PPC8- The Inspiration

So, here we are… back at “square one” again, at the start of yet another cycle of “Purse Pattern Chronicles“. And this time, it’s Cycle 8! And as usual, we’re kickin’ it off by sharing our INSPIRATION with you!

But in order to explain that, I’ll need to roll the clock back a few months and talk about last summer’s vacation. Some of you might remember that the hubster and I traveled to Amsterdam to enjoy a fabulous river cruise down the Rhine River to Switzerland. And even though the scenery, the food, the company and the ports of call were ALL inspirational, none of these things provided the inspiration for this new bag. That’s because my inspiration was actually something I brought on the trip with me… a backpack! What was the big deal about a backpack you might ask? Well here’s the deal…Backpacks just weren’t popular when I was a kid. As a matter of fact I didn’t even know anyone back then who used a backpack, but of course that’s anything but the case now.

But anyway, for this trip I packed one of those little el cheapo drawstring type backpacks that I picked up for free at a ballpark somewhere. I thought it might be nice to use for those little daytrips away from the boat and you know what? It WAS! I just popped my little Tandem Tote (my favorite travel purse) inside it along with my anarac and a snack and I was all set for the day. I REALLY enjoyed being handsfree and it was so convenient being able to stow small shopping bags in there as well.

But here’s the deal… since I couldn’t sleep on the plane ride back home (due to a choral group of screaming toddlers), I got to thinking… wouldn’t it be awesome if I had a handbag that could ALSO be backpack?

Now don’t get me wrong, I know there have been convertible bag/backpack patterns on the market before, but I promise that the “StudioKat Designs” version will look AND function totally different!

So stay tuned for the next post in the series when we’ll share with you the original sketches of our “fantasy bag” which I plan on giving a full-on test when we take our vacation this summer. Where are we going? (The pictures in this post should give you a really good clue!) Can you guess where?

So, now it’s YOUR turn!

Have you ever carried a backpack purse?

and if so, what feature about it did you enjoy the best or find the most useful?
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26 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. Like you, I enjoyed the hands free aspect when traveling, going to craft/quilt shows and carrying other things. I also liked the ability to carry it as a purse so it did not look as casual as a back pack.

  2. 1. hidden pocktes against pickpockers
    2. a shoulderstrap
    3. place on the upperside for smartphone for easy acces closed with f.i. velcro

  3. Love Jannie’s suggestions. And love your sketch. It looks like a must have.

  4. I haven’t carried a backpack since they were called school bags. I do like to watch your design process and see all the input you get, so this will be fun to watch!

  5. Chris in South Jersey

    You are sooo going to love Venice. I spent a weekend there and that wasn’t nearly enough time to take in the city.

  6. Yes, I purchased a very lightweight back pack for using on my group hiking trips. Well, I found that I end up using it when we travel.
    OK first off many years ago my back pack I was using then (heavy kind) was pick pocketed in Cancun. Luckily, I had nothing of real importance in it. IE sunglasses, hand wipes, kleenex, etc. But that alerted me and I decided I was going to make my bag more difficult to get into and hopefully they would choose another target. I safety pin each zipper on my bag. So if you could have some way of making the closures more secure hurray! Since pinning my zippers no one has picked into it since. I also hate the jumble in the main compartment. Also love the main compartment so I can put lots of things in there.
    Sounds like a challenge! Go for it!

  7. I love it! I travel a lot and in addition to Jannie’s suggestions – a slip pocket on the outside for easy access to a boarding pass. Can’t wait!

  8. Yes, I have a back purse that I made. I love the depth of the bag as I usually carry it at a theme park. What I wish it did have was a larger outer pocket or pouch so I did not have to ‘dig’ when looking for a wallet or sunglasses case.. I would also use a smaller back pack bag on a more regular basis as I don’t normally carry a lot on a day to day treck.

  9. I too like hands free. I don’t do back packs do to the fact they can be easily pick pocketed ?? You don’t really know whats going on behind you ??
    I just read Bette post…….that’s why. I prefer something in front that I can keep on eye on.

