PPC17: That’s One Stylish Gorilla


in our first post in this the latest edition of Purse Pattern Chronicles we revealed the inspiration behind what will eventually be our new pattern for Fall 2018. And if you’ve been with us for any of our other 16 editions of this series you know that what generally comes next is the “Gorilla sample”, but it occurs to me that some of our newer customers may not be familiar with that term and what that means. And here’s the deal…

And here’s the deal…

I like to carry the first sample that I make of any new design for a week or two because if there are “issues” with the design I like to know about it as soon as possible. If the bag needs to be wider, or taller, or if it needs more pockets or if it’s hard to open, or if it sags in the middle when I’m carrying it, I want to resolve those issues right away! Around here, we refer to this as the “Samsonite Gorilla Test“and yes I realize I’m dating myself with that phrase so if you’re under 50 just click that link, it just might start your day off with a smile!

So… without further delay, let me kick this post off with a few words about this, the “gorilla sample” for our new design.

In the photo at left you can see that this is a medium sized bag with an ample area to showcase a focal print on the front pocket. And since this is our “gorilla sample” and that means I’ll be carrying it for a while to test it out, I chose to use some fabric leftovers from Paula Nadelstern’s XXXXX collection for this bag because after all, just because it’s a test bag doesn’t mean it has to be boring, right?

Of course the beauty of this new design is that it can be worn cross-body style as either a “front-pack” (at right) or a back pack. You can sling it low as shown, or you can adjust the strap tighter in order to wear it higher up and more securely on your chest.

This picture (at left) was included so that you could see how stream-lined this bag looks when worn as a cross-body back pack.

And now let’s talk about the various storage areas this bag affords!

First, (at right) when you unclip the side-release buckle at the top of the bag it reveals anย  outside pocket which is a fabulous place to stow your cell phone, or your keys. I always hear it ring and it’s super easy to reach in their and retrieve it and believe me, nothing has EVER fallen out of it!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚And this zippered pouch area is remarkably roomy. I can fit two wallets, my reading or sunglasses and a small can of hairspray in here with room to spare and you might notice that for this sample I stitched a small slip pocket on one of the Pouch walls, but I’m thinking there might have been a better place to locate it, like perhaps in ….

the “Secret Niche” area!
Like many of its predecessors, this bag features what has become one of our signature features… an unexpected and almost impossible to detect storage compartment in the center of the bag, held in place securely by an invisible sew-in magnet. I’m thinking I might place a mesh pocket here next time. It would be a great place to store coupons, tickets and other little notes to myself.

One of the things that I definitely intend to address in the next sample I make is the side areas of the zipper closure. There’s a “pinching-in” thing going on and I don’t like it at all. Right now my thought is that I need to decrease the zipper opening which will raise it UP about an inch & a half. This will mean that the top edge of the Expander, Phone Pocket AND the Zipper Pouch Wall will all be the same height.

And finally, here’s a peek at the Bag back and yet another nice storage area. This zippered pocket is full width & depth and with a built-in gusset, it holds a LOT!


And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

I’d love to know what you think of our new design at this point in the process? If there’s features you like, or items you wish we had included, now would be a great time to let us know! And remember, there’s space provided below to leave anything you’d like to say!


And guess what? We have a brand new private FaceBook Group pageย  just for StudioKat Designs customers?ย  It’s the perfect place for you to post pictures, comments or questions about our patterns! How cool is that, right? And don’t forget to check out the best sewing pins with me on Pinterest, get your daily sewing fix and behind the scenes scoops on Instagram, and be the 1st to know about new patterns, discount codes and sample sales by signing up for “Kat Bytes”, our monthly newsletter.

50 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. I love this! Might be my favorite of all your designs, which is saying a lot.

  2. I really really like this. Iโ€™ve never been a lover of backpacks but this just oozes style and substance. Love the shape and storage. I also love that it can be โ€˜prettiedโ€™ up for the ladies but dumbed down for the men. I think you have a winner on your hands.

