PPC18: The Gorilla Sample


in our last post I showed you the very first prototype for what I plan on being a quartet of new storage/travel bag patterns! And seeing how I was reasonably happy with the prototype sample, I decided to go ahead and make myself a “gorilla sample” to take on a little trip to the NC mountains!

But if you’re new to our “Purse Pattern Chronicles” series you might not be familiar with what a “gorilla sample” is, so here’s the penny version. I like to carry the first sample of any new design for a bit because I like to know as soon as possible if there are “issues” with the design. If the bag needs to be wider, or taller, or if it needs more pockets or if it’s hard to open I want to resolve those issues right away! Around here, we fondly 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.

First of all, this bag is completely lined. I did it in white so that the interior features would should up in a photo and you can see that the interior raw edges are indeed bound. I did not however put any pockets or elastics on the inside as I always save details like that for when I’m totally sure of my design (maybe next time).

So here’s what I like about it. It holds a LOT and believe me, I really loaded it down! It has a nice soft feel… not stiff at all, and the low, long shape makes it really easy to place in a suitcase. It seems to fit into areas where nothing else would fit, and that’s a good thing! I’m thinking that I might like to experiment a bit with laminated fabric on the inside so any cosmetic spills could be wiped clean pretty easy!

And here’s what carrying this bag for a weekend made me question.

I’m not sure I’m satisfied with the little strap… both the location its in and necessity for it to begin with.

Additionally, these zippers are placed in an asymmetrical way, that’s to say that they aren’t placed so they’re both equidistant from the long side edges of the bag AND, that also means the inside area of the pockets is not the same. I’m normally partial to asymmetrical looks but I’m not totally sold on this particular application. I may try one more sample this way and then make my decision.


And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

I’d love to know what you think of this little storage bag. Does it look like something that would be useful to you? And what storage features would YOU like to see included on the inside? And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either of both in the space provided below.


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38 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. I love it! I wouldn’t need the strap. I would use it without, loading it up for my weekend away. LOVE!

  2. This looks like a great little travel bag or for many other uses. I like the idea of laminated fabric on the inside. I actually like the idea of a handle. Occasionally, I have problems grasping things that are wide and somewhat heavy due to muscle/joint issues and the strap would make that much easier.

    • I’m actually not sold on the strap. I’m debating between it and tabs at the zipper ends, so stay tuned for that? 🙂

      • Maybe make it an option?

        • Due to the construction of the double compartment bag, the strap option is WAY more complicated and difficult to explain or deomonstrate thru drawings than the Tab, so I’ll give it one more try, and then decide, but as of right now, I’m leaning away from a strap.

  3. Maybe present straps and tabs as personalized options?

  4. Maybe put the strap horizontally along one of the long sides? I probably wouldn’t use the strap, but I can see where it might be handy to have. The different sizes of the pockets seems fine to me.

    • Oh I actually like the different sized pockets, but the problem is that it unnecessarily complicates the construction and in particular the instructions for the bag.

    • From a design standpoint, a length-wise strap is not a good option. I’m re-evaluating as I go, but I’m not sold on the end strap idea.

  5. I definitely want to make this. It could even be xmas gifts.

    • These would make fantastic Christmas gifts for women, men AND children. I gave one of the early prototypes to my 8yr old grandson and he has requested another in shark fabric!

  6. A strap or hook on the outside is good. I do long-term camping and often the only place to put my bag in the shower area is a hook on the wall.

    • Thanks, I’ll remember this going forward. 🙂

      • I’m agreeing with the idea of a strap so the bag could be hooked to something else. Another example of the benefit of a strap: If I used the bag as a case for my art supplies (pencils, chalk, erasers) I could hook it to the case for my papers, carrying it externally rather than internally to another larger bag or case.

  7. Paula Nierengarten

    I think the laminated fabric on the inside would be a great idea, or perhaps a vinyl pocket?

    • I’m afraid vinyl could prove to be too bulky in the corner seams. 🙁

      • Try PUL. Wazoodle wholesale. Thin waterproof.

        • I’ve got some PUL I want to try. I like the way the laminate works and I’m not so sure the interior actually needs to be waterproof so much as it just needs to NOT absorb and small amount of liquid that might seep out. It might be a little easier to use than the laminate though, so its worth a try. 🙂

      • How waterproof? Seal the seams? Probably not

  8. I think you mentioned than an asymmetrical design if a little more difficult for design reasons … pattern writing, etc., but one thing I like about the compartments being a different size is that I can remember “little side holds ______” and “big side holds______________,” meaning I will know exactly which side to open to locate something.

    • Oh I agree with you, but it remains to be seen whether we stay with the idea of assymmetrical sized pockets. Sometimes the problems a feature causes overide the benefits, sad to say.

      • I can understand that … learned when writing patterns for my own use (documenting what I want to do vs what I did) … LOL. Practicalities sometimes override the “wish list.” 🙁 Nevertheless, whatever you come up with, I know it’s going to be great. It always is!!!

    • I am a balanced sort of person so I prefer equal sides but I tend to use different colors. Even a different colored zipper pull to mark different uses.

  9. I think the two pocket of siffering sizes is great, so you can put big stuff on one side and smaller items on the other. Definitely would prefer zip tabs over strap.

  10. What about using nylon for the inside of the bag? I have used that for the lining on a few items and it can be wiped down easily.

  11. Hi,
    Love your purse chronicles!
    Sharing my opinion: since I didn’t notice a reference to the size(s) of the items you plan to have, I like the idea that one side of the bad is smaller. If I used this to carry my chargers etc., I would want a small side for earbuds because they tend to get tangled in with more items. Of course, the divider you are going to add might take care of that. Musing on how that will work…will the divider be attached at the bottom of the lining so that items don’t migrate?
    Anyway…eagerly following the creative & construction process.

  12. I use the waterproof fabric that is backing for bibs in some of my bags. It is less bulky and easier to sew.
    I love the looks of the carry all.

    • Thanks Jo Lacy. I’m not familiar with the consistency of that fabric but I’d caution against using it if it will increase the bulkiness of the corner seams. 🙂

  13. Love the design. I would use PUL fabric on either the inside or the outside or both to make it waterproof. PUL fabric is what is used to make diaper covers and “wet bags” for swimsuits.

    • I agree that PUL will probably be a great option for the interior of these little bags, but I dont think I’d recommend it for BOTH the inside AND outside… I’m concerned that could present some sewing issues.