CarryAll.

And as I told Carol, this is not only a really great question, it’s also one I’ve never been asked before!
So… here’s the deal!

 It would actually be very tempting to throw away my “junk” samples, especially the ones that I make early in the process that don’t work out well, or are incomplete, because as you might imagine, after 28 patterns we’ve got a LOT of them! Nevertheless, I save them all along with all my sketches, notes and the draft instructions we write as our pattern is being developed.

Why, you might ask? 

And here’s a junk sample of our
PortaPocketsPLUS Purse Insert

The main reason I save all of these items is just in case someone challenges us by saying we copied their design. Now I know its very unlikely this will happen, especially now, after all of these years, but if the unthinkable happens, and we find ourselves in litigation over a design, I want to be able to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that my design is my own independent idea. Because let’s face it, though improbable, it IS within the realm of possibility that someone out there could be working independantly on a pattern similar to the one I’m working on at this very moment. And should that ever happen, I want to be able to offer proof positive that my design is the result of developing my own ideas and being able to produce these samples of the design in various stages of development would be very compelling evidence!

Of course at this point, its not likely that I would be challenged on my early designs (since they were released 8+ years ago) so I suppose that now it might be safe to clean house and dispose of a few of these boxes, no?

So thanks for the great question Carol and I hope this answers your question, if not just holler back!

So…What are YOUR thoughts about our answer to this question? Any surprises? 

Please feel free to leave your comments in the space provided below 
and stay tuned for the next post in this new series 
when we’ll answer another of our commonly received questions!

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8 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. Wouldn’t have thought of that but it’s a smart idea in this era of sue to get something for nothing.

  2. I’m with the above reply. It is a very smart move on your part to save all of your progress on your designs not only for a development history to prove it is your idea, but also to have as a history for those who come after you. Just think Kathy, your adventures could be a museum display some day!

  3. Barbara In Muncie

    I agree with the others. Our society has become so ready and willing to sue over the least little thing, it’s just smart to protect yourself in case it should happen.

  4. Very smart!….Thinking about it, I guess I was envisioning all those sample bags being used by helpers and friends…..:) It does seem a waste…some of them look fabulous!!!

  5. Fantastic bags! Keep it up.

  6. How about a raffle or auction of the sample bags? You could donate the money to an organization that teaches sewing to kids or adults. I know I would surely bid!

  7. Hello!
    First time here, so I will welcome myself! Lol! I do the exact thing with my designs plus all paper drawings, sample get a “poor man’s copy” My brother, Steve, God bless his soul, told me this when I was 12. Very valuable information. I think of him when I design, knowing he is in heaven!!!
    Awesome websight/ blog!!