    • Thanks so much Celia! There was one particularly negative comment on our faceBook Group page this morning and since it was first it kinda threw me off balance. Its hard putting things out in the public! No matter how worthy you think a design is, and no matter how confidant you can feel about your work, its amazing how one harsh comment can make you question everything. It was kind of you to step in and say these kind things! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’m with Betsy!! I love it, and can’t wait for it to come out! I’m not great with applying binding to cover inside/outside edges (I just can’t get it on straight!), and this one doesn’t seem to have any, Yea! (I mean, seriously, I’m so bad with binding, my sister has to finish off my quilts!) Bring that pattern on! It’s going to be an amazing shopping/travel bag, and I think the younger girls are going to love it, because they seem to like the smaller cross-bodies.

  4. Donna J Fournier

    I showed your pictures to my daughter and she loves it as it is. So waiting for your release of the pattern.Her birthday is in August. Thank you for all your hard work . !

  5. I love that its uni-sex! When traveling my other half and I share bag duty and it ends up being a bulky backpack. This would be a great alternative. The only thing I would change is a better defined phone pocket for easy access. No digging for the phone in a crowded place when you are trying to figure out directions, etc.

  6. Alaine Schumann

    I love this one!!!! For sure one I will want to make and wear. And I love that you show this to your customers and get input.

  7. I really like the looks and possibilities of your Gorilla bag. I remember the Samsonite ad well, it was clever and caught our attention! I keep excusing buying more bag patterns by saying that my Granddaughters will need good patterns too.Such transparent justification! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I love this bag! Easy to wear & not have to carry. Lots of pockets & storage space. Even enough room for a coin purse!

  9. Love this bag! Your sample is gorgeous!!

  10. Oh my! This looks awesome! Will it fit a tablet or iPad??

  11. I really like this and am excited to see more pictures of it being worn!

  12. Love it! I would like to see an optional pocket on the front that holds cards and money and side pockets. I always use side pockets for lip balm and hand cream and my work id.

    • Hmmm…. Not sure I’ll be adding that. I kinda like that front expanse as an area for embellishment of many types. I find I enjoy placing my phone in the drop down area on the front of the bag. It works out REAL well there.

  13. Carol A Hansen

    Hi, this is my first time making a comment. I love the design, however, some of us may have trouble with the fastener. I like how it looks, and don’t know what else would work there, but, sometimes it takes a lot of strength in ones fingers to squeeze these things, especially in a hurry. I am using a cane, now, and think this crossbody would be the perfect size, to have all I need along, and still have a free hand. Also, someone mentioned a phone pocket. If you raise the zipper, maybe one would fit along that space, on one side or the other. I love your newsletter and the new website, too. I like to make bags, when I have time, and study all your designs. I wish I could attend one of the shows you go to, but am not close enough. Blessings and keep going on this one!

    • Well, we have tried using a magnet in place of the side release buckle but even though our magnets are quite strong, they really are NOT reliable in holding this area shut. I have found that our side-release buckle is really pretty easy to operate and I hope it will be for you too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I like it, classy looking cross body bag. Not sure Iโ€™d classify it as a backpack. Love the unisex concept.

  15. I love this. Would it be possible to include Concealed Carry somehow? I’m just finishing up my first StudioKat design….the GoGo Compact and it is going to be awesome. Thank you for the stylish, functional and FUN designs.

    • well as you can see in the pictures, there is a Secret Niche area which could be used in this manner. Other than that I don’t think it will be possible to add a dedicated area for concealed carry. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I really like this bag. I am not a backpack person but I think I would definitely make this bag.

