PPC4 – A Rocky Inspiration

(This post is part of a continuing series focusing on the development of a new handbag pattern from its initial conception to it’s release.)

Purse Pattern Chronicles- 4th edition

A Rocky Inspiration
Those of you who have followed our Blog for some time know what our Purse pattern Chronicle series is all about, and truth is, this series has probably been our most successful and guess what? It’s that time again folks! We’ve been working feverishly on a new design and we’re far enough along  now, that it’s time to start the gradual unveiling.  
My usual practice, as I develop a new design, is to think about what my customer might want this season. What might she be wearing? Where might she be going? But I changed it up this time, and for a reason that’s just a little bit selfish. That’s because we’re going on a wonderful trip in August with two of our dearest friends and I was feeling inspired to make myself “the perfect travel bag” to take along with me.

Our vacation will include a wonderful train ride thru the Canadian Rockies
and overnight stay at Lake Lure’s Fairmont Hotel,
A helicopter ride over a glacier,
and maybe even a zip line ride in Vancouver! YIKES!
And here’s the deal…I’ve made plenty of travel bags in my time. I’ve even got a few in my pattern line, but my needs have changed considerably over the past few years. I’ve always carried a camera on trips, but now I’ve got to have room for my little Flip video camera, AND my cellphone. And with the luggage constraints that are in place at the airport now, I try to carry a larger purse on the plane than I used to. And since we don’t have kids traveling with us anymore, our trend seems to lean toward more touring-style vacations, where we might spend a great portion of the day away from our hotel base. So with all this in mind…
Here’s my list of must-have’s(in no particular order, except #1 really is #1)
  • Big enough for at least my small PortaPockets to fit inside. (I may be on vacation, but I STILL want to be organized.)
  • But not too big, I don’t want it so big that it’s cumbersome or heavy to carry when full  (besides, if its big, then it’s too easy for the hubster to store his stuff in there as well, & I don’t want to do that)
  • An adjustable strap. (when I travel,  I like to carry my bag cross-body, but I’d like the option of carrying it as a shoulder bag)
  • A secure spot for my passport
  • An exterior phone pocket (hopefully zippered)
  • An exterior pocket for my camera if possible (for quick access)
  • A main compartment with a zippered closure for security
  • Room on the inside for a fold-up rain poncho and maybe a roll-up reusable tote for impromptu shopping.
  • Room for sunglasses
  • An emergency snack
So what do YOU think? Have I left anything out? 
And stay tuned because in our next post, we’ll be showing you the original sketches for the bag!


Do you know someone who would enjoy this series? Please feel free to pass it on to others at Facebook or StumbleUpon and stay tuned for our next post in this series, where we’ll reveal how this inpiration translated to our preliminary sketches.

23 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. Hi, Love your bags, and in reading your requirements for a new bag, you
    were “spot on”. I have one addition for myself… that is room to carry my
    IPad if needed. This is a must for me for travel, but not an every day
    I love the idea of a secure outside pocket for the cell phone… so you can
    hear it ring!!!
    Thanks for your designs. Mary Ann F

  2. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you’re working on. I like your list. One thing that came to mind that might be a useful accessory is what I’ve done with the roly-nester pattern. I shrunk it way down so that it’s just large enough for two AA batteries and I put a twill tape loop at one end with a snap hook on it. I keep fresh batteries for my camera in there and attach it to the zipper pull on my little bitty camera case. I also made a similar small one with a key ring loop inside it. It is on my keychain and has all of those little plastic discount cards inside it so they aren’t flapping all over the place or cutting into me when the keys are in my pocket. Another thing I’ve been doing with my bags is putting a loop inside with a snap hook for small items like spare keys and flash drives that I don’t want to have to dig for. Hope that helps.

  3. Oh, I forgot the most important part; the trip looks fabulous! Enjoy the anticipation and have a great time!

  4. Well you sure thought of everything, almost. I think an optional secret
    pocket maybe in the bottom for emergency money. I can’t wait for this
    pattern. I love all your patterns.
    Rosemarie N

  5. I personally need a place for a book, or e-reader, and my stitching. What
    about your ipad? Good thoughts, but you didnt cover all the bases. Those
    airport/train waits are for the birds without something to read/stitch.

