PPC4- ‘Suitable’ to Carry

(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.)

So, as promised in our last post, we started the process of adding features to this particular sample, and we’ll go over what we like and also what we don’t like about each. Features added to this particular sample are as follows:   

  • an interesting Flap area secured with hidden, invisible sew-in magnets. 
  • a curved pocket to be placed behind the Flap area.
  • a secure zippered pocket to back side of Bag.

But first, if you’re a fan of this series, you know that I never pull out my good fabric at this stage of the game, and this time was no exception. For this sample, I used some old suiting fabric I got on a discount table for next to nothing at Hancock’s last year. As it turned out, it wasn’t a particularly good choice for the long haul, but because of it, I discovered and was able to correct a  potential design flaw. More about this later.       🙂

But before we go into the features of this bag, we need to share the REALLY big news concerning this particular sample, was our usage of Soft & Stable, a brand new stabilizing material which we used in place of our usual stabliizer of choice, fusible fleece, and the verdict is…

It’s fantastic! We love the way it feels, the way it supports our bag and how easy it is to work with. It’s definitely a keeper, but we’ll probably include directions for using the fusible fleece for those that are skeptical, or just can’t find this product in a store near them. 

Overall, we were pretty pleased with this,
our 1st complete sample

So… here’s my first true prototype for this design. Since its my practice to physically carry an early prototype for a week or so, and since the fabric I dragged out for this sample was pretty dull, I decided to jazz up the Flap of this particular sample with my creative piecing technique, outlined in our eBook; RockStar Piecework. It only took me 45 extra minutes to change this exterior from blah to wow. It’s EASY, believe me!

This Flap has a deep zippered pocket, maybe too deep for some of the items I like to carry here (I may have to rethink this). Additionally, we opted to use fusible fleece in the Flap instead of Soft & Stable as we were a bit concerned that it would cause bulk issues at the top of the bag. I regretted this decision though, because the Flap seemed flimsy & almost fragile in comparison to the rest of the Bag.

And here’s a look at the zippered main compartment. I still love the look of the curved zipper, but this installation proved to be VERY challenging. It looks fine, but I’m going to need to do some serious re-designing in this area for next time. There’s GOT to be an easier way to get this LOOK!

Here’s the back zippered pocket area. Once again, this is a very deep pocket, but I like it this way on the back side of the bag. It’s a great place to carry larger items.

And here’s your first look at the exterior Phone pocket. There’s one on each side of this bag and they zip shut for extra security. As you can see, the pocket is plenty tall enough for my phone. FYI- I carry a Motorola Droid, which is one of the larger phones on the market right now, and this pocket easily holds it. I’ve used these pockets for my Sony camera, my Flip Video Camera, and even for my lipstick and eyedrops. All my items were held securely & at no time has anything fallen out.

The only thing is… that after carrying this bag for ~3 weeks, the bottom seam of our Phone Pockets pulled loose from the Bag Body. NOT GOOD! Admittedly, the loose weave of the fabric we chose was probably a contributing factor, but nevertheless, we will be making a modification in this area as well for next time.

And here’s one of my favorite things about this design. This curved pocket area is a terrific spot to store valuables like a Passport and plane tickets. The contents of this pocket are secured by the Flap AND by invisible sew-in magnetic snaps which are a breeze to install!

I did run into a little problem while carrying this prototype though, that being that the content of the curved pocket sometimes came between the magnets, interfering with the attraction, but I know how I’ll address that in our next sample.

And finally, here’s the bag interior, which is large enough to easily accomodate the smaller of the PortaPockets Purse Inserts.
You can’t tell from this picture, but I DO NOT like the way I installed the lining for this sample, which resulted in some bulk issues at the top of the bag, nor do I like the way I designed the interior pockets on the lining sidewall. These are easy fixes.

So, here’s what I know now…
     I LOVE this bag. 
                 I love the way it feels, and the way it looks. 
                 It may be, even with the faults listed above, one of my absolute favorites!

And, here’s what’s left to fix…
     1) add a short, flat pocket within the Flap pocket to make it easy to find important smaller items.
     2) Add Soft & Stable to the Flap.
     3) Redesign the interior pockets in lining wall.
     4) Redesign the way the lining itself is to be installed.
     5) Change the design and seam width at the bottom of both of those Phone Pockets.
     6) And toughest of all- redesign the installation of the curved zipper area to reduce bulk and to make it easier to install.
     7) On a lighter note-  To my chagrin, I found that there were so many dad-blame different pockets in this design, that even I couldn’t keep track of them as I was sewing this sample up. They will all need to be renamed and labeled for the next sample.

So… how does this first prototype measure up to the sketches from our last post? What say you now? I would LOVE to hear your comments!


Do you know someone who would enjoy this series? If so, please feel free to re-tweet it, or pass it on to others via Facebook or StumbleUpon and stay tuned for our next post in this series, where we’ll unveil the next sample in Purse Pattern Chronicles 4.

26 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. I am loving this series. Thank you! I like the features I see on this particular bag a lot.

  2. I can’t wait for this bag to be released. We move from Okinawa to another country late fall and I hope I can make it before we start our long journey.

  3. I just love it!!! It has everything I look for and rarely find all in one bag. Pockets and zippers and more pockets and zippers. plenty of room without being bulky, one adjustable strap and I love the shape. And what I may love best of all is all the room there is to play with embellishments. I can hardly wait to get my hands on it!

  4. Wow, there is a ton of detail to this bag! Love the shape of the bag and can’t wait to see the final product.

  5. WOW, this is turning out evcen more exciting than I originally thought it would…..great job making pockets for everything! I want on the list to purchase this one as soon as possible!

