PPC18: Inspiration Strikes


prior to revealing the original sketches for my next pattern, (which will actually be a “set of patterns”), I’d like to give you a little background information about where my inspiration for these new designs originated from. For the last few years I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect tech gear tote. Because here’s the deal… when we first started traveling to shows in 2008 I really only had a couple of technical items to carry with me, namely a phone charger, a laptop charger and a charger for my camera battery.

But a LOT has changed over the past 10 years!
Just look at the incredible increase in the amount of technical gear
that must accompany us on every one of our business trips…

Here’s the items we need in our the Hotel room
a gang plug
an extension cord
an external jump drive
the computer charger cord
a usb connector for my phone
extra camera batteries
camera battery charger
my phone charger
the husband’s phone charger
and TWO FitBit charging cords

But in addition– these items are needed for use in our Booth
an additional gang plug
and additional extension cord
an additional phone charger
a bar code scanner
the barcode scanner charging cord
my iPad charging cord
a camera battery
at least two square card readers
a charging cord for the square card readers

So…over the past 10 years…

I’ve shopped all over the web and I’ve given quite a few totes and caddies the ol’ college try in my quest to find the perfect carrier for the multitude of cords, chargers, batteries and connectors that we must carry for the various trips we take every year (both for pleasure and for business). The result?… I’ve been sorely disappointed in every single unit I’ve tried.

They’ve either been too deep & boxy, rendering the contents a totally jumbled-up mess PLUS taking up too much room in my backpack or suitcase, OR… they’ve been of the shallow rectangular type with oodles of wide elastics for securing various cord sizes. At first glance this would SEEM to be a really great option, right? WRONG! Because LONG before it’s even half full it becomes so lumpy and and fat that you can’t even get the zipper closed and on top of that, it’s a space-hog in a suitcase or backpack!

That’s when I decided I might as well just design my own totes for my technical gear!


Right now I’m thinking that my basic unit will be long with two completely separate compartments. I’d like to have mesh pockets on each interior side of the unit in order to keep smaller items safe and sequestered.

I’m also thinking it would be helpful to have some wide elastic stitched into at least one interior sidewall in order to hold a few specialized items in place.

Along with this long unit, my thoughts are that in addition to being very useful for storing and transporting technical cords and supplies, it would also be helpful for housing makeup and various toiletry items on a trip. For this reason I’ll be planning a wider tote as well as a taller AND a much shorter tote.

Please note– We’ll be taking a brief period off from blogging (and working for that matter) as we head out into the wild, blue yonder for a vacation but LOOK OUT! When I come back (on Sept 4th), I’ll be rested and energized and ready to show you the 1st prototype for what will soon be our next new pattern!

And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

I’d love to know what your thoughts are to our new design at this point in the process? Would a zippered tote like this be helpful to YOU when you travel? And if so, when features would YOU like to see included? And remember, we LOVE reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.


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25 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. That sounds like quite an undertaking. Traveling on a motorcycle has taught me to travel light with only essentials. I’m sure you will create the quintessential travel tote. The only idea I had is rather than Gavin complicates for hotel and show floor your marvellous Sling Along could carry the essentials back and forth? I’m sure you already considered that. As for the personal items that are necessary…. I got nothing. LOL

    • Hey Don! I think spellcheck might have gotten involved in your reply. Can you double check it as I dont understand about the Gavin remark but I’m sure its useful and would like to read it as you intended it to be! 😀

  2. This idea seems to me like it would be intensely useful for travelers of all sorts. Making patterns in differing sizes is so smart, it will give us lots of options for taking our “stuff” along with us while keeping it much more orderly. We bought an RV to be our traveling motel and I’ve been making caddies and totes for specific needs to use in it. Storage space is at a premium so I’m being mighty “choosy” at what goes where. Your latest “tote” idea is very welcome and I look forward to incorporating them into our travels. 🙂

  3. A tech bag is an awesome idea. Cord and plug management is critical when traveling.
    I hope your bags will accommodate the newer flat circular wireless charging units. Mine are about four inches in diameter.

  4. Airline security rules are ever-changing since 9/11. Where we used to stash most of our tech gear in our checked baggage, you can no longer do that with certain batteries ( TSA). Consider having your new design incorporate pockets specifically for auxiliary batteries. It would be nice if you can have your device plugged in while you’re carrying the new desiign. Our largest aux battery is about 7×2.5×1 (Anker Powercore 20100mAh). You can find these auxiliary batteries on Amazon, to get an idea of the shape and size. Whatever your new design, I’m excited to see it. Love the last one!!! I’m wondering if you can top it. It’s perfect!

    • The release of the Sling Along HAS benn extraordinary! but you never know about new designs. Sometimes I think its just kismet when you hit on a big winner. :)Thanks for the ideas! I’ll remember them going forward!

  5. Interesting. I have a bag similar to your picture that was given to me as a promotional item. It has a crisscross design inside of stretchy cord so it is flexible to hold many different cords, plugins etc.

  6. With all the fires in CA, I’m thinking that a ready-to-go bag with minimum [private] essentials would be really useful. Not just tech stuff, but other items you value and want with you if on a fast exit, such as pictures on CDs, passport, family records (paper), jewelry.

  7. I’ve used your Rolly Nester pattern to make cases for extension cords and charging cords. These look more versatile. I find myself wondering if you would consider a larger unit to pack the units into?

  8. As one who also travels on a motorcycle we pack all corners of the trunk and saddle bags so having a small band to grab on to carry it would be helpful. Maybe just one that lies flat rather than one that sticks out like a wrist strap would work well. Thanks for all the thought you put into your designs.

  9. Love this new idea! Will the taller one be able to accommodate makeup brushes?

  10. I travel for work and am very excited to see how this design comes together.

  11. I think this is a wonderful idea! I can’t wait to see more about it!

  12. Can’t wait. Can never find the perfect bag for such items. Roll up pockets get too fat. Too few pockets preclude organization. Must use strong but light weight fabric and elastics or the tote itself is too heavy and bulky even before adding your paraphernalia. It’s a quandary. We will be praying for your sanity while looking forward to your next creation.

  13. How exciting! Can’t wait to watch the progress unfold! Have a wonderful downtime.

  14. These are genius for your purpose, but I can also see them as useful for packing sewing/quilting notions as I never travel without a project, even if it’s just the hand stitching of binding. I recently modified a zip bag pattern meant to be for makeup bags and made them in thick denim with metal zippers for my husband to keep small parts/tools securely in his tool bag. He’ll want this two compartment one, too!

  15. I’ve been toying with the idea of adapting your porta-pocket pattern into an airplane seat back pocket. Something that that I could pull out of my tote and already have all my items (iPad, charger, cords, earbuds, gum, hand sanitizer, Kleenex,etc.) in an organized pocket. Then when flight is over, just pull it out and slip it back in my tote…….