  6. Just what I need for a trip planned after fist fo the year. I will be
    watching for next update

  7. Oh wow, thanks for all the feedback.
    I think this little bag would easily accommodate a book or a eReader, like a Kindle. No problem there. But I doubt it would hold a full-sized Ipad and definitely not recreational stitching.
    But here’s the deal.
    The main purpose of this bag is to be a perfect sidekick for a vacation type tour. I really didnt intend for it to be a full-sized carryall or a substitute for a handbag AND the additional piece of luggage that airlines let you carry on for free.
    I have a little netbook I like to carry on trips as well, but it doesnt bother me sliding it into my carry on luggage when i board that plane. i can always take it out and use it on the plane or on the bus easy enough.

  8. Amen to the strap long enough to carry cross-body. I just made a Trifecta with the straps lengthened for a friend who wanted it that way. I always want a bag I can carry like that.

    I can’t think of anything to add in terms of features. Can’t wait to see what you’ve got.

  9. This sounds great-can’t wait to see it! I like lots of zippers. One on the main compartment, one on the outside and one on the inside. I lost some medication on a trip outside the country once and it was a big deal to replace it. So extra secure is good for me. Also outside pockets for cell, like you said.

  10. I love the idea of a real travel purse so that’s exciting news. I’ve been trying to find or make the perfect one for awhile now. I have one that comes real close but I’m about to wear it out – I had to patch it before the last trip! 🙂

    One of the additional things I like are a zipper pocket next to my body (to prevent pick pockets) but still allows easy & quick access to frequently needed money, credit cards, etc. – just so I don’t have to dig through all the stuff inside where everyone can see my camera, Kindle, etc.
    I also like a non zippered (open) outside pocket to put my map or guidebook into for easy access after we get somewhere and I can put my tickets in it at the airport. The other thing are a couple elastic bands under the purse that I can slip an umbrella into – these are kind of like hair ponytail bands and don’t really show up unless you’re looking for them.

    I can’t wait to see your latest creation!! Keep up the good work!

  11. How about a bottom pocket for a portable umbrella? Just a tube of fabric to slice a mini one in:)

  12. How about including a zippered change purse, one on a teather so you can
    easily whip it out to buy post cards – which will never be mailed!

  13. You should have an outside pocket for a water bottle.

  14. I’m really glad to see that there’s a lot of interest in a travel bag. And Jonell- I LOVE the idea of the under-the-bag elastics. That’s a very interesting idea!

  15. Take me with you! Just a tip about a competitor’s design-I use Laura
    Martell’s Professional tote as a travel bag and carry-on-has many of the
    features you want. Includes a zipper at the top for complete closure. I
    know you do not copy but your ideas are good for the new design!

  16. Thanks for writing and for your kind words
    I know Laura as she is a fellow North Carolinian. Her Professional Tote pattern is a very good one, but this bag will look nothing like her bag. I think you’ll agree when you see the sketches.

  17. I will be interested to see your design; I have a very utilitarian bag that I use for travel, but it works better and keeps me more organized than other purses or bags. Looks like you’ve thought of some great features and it can be smart-looking, to boot!

    You must be going to take the Rocky Mountaineer; that is my husband’s dream! We live near Calgary, an hour and a half or so from the Rockies, and he really wants to take that trip one day!


  18. Thanks so much and yes indeed, we ARE taking the Rocky Mountaineer train. Won’t be long now… we’re VERY excited!

  19. hi kat. your new travel bag sounds super. you might be interested – my
    current shoulder, cross body bag has a cell phone pocket built into the
    strap, just above the main body of the bag front. it’s zippered and
    velcroed and works a treat. i can send you a pic in a separate email if
    you like, so you can see and maybe adapt one for your bag. love as always

  20. The only things I’d add to your bag design is a place inside to hold a water bottle upright, and a lightly padded pocket for an iPod (sizes from iPod Touch to Nano), plus a fabric loop with a ring near the top of the bag on the inside to clip keys on so that they’re easy to find.

    I’d probably add pockets on the sides of the lining, either with or without zippers depending on what mood I was in when I was sewing.

    Just some of the things I add to the purses and bags that I make.

    Tommie in AZ

  21. Pockets, Pockets, Pockets- we can never have enough of them, can we!
    I love getting these suggestions. thanks a bunch!

  22. How ’bout a small journal to keep notes or thoughts about your trip. And
    Personally two things ALWAYS have to go w me. at least a day’s worth of
    meds and my Kindle.

  23. Just a tiny note: I hope you are staying at Lake Louise not Lake Lure (Lake Louise is in Alberta and according to Goggle, Lake Lure is in North Carolina).