PPC22: The 1st Gorilla Sample


in our last post in this, our 22nd cycle (can you believe it?) of Purse Pattern Chronicles, I showed you the 1st prototype for our next pattern design. If you recall, I was reasonably pleased with the 1st prototype I made so I went ahead and made a complete set of templates (including interior options) and made up the “Gorilla” sample. 

Now if you’ve been following any of our previous cycles of Purse Pattern Chronicles, then you know by now that I like to carry the first complete sample that I make of any new design for a week or two just to find out if there are “issues” with functionality because I like to know about these 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 immediately! 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.

So this is the Bag Front. It was my original intention that this bag have a zippered closure to the main storage area, and also a zippered pocket on the Bag Front AND Back. But since I also know that having a zipper on any BackPack exterior that’s facing the public is a security risk, I’m deliberately making the pattern pieces used for the Bag Front & Back as well as the both sides of the interior completely interchangeable. So…

  • if you prefer a flat front exterior in order to show off a large & lovely panel print… you can do that, or…
  • If you would rather have two zippered pockets on the bag interior… and NO pockets on either the Bag Front OR Back, you can do that.
  • the choice is completely YOURS!

As much as love the pocket options this bag affords, there’s another feature I ALSO love! And that would be how our beautiful zipper can be “unzipped” to instantly provide the straps that allow you to carry this bag as a backpack! Of course if you prefer to carry this bag as a shoulder or as a cross-body bag you need only zip up the zipper and snap both hooks into the same D-ring. (I’ll show you picture of these options in an upcoming post, so do stay tuned for that?)

But… because this is a “gorilla sample, and if were thinking that there were some things I was NOT particularly happy about with this design… then you would be RIGHT

First off– as a lover of curvy shapes as opposed to angular ones, I thought these curved strap holders would be more pleasing to the eye than would straight edges and I actually loved this look! So what’s the problem? The problem was for some reason, this curved edge was really tough. It was almost impossible to get one side to look like the other (even for me, and I LOVE sewing up curved edges), so I knew it was going to be a source of great frustration for many of our customers and would need to be changed! 

But that’s not all!!!

As much as I loved the look of these straps, I need to make a major adjustment because the the bag is riding too low on my back (and also on my model’s back above) even though the straps are adjusted as short as possible. It’s an easy fix though and I’ll correct that in the next round!

And finally, and probably most importantly… there just looked to be something about the proportions of this sample that seemed off… maybe its  something in the overall silhouette? Or maybe the ratio between the upper and lower bag is “off”. Either way it looks like this many significant changes calls for us to make yet another “gorilla sample” in order to get on top of this between now and the next post in this series, so do stay tuned, OK?  

And now…. it’s YOUR turn!

How do YOU feel about this new design? I know we’ve got a few kinks to work out, but assuming we do, would it this style of bag be of interest to you? And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.

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  1. Dawne on July 6, 2020 at 6:41 am

    I really like this bag. I like the idea of interchangable straps to carry however you want. Will be waiting to see the changes you make. What does the inside look like?? Or did I miss something! 🙂

    • Kat on July 6, 2020 at 6:44 am

      Good question Dawne

      As of today (7/5/20) there is a lining on the inside, but no other interior details. I never concentrate on interior details until I get the exterior silhouette and piecing settled. 🙂 Stay tuned for more.

  2. Carla on July 6, 2020 at 6:44 am

    I love this bag design.

    • Kat on July 6, 2020 at 6:45 am

      Thanks Carla- It’s still a work in progress. 🙂

  3. Deb Tabert on July 6, 2020 at 9:38 am

    I’m loving the options you’re talking about! I might actually try this as a backpack!

    • Kat on July 6, 2020 at 10:00 am

      I’m with you on this. I’m not normally a backpack fan either but so many of our customers are that we design backpack patterns for them. But I actually enjoy carrying this bag myself. It’s lightweight, maybe thats why?

  4. barb reeves on July 6, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Absolutely love the ability to split the handle into a backpack design!! Soooo clever!! And the optional zips front or back. Sweet choices!
    I know that if I have the carry space, I will fill it up with stuff. Would love to see, maybe in the future, the Walkabout Wallet or the Wrapsody with ability to make them into a backpack. Maybe I’ll have to make the Walkabout to fit inside your new design and only put one zipper in to access the wallet. That might work to keep me from putting too much in the new design.
    Now to stop knitting for a while and get sewing!!

    • Kat on July 7, 2020 at 5:46 am

      I’m so glad to hear you are excited about our new design. Thanks for writing!

  5. Robyn Harrison on July 6, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    I just love everything you design…..this one looks fabulous…..but I would make the bag handle so it doesn’t stay upright when not needed….it seems to stick out out due to its size……I would have the handles attached to the bag using rectangle rings so it collapses down when not in use…..but that’s just me……looking forward to more design pics…..so so love your work….to date I have 10 of your bags made and using them alternately…..even if I have to wait weeks for your pattern to arrive down here in Australia….it is most certainly worth the wait.

    • Kat on July 7, 2020 at 5:49 am

      Thanks so much for your kind words & I’m really glad to hear you’ve enjoyed making bags with our patterns! 🙂

  6. Penelope Cooper on July 7, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    Love the looks of this design – it’s pleasing to eye. I agree with you that there’s something just a bit “off”, I think the solid piece at the bottom is a tad too tall. I understand your thought process about the curves on the strap holder being a challenge – perhaps you could have a curve and a straight option in the pattern? I especially like the fabric you chose – I love color! I have one question for you – I have always been intrigued with the zipper strap option on backpacks – but I always wonder, can the zipper teeth get caught in your hair? lol That could be painful! Looking forward to the progress pics! 🙂

    • Kat on July 7, 2020 at 5:17 pm

      Hmmm… good question