  17. For some reason, it’s not allowing me to post under your response, Kat. I understand you may not want to add the pocket on the front for cards and money. I suggested that optional for those who like to do fancy piecing or embroidery, etc. For me, I would love to make this bag my daily purse, but I need a pocket for cards & $$. I’m lucky to have any time to sew, so I usually don’t do fancy piecing or fussy cutting. But you’re the designer so you can make it the way you think best. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. This looks like something that would work well for me. Iโ€™d also like it even more if itโ€™s big enough for an iPad. Looking forward to the next update!

  19. Hi Kat. I am new to your designs. I just ordered the Guardian Bag and am excited to get started on it. I am a concealed carry gal and this is the first bag I have seen that is a handmade one. I love the idea of the Gorilla Bag, yes I am old enough to remember the origin of that. I would like to see this bag with a CCW pocket, maybe as an option. I know that there are other ladies that like to make bags that can carry.
    Thank you for your time and care in making your designs. I like them.

    • You are right in saying that the Guardian Bag was the first concealed carry pattern on the market. As already mentioned though, there is a secret niche in this bag which is shown in a picture on this post and it could in fact be used for this purpose.

  20. I like it a lot but I can’t see the straps.in the pictures I got and there are no size and demension facts. Please can we see.more detail.

    • We are just at the start here and there will me several more posts coming in the next few weeks with many more details to come as well!
      Please stay tuned for much more!

  21. I love this bag design, and I think we may still have some of the exact same fabric you used. You should make a trip to Radford, VA to Sew Biz (we are located on Harvey Street) and check out all of our wonderful fabrics. I would love to offer this bag as a class when the pattern is released.

  22. Best looking crossbody bag/backpack ever!!! Very unique & attractive for everyday use. I will be ordering the pattern as soon as itโ€™s released. As you will be fine tuning and improving the design over the next few weeks, I canโ€™t wait to see the final result. What an inspired bag design ~ thank you!

  23. Like the design. Seems very interesting. Will wait to see if it will fit a ipad. And love the material. Her fabrics are great. Will stay tuned.

    • An ipad will fit in the secret niche area but part of it will be visible behind the zippered pouch area. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Love the new design ! Can’t wait for the pattern to come out.

  25. I’d be keen to keep my phone next to my body (I never hear it ring in a public place,but it does have a vibrate function when it rings). Is there room in that hidden pocket for a smartphone(slim)? I can see how I’d add future safety things (like my travelling body cross bag-very boring grey colour!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) by utilizing the D ring on the strap for the side release buckle.I think this bag will be easily personalized for those of us who’d like to.The size is pretty good for a plus sized woman like me. Any bigger and it would become too bulky (esp with the kitchen sink inside!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

  26. In response to Carol Hansen, could a D-ring be used, possibly with velcro strap pulled through the ring to fasten? Just an idea for a modification that could be included with the pattern

    • No I really do not think it will. Here’s why. Our magnets are pretty darned strong. And they may in fact hold this area closed if your bag is very lightly loaded, BUT, if you jostle the bag firmly, or run, or if you put the amount of items in it that it certainly will easily accomodate, the magnet will NOT RELIABLY hold this area closed, and this is key! This is a pretty important connection that NEEDS to be held reliably closed. And given the fact that our magnets are without a doubt stronger than velcro even on a bad day, and that velcro is notorious for getting gummed up and eventually barely working at all, I would not recommend it as a substitute for the side release buckle which is quite easy to manage. The side release area is very responsive and doesn’t require much pressure at all to disengage. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Absolutely beautiful!! The design looks amazing and unique! I love this! Iโ€™m looking forward to purchasing the pattern as soon as itโ€™s available. Thank for sharing your latest pattern.

  28. So creative! I will follow the development of this one closely. I’m hoping the size will carry my kindle…..

  29. I really want to try this as a motorcycle travel bag or around-town tote. I can see a lot of possibilities for this design with my rider friends.

    • This is the first unisex bag we’ve attempted, so I am excited about the possibilities as well! Thanks for commenting Don! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. I have been looking for a bag pattern almost exactly like this! I can’t wait for it to come out so I can get it!