PPC7: Testing in Pin Stripes

(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… in our last post in this series we showed you the first exterior shell (sans lining) for our new design, and while we were relatively satisfied with the result, there was a long laundry list of items we wanted to change or tweek in this, our next sample.

It’s hard to believe that this will be the seventh edition of the Purse Pattern Chronicles series, and if you’ve been thru any of the last few cycles with us, then you might remember that I always claim the 1st complete sample (with lining and fully-functioning features) as MINE. That’s because I like to test a new design as early in the process as I can, because the only way to really know if a design is going to function well and hold up to use, is to USE IT under normal circumstances for as long as possible. So… flaws and all, I’ll be claiming this bag and finding out where the strengths and weaknesses are in the coming weeks! 

The Bag Front

So at first glance, you may notice that we added decorative Tabs (with buttons) to the Bag Front. They seem to work since this exterior fabric is rather boring plain. Time will tell if we keep this detail or not.

Additionally, we made the double-zippered credit card area a bit narrower than the 1st sample and I’m happier with these proportions. Additionally, this area snaps shut with one of our invisible magnets. I like the extra security this provides for my cards.

So did you notice that I used two different fabrics in this area? That’s because I wanted to try using laminated fabric for the credit card holder INSTEAD of interfacing, but didn’t have enough for the side areas. (Remember: Fabric choice is a low priority at this stage of the process.)

The Verdict? Laminated fabric is a terrific substitute for using interfacing! And I’m not sure I like the Tabs. This exterior fabric is boring plain, so in this case the Tabs added a bit of visual interest, but with more interesting fabric, I’m not sure they will be necessary.

The Closure Area
And since security is the buzzword for this design, a zippered closure was an obvious choice. I decided to see how the closure would look if it was placed lower within the bag itself.
The Verdict?
Nay! I’m not crazy about this positioning. It eats up potential storage area and the zipper is hard to handle when it’s placed this deep within the bag.

The Bag BackIn our last post we told you we’d be playing around with the features on the backside, and we weren’t kidding! Here’s what we did;
1) added an invisible magnetic snap here as well to secure the pocket contents.

2) added two side flanges which overlap onto the pocket. You might remember from our last post, that I thought I would like this sliver of lining peeking out, but guess what?… I don’t. So in our next sample I’m going back to the one-piece back pocket.

3) changed the design of the bag sides so that the top and bottom zipper seam is now the same height as the front and back pocket. (My thinking is that this would open up some interesting color blocking opportunities which I will pursue in upcoming samples with fabrics that are a LOT more fun!)

The Bag Interior
You might remember that our last sample was just an exterior shell, (no lining), and because of the concealed carry option for this bag, there are actually TWO separate and distinct interior storage areas.

At left, you can see the main interior storage area, which I am finding to be VERY ample in size for all the normal stuff I routinely carry each day.

The Concealed Storage Area
And here’s our first stab and your first peek at the special interior concealed area. As you can see, this zippered pocket is accessible from either side of the bag, which is important, since some women carry their bag on their right shoulder and some on their left.

The Verdict?
I’m very happy with the access to this area as well as the overall capacity, however, I’m not at all happy about the way I installed it. So…there will be some serious modifications to the construction process in this area for the next sample.

So in conclusion…
Along with the changes documented above there’s a host of notch placements and minor template adjustments to make for the next sample, but lucky for me I have a trusty sidekick who sticks with me for each and every step of the process!

And now…
We’d love to hear some feedback from you!
Do you like what you’ve seen so far?
Have we overlooked something?  
Now it’s YOUR turn to play designer!

Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions in the space provided below and stay tuned for our next post in this series when our new design continues to develop!

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28 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. It is fun to watch this process. I like the use of laminates for the credit card pockets…great idea. I personally think the buttons make the bag look ‘homemade’ as opposed to handcrafted. I would not use them if I was using this pattern. Love the polka dotted zipper!

  2. Looks good, and I agree with your comments on the zipper being too deep, and the secret storage space.

  3. So when you raise the top zipper closing and add a magnet to the back storage area, will you also make the back storage area deeper so that it will still accommodate a Kindle, IPad, etc.?

    I agree about the depth of the zipper. I will always take more interior space. Haven’t decided about the decorative tabs. Depending on fabric choice, they could make a bold statement or they could be over the top. Perhaps you could leave them in the pattern as an optional embellishment?

    • Well…. yes and no.
      When I raise the top zipper closure, it will make room on the INSIDE of the bag for an iPad OR it will still fit in the back pocket. I wouldnt recommend using a magnet closure though if an iPad is going to be stored in there. 🙂

  4. Love the bag, hate the buttons!

  5. Barbara in Muncie

    I don’t think the stripe fabric is too plain/boring. I think it makes it more neutral, so that you aren’t constantly having to change purses if they don’t “go” with your outfit. Hate the button tabs.

  6. I’m intrigued by the design so far. Do the credit cards stick to the laminate? For the concealed area, you could (maybe) write the directions so the user could decide which side to install the access on, instead of having two.

    • Good question. No, actually, the cards do not “stick” to the laminate at all, BUT I do think the laminate “holds” on to them a little better, (if that makes sense).
      And the the directions WILL be written so that the user can decide if she want one or both of the caddys in their bag. 🙂
      As a matter of fact, one could put Caddys on the back of the bag as well if they liked. 🙂

  7. I agree that the fabric is boring, but I have to remind myself sometimes (like when buying scarves or such for gifts) that there are those who really like boring — I mean, neutrals/bland/ugly. However, you redeem yourself with the delightful colorful surprise inside! Thanks for the insight.

  8. When evaluating a purse design for my use, I look for easy access to the things I’m usually digging for – cards, phone, keys, sunglasses and pen. Love the card pocket on this purse, it holds more than most. Back pocket great for phone and keys.

    I love the side flanges on the back pocket. I like tall narrow pockets for a pen or a place to stash sunglasses quickly. Please consider leaving them as an option, they are so much more interesting than just sewing seams through the large pocket to make smaller ones and make the back look a bit like the front minus the zippers. If one did not like the look of the lining showing, they could be lined in the same fabric as the exterior.

    I would probably use the concealed pocket to carry my kindle if it is large enough. I could carry the charging cord in there too and it would not get tangled up in the general ‘stuff’ in the main part of my purse.

    I do like the zipper being below the top of the bag, but agree this one is a bit too low.

    Thank you for doing what you do Kat, I’ve been making my own purses for years but only use your designs since discovering your site. Others just don’t measure up!

  9. I know you’re using “whatever” for the outside but I love the way the color of the linings pop out. Makes for excellent photos of concept. I like the bag design but it looks too tall for the width for me. I think it violates the “golden rectangle” rule…

  10. I’d still like to see a pen holder next to the credit cards.

  11. Kat,
    I just looked at several concealed carry purses yesterday. Each had a wide and tall piece of Velcro sewn on the main body side of the compartment.
    This allowed the instrument to be placed inside a “holder” that Velcro’d in place to keep it from bouncing around inside the compartment.
    One of them also had the compartment accessible from the top and was held shut with a magnet (the magnet looked to be about 3/4” x 1”).
    I thought the Velcro was a great addition and from your pics it appears I could add it with very minor adjustments. I personally thought the
    opening from the top was what I would like, most CC purses do not have that feature.
    I’m really excited to see your finished project! This will be a gotta have purse for me!
    Thank you for the updates, it makes us feel “included” and builds the excitement for the release!

    • Thanks for your comments Leta. I’m sure I will use Velcro on the interior of the concealed compartment. I didnt want to mess with that just yet until I get the compartment design the way I want it, so stay tuned for that?

  12. Hello Kathy,
    I am watching the process on this bag closely, as it has some features and styling that is very appealing to me.
    When I saw the tabs….I wondered if they could be functional: a bit longer (left to right) and positioned a bit higher, to cover the zipper tab. Perhaps secure the tabs with those magnetic snaps? I like the idea of being able to add decorative detail via the tab, but right now I am thinking the tab/button next to the zipper is too fussy. Of course, if the tabs are not functional, then someone could just leave them out when sewing (I would be one of those…)

  13. So far I really like your design, except for the front credit card pocket. I never use this feature, I much prefer to keep my cards in my wallet, that I always carry. Sometimes in a rush to change bags I forget to transfer some items – never my wallet. So, as a suggestion, could you perhaps have an alternate front for those of us who need a secure place to carry our Kindles – I-Pad – whatever.

    • Thanks for commenting Marilyn and I really appreciate your viewpoint. However, the front credit card section is really a very complicated piece of designing, so It’s unlikely that I’ll be adding another option, since it would make an already large set of instructions and templates even larger.
      I understand where you’re coming from but I’m afraid this is probably one instance where I just can’t make a bag all things to all people.
      (It happens, but maybe our next design will be more to your liking!) 🙂
      Thanks for presenting this viewpoint though!

    • Your answer makes sense, btw your design is very much to my liking. Really enjoy watching the process.


  14. I actually like the color and think it dresses up the bag a bit and adds to its versatility. Personally, no to the buttons and yes to raising the center zipper some. I think this will be an outstanding organizer bag that doesn’t scream ORGANIZER! Your designs are awesome!

  15. Love the concealed pocket! Good job!

  16. I like the looks of the bag, but for me I have to stay with larger bags; two pairs of glasses, wallet, cosmetic bag, phone, checkbook, small card case, inhaler, etc. however your bag looks appropriate for my minimalist girls—Denise S

  17. I am really liking this bag! I like the zippered front, and the zippered top. Yes it is too low, but you can fix that. I think the novelty fabric will be great with this one. Thanks.

  18. I am not fond of the button tabs and yes the zipper is too low. I love your patterns. I have bought several and I do find some directions a little hard to understand. My favorite bag of all time is your Quattro. Wonderful bag.

    Thank you for all your hard work.

  19. PLEASE raise the interior zipper. I want to be able to carry my DayTimer with me and when you first mentioned the dementions of the bag I was excited because I knew you were finally makeing a shoulder bag big enough for my DayTimer! Then, you cut the space by putting the zipper so deep? Nah! I am glad you don’t like it either, please make it lots “shallower”. My “life” is in that book – I could lose my smart phone and not have as much panic as losing my DayTimer!!

  20. I just found this blog post.. I was searching for a pattern to make a concealed weapon bag pattern.. I really like this one. I would consider it very much to buy it.. I don’t care much for the card pocket on the front. I do not like the idea of my cards exposed to slip out from the top like that.. I do like the pocket there though as for sunglasses!
    Not a fan of zipper closure on top but do like this one. maybe a slot on the side of the inside for a extra clip for the conceal weapon?
    this is a great idea for a bag!!! will follow future posts!