PPC20: The Gorilla Sample


in our last post in this, our 20th cycle of Purse Pattern Chronicles we showed you the 1st prototype of what will eventually be our new pattern for Fall 2019. And if you’ve been with us for any of our other 19 cycles of Purse Pattern Chronicles then you know that what generally comes next is our “Gorilla sample”, but it occurs to me that some of our newer customers may not be familiar with that term and what it means.

So 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 any of the bag features or functionality I like to know about it as soon as possible. If the bag opening needs to be wider, or if the silhouette needs to be 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, and it just might start your day off with a smile!

So… with all the preliminaries out in the open, let’s talk about this, the “gorilla sample” for our new design which as of yet is unnamed.

First off, if you’re thinking this fabric looks familiar then you would be RIGHT! I’ll tell you more about this yummy fabric and why I’m using it again at the end of this post, but first… let’s talk about this sample! You might remember that this is the very first bag we’ve created that actually has NO permanently sewn-in ring attachments. Instead, there are four pass-thru tabs on this bag (two on top and one on each side), and the gate rings can be attached in any combination depending on how YOU want to carry this bag! The sample above is set up to be a shoulder bag.

There’s nice deep zippered pocket on the back side of the bag which is perfect for a wide variety of items and since this pocket will be hidden close to you body in ALL carrying variations, its the perfect place for you passport or any other sensitive items.

And of course we included a “secret niche” area because it’s only the best ever place to carry your phone since you can totally hear it when it rings AND it’s quick and easy to grab it when it does!  🙂

And here’s a peek at the interior of the zippered pouch area. And just so you know, I dug out the widest wallet in my extensive repetoire of wallets  (it’s 7 5/8″ wide) to make sure it could be housed in this area, so it should be able to handle pretty much any wallet YOU have!

BUT… since this is the “GORILLA” sample…

Remember that the whole idea is to carry it for a while and make sure it’s functioning OK! But guess what?

It WASN’T and it DIDN’T! 

Yikes, I know! Because within the first hour of carrying this sample (particularly in the shoulder bag mode), it became painfully obvious that the “secret niche” area just wasn’t going to stay snapped closed. This was kinda surprising to me. As a matter of fact I was pretty much thinking that this sample was practically perfect in EVERY way, but this is really the whole premise behind the “gorilla sample” round, because after all, I’d whole lot rather find out about this problem NOW than from 38 customers 2 weeks after the pattern is released.

So… it’s back to the drawing board for us, but after 40 some odd designs I think I have a good idea of what I need to do to fix this flaw so stay tuned for the next post in the series to see how we handle it! In the meantime, here’s some information about the fabric we used for this sample which looks just as amazing on this design as it did on the Bangle Buddie in the last round of Purse Pattern Chronicles.

But even though it’s always been my policy to never EVER use the same  fabric twice, I made an exception here for two reasons… 1) This is the gorilla sample, which means that I’ll be carrying this bag myself for a while to test the design… and 2) since this sample is destined to be mine, I decided to finally choose a fabric I really loved for a change!

This border print was designed by Jason Yenter for In the Beginning Fabrics and its called DreamScapes II.

SO, if you love this fabric, here’s some GREAT news! We’re carrying it on our website NOW! Just click HERE to find out more information and to pick up some yardage for YOUR next project or to duplicate this look when the pattern is released!


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!


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16 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. I love the design and will probably buy it when it is released.

  2. Of course I like it, and I always love many different pockets and compartments like these.
    But something goes wrong for me, on the way the strap is attached.
    It seems like it needs some kind of balance to keep the bag straight!
    I am sure you will make it perfect at the end!!!
    I can’t wait to see the final design!!

    • Hmmm, not sure I understand, but Maybe a picture isnt quite set up as it should, or maybe something is lost in translation. Either way, stay tuned. it’ll all work out! 🙂

  3. Love the look and size of this bag. In the zippered area is there slots for cards etc. Save having to take a wallet as well.

  4. Barbara Ballard

    I think I see what Katerina means. The picture of the crossbody version looks whopperjawed. Meaning it’s not hanging right in the picture, and we can’t tell where the strap coming around the back is fastened. Otherwise I love it. Crossbody or shoulder would be the way I would wear it. Love the size for when you don’t need a big purse.

  5. The pictures on my iPad are not facing up and down properly so it makes it difficult to view them. For example the pics of you standing up go left side to right side instead of up & down. I tried to turn my head and for what I can see I like it and will purchase it once you make whatever improvements you come up with. Love all your bags!

  6. Bobbie A Greiner

    I’m looking forward to the final result as I really like this bag! But I love most of your bags and will buy when it’s ready.

  7. The anchor for the shoulder strap should be move to the other side of the bag, the side without the zipper.
    I think it would hang better and be better balanced.

  8. As always I would appreciate a clip to secure my keys inside the bag. Otherwise I love the size. Have you thought of adding a small wallet too. Do you have a pattern for a small wallet. I’ll have to check it out

  9. I would really like two separate zip pockets inside, one for full size paper money and another for coins. Right now I carry only a small paper money size zippered container. I have a small mesh bag inside for coins. It also can hold my credit card and driver’s license in the main paper money area. It’s about the size of a wallet but way less bulky. I can easily see the paper money because it’s not folded! Over the years my purse has gotten smaller and smaller!

  10. Maria del Mar McCready-Legg

    I think you’ve been reading my mind! I would like a cross body/waist pack/sling and I think you’re on the right track. The main area opening up is the only real issue for me. Maybe a hidden zipper? Magnets?

    The size looks perfect!

    I sometimes add hidden wallet or pockets myself when the pattern doesn’t have it but maybe add them for optional add ons.

  11. I like it, but think the gate rings are a bit too big for the size of the bag.

    I liked the suggestion of the handle attachments being catty-corner, in the front on one side end and on the back at the opposite side end. Years ago I had a bag with the handle set up like that and I really liked it.

    • Hi Karol– thanks for commenting! Please see the comment I left for Sharon D (above) for other options that might be of interest to you. And i agree with you on the strap arrangement. I enjoy carrying my bag cross body with one strap attached on the top and one attached on the side because it keep the bag steady at my side instead of migrating annoyingly to the front of my body. If you want to set up your straps permanently this way and avoid the use of gate rings entirely this would certainly be an option for you. 🙂

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