  6. I’m so glad you are pleased with it so far. I REALLY enjoy carrying this bag and I think you will as well!

  7. Kat,

    I’m just catching up on old emails…and doing it backwards. Love the new bag. It reminds me of the “bucket” bags that were so popular when I was in high school. Same general shape, but with overlapping flaps to close. The zipper is soooo much better.

    I’ve always loved bucket bags and look for them in vain. Thanks for making a pattern….and how about multiple sizes?????

    Tommie in AZ

  8. This may be a stupid question but, what kind of zipper are you using? It looks smoother than the zippers that I have. However I have a large collection of metal zippers from my Mother in law and these look diferent.
    Kathleen T

  9. Thanks for writing kathleen.
    These zippers were especially made for us and i LOVE them! The black and white stripe is the best neutral I have ever worked with and they really are a pleasure to work with! We carry them in 6 different sizes. Try em, I don’t think you will be disappointed!

  10. The bag looks great and I do love the curved zipper so good luck- also just
    got some Soft and Stable and am anxious to try it. It is so interesting to
    follow you as you develop the pattern!

  11. I just wanted to give you some feedback on your blog series in which you follow your design ideas to their conclusion – I love them! I find it fascinating to see your processes toward completion of a brand new pattern!

  12. It’s a great looking bag but also looks difficult to sew.

    Georgianne R

  13. Thanks for writing Georgianne
    I’m struggling with this main zipper area right now, but but I’ll have it worked out soon!
    Stay tuned and see how we resolve this!

  14. Hi Kathy, this bag is looking pretty dang good! The first post the bag did not look like much but after your modifications and seeing all the pockets (love the side zipper pockets) it seems it is going to be a winner. I am curious to the approx. size of the bag. It looks rather large in the pictures but you wrote that the smaller PortaPockets Purse Inserts fit it. And the flap is awesome. I have some small mostly square fabric panels I got a few years back that are just gorgeous and have been waiting to use them for something special. I think thing bag may just be it!
    Have not heard of the soft and stable until now. Guess I will have to try it.
    Thanks for the preview of the pattern!

  15. Thanks for the nice comments DonnaRae!
    This bag is 9.5″ wide X 9″ tall X 3.75″ broad. Just big enough to accomodate the PortaPockets. For me, this is the perfect travel size, especially since it can be worn cross-body.
    Stay tuned as it evolves!

  16. Love the look of it, Kathy, and know you will have all the “bugs” worked out for us very soon–looking forward to this! You are amazing!! Rosalee

  17. Would there be a concern about the magnets and our phones, etc I am overly
    cautious about magnets I guess.

  18. I have carried a prototype for this bag for quite a few weeks now and have had NO problem with magnets and my credit cards or my phone.

    I wouldn’t place either within the Flap storage, as that’s where the Magnets are, but The phones pockets really aren’t anywhere near the magnets anyway.


  19. I am loving this bag and can’t wait for it to be ready for sale. You seem
    to have solved a lot of problems and the bag looks so professional – not
    homemade. Thanks again for a great bag. I am glad you moving away from
    using binding to finish the bag.

  20. This purse looks wonderful! I wonder about the zipper on the phone pocket coming unzipped (although you must not have had a problem). Would it be possible to have an option of a wider version? I have to carry an extra pair of glasses, medicine and an inhaler plus lots of tissues in addition to the usual purse stuff.

  21. I know from a non-designers standpoint, it can SEEM easy to just widen a bag a bit, but bbelieve me, even small changes can effect proportion in a LOT of different areas. It can also effect the way a bag hangs and holds up. One small change can literally snow ball into a month of extra work.

    There really is quite a bit of extra room in this bag. I would advise that you wait just a bit and see how the process plays out before assuming that it will be too small for your needs. With all of the storage options, it really does function like a bigger bag than it is. 🙂

  22. Wow!! I think this one is great. I have like all of them, but this really
    looks classy too. My cousin works in a high end law Office in Marina del
    Rey, and would love this one when you get the pattern finished. Do you
    think it would be too hard for a novice sewer? Joan

  23. What great R & D you are doing on this bag! I enjoy seeing what you are doing and reading about why and how.

    Even if only the Porta Pockets fit into it, the additional pockets and storage areas in the purse itself will add storage space and organization for other items. The overall purse size is similar to a travel bag I already have which, though I don’t usually put my big oblong wallet in it, has enough pockets and slots to accommodate everything I need for travel.

    I wondered about the phone pockets and whether the phone might fall out the top of the zipped pocket if you bent over. I’ve been known to lose things in such a manner!

    Looking forward to the next step!

  24. Thanks for commenting. Here’s the deal about the Phone Pockets. The zippers in the sides make for a rather snug fit at the top of the pocket. I have never had ANYTHING fall out of these pockets, where I have had that happen in bag with exterior elasticized pockets for phones.
    I really dont think the phone would fall out if you turned the bag up side down and shook it. As a matter of fact- i may try that! 🙂

    Thanks again for your interest!

  25. I love everything about this bag. The pockets, the zippers, the size and shape. I have been looking at your bags for a long time, but haven’t made the plunge to buy a pattern. I’ve concentrated on quilts and thought about making bags. This is the one I want to be my first cool bag. I can’t wait ’til it is available. Thanks for working so hard to work out any issues.

  26. This is for ME!! All my favorite leather pocketbooks look like this. I’m loving the blog about development and can’t wait for the pattern to be available.