    • Well I have noticed the newest trend seems to be to wear your backpack on the FRONT of your body. Don’t know that I’m crazy about that silhouette…. but it would certainly solve the security issues!

  10. As mentioned earlier in the posts, security is a major concern. I never feel secure with a backpack because it is totally out of my sight. So whatever you can do on the security side would be tremendous. the hands free element is tremendous for travel.

  11. I LOVE backpack purses…. but I worry about the security as well. I have ONE that has a vertical zipper pocket on the side that is against your back for security. It also has a top that is kind of u shaped when you look at it from the side. The upper ends of the u shape (on both sides) are how the bag converts from a purse to a backpack. One end is where the handles are attached. the other side has a ring and the two handles go through it and then attach on the bottom back of the bag. The scoop of the u has a zipper. When you put it on as a back pack, that top zipper is hidden inside the folds of the bag. If you would like pictures, let me know, because I know that I’m not explaining it very well. I have actually used this purse which I purchased to draw a pattern and make one myself, but I was not able to find the proper hardware for the straps to hold them at the proper length and I also didn’t use heavy enough stabilizer so it is quite floppy, but I do still use it in the summer time!

  12. Sheila Galindo

    I made the Lazy Girl Designs one a few years back when I went to Alaska. I like that you could change from backpack to over the shoulder, but I also found that the small pouch on the front was too small and not really secure. A zipper pocket on the inside that is easily accessible would be a great addition.

  13. The backpack purse sounds amazing. Can I tell you that I need it yesterday??!! LOL! I carried a backpack style leather purse a long time ago and the only complaint I would have had was that it was too small. I carried as my regular day purse but it would have a great travel purse. I really look forward to this pattern coming!!

  14. I LOVE convertible bags, my favorite one has finally worn out and I’m taking it apart in order to remake one just like it. I’m even recyling all the hardware from it as it is still very usable.

    The one I have is a 3 way in that I can carry backpack, crossbody or as a shoulder bag. It’s made of a tone on tone black woven uphosterly like fabric with a cotton canvas lining – no batting or interfacing which keeps the bag supple enough to convert easily. It has a hidden top zipper and a zip pouch on one side, two zip pouches inside. The straps are made of some type of industrial strengh faux leather as they show very little wear even after 5 yrs. There are a series of small metal D-rings that the straps run through down the sides of the bag. I paid $40 for it at a local department store.

    I love the ‘Mosey’ line of bags, they have nice convertible but I don’t like the closure on it nor the price! Here is a link to see one at Zappos:

    Can’t wait to see your version, I’m sure it will be fantastic!
    Have fun on your trip!
    Ani in Wilmington

  15. Hi,

    Yes, indeed I have used a backpack purse! Actually, I have worn out several. I was a very active bicyclist and a backpack was handy. My first, was purchased from a craft show around 1980, was a floral fabric and I liked that it was functional but feminine. It was not huge, another plus. The straps were made from the same fabric but were not adjustable. I liked that the item did not really look like a commercial backpack. When that first bag got ratty, I bought another from the same craft person and wore that one out too. I liked that I could wash the fabric bags. They zippered open over the top and had one small gusseted pocket on the front. I also used a commercial backpack diaper bag for my twins. Very functional to have both arms free when chasing twins! Also, my husband was fine with carrying it.

    My best friend has a small purse that has a one long handle that is zippered the length of the handle. She can open the handle so it is split in two and then the purse can be worn as a small pack. It is leather and I know she paid a lot that purse.

    So, I don’t think I had any brilliant ideas for you because the best feature of a “purse” backpack is that the person is handsfree.
    What I would like is something that isn’t too big/bulky/clumsy but designed so that I can securely carry my iPad inside, have room for a full size wallet plus on the outside one easy to access pocket for my phone.

    I will enjoy the PPC unfolding!
    Holly M

  16. I like your idea – my daughters use one of those backpack/purse/handbag thingie. However, I’m big busted, old, have problems getting into a coat, so trying to get to the items in one of those things, just would not be a pretty sight. (Guess I should add “stout” to my description.)

    I also like lots and lots of pockets (not open)or zippered dividers & sections so I can find things quickly such as pills, pens, eyeglass cases – yes I carry 2!, wallet, change wallet – different from wallet, keys – don’t like those in the bottom of the bag, have two sets, cell phone (always off but need to get to it), tissues, receipts, etc. So when I find a bag, I use it until it falls apart.

    Love your pocket dividers, however, need more space & closed sections. Some of the pockets are too small.

    I use a shoulder bag which doesn’t stay on the shoulder, always slides off. I have “short shoulders”, so for a long day it goes criss-cross. Now that’s not a pretty sight either! 😀

  17. Years ago I made myself a backpack purse which was a 3/4 scale version of Pineapple Appeal’s mesh nylon back pack. (http://www.pineappleappeal.com/Bags.html) Of course, I used pretty fabric, not nylon mesh. What I loved about this was that the straps (shown as cord in the picture, I made mine wider, therefore more comfortable) could be slung over the shoulder or separated & worn as a true backpack. There is NO way for a pickpocket to get into this. My version was large enough to put my simple lunch in the bottom, other necessities on top of the lunch & my hands were free to take notes, since I designed it for the in-the field college courses I was taking at the time. I also incorporated inside & outside pockets, some secret, others not.

  18. CharliAnn Olney

    Since I use crutches and/or a wheelchair on a regular basis (i.e. all the time) backpacks and crossbody purses are essential to me. When I make a purse, I always make extra long straps for cross-body. (I do make wristlets for church or special occasions, tho). My I want pockets! inside and out! I want my smart phone and Tablet accessible! Boarding pass reachable without dropping my crutch. And most important easy on and off, and if I can also wear it cross body I’ll be in HEAVEN!

  19. Like Gabriele I’m short, narrow shouldered and big busted. I’m going to go with pleasingly plump also. I would love a back back that goes across the body but fastens in the front with velcro or parachute clips. The straps need to be adjustable enough to go over a coat in winter too.
    You’re going to love Venice. I could have spent hours in the Jewish ghetto alone, just letting the walls tell their stories.

  20. I also want to weigh in on the design. There are a few design aspects others have mentioned that I’d like to voice also. The ability to convert it to a cross body and/or shoulder bag would be fabulous. From what I can tell, it looks like you have already included that. Making it very challenging for pickpockets to get into would be great also. The zippers don’t have to be hidden to accomplish this, having them all in close proximity or loops near them works also. I run a carabineer clip through the zipper pull part of the zipper then through another zipper pull that is close or a loop that is handy on several backpacks we have. Double zippers like are on the main compartment of many backpacks also work very well. Of course there is the quick easy access pocket for phones and keys. Something I have not seen mentioned, the flatter against the back it lays the better. I have owned several barrel shaped ones that are so uncomfortable. Wide adjustable straps would be a plus too. I am a plus size person and find that many backpack type bags don’t have straps long enough to fit comfortably, especially over a coat. In short, I’d like to see a pattern as close the Baggallini’s Brussels bag as you can get without copyright issues. It offers the shoulder bag, cross body and backpack style in one bag. It is designed so it has room without being puffy. It is also appears to be very quick to convert from one style to the other.

    I can’t wait to see the finished pattern!


  21. Thanks ever so much for all of the thoughtful comments and suggestions. I may not have commented on every one of them, but I have read them all and taken notes.
    Do stay tuned as this pattern continues to develop.


  22. Just had an idea, i like all the other comments, my thought was could the place for the phone be in the strap it would be close so you could get to it and if it had a zipper or a flap with velcro it would not fall out. it might even have an other small pocket for your keys close at hand, not looking all over for your keys because they are always at the bottem of your purse for some reason LOL

  23. What I’ve taken away from this post is that inspiration needs to be acted upon. You had the idea last year, this year it is becoming more than a thought. I love that you act on your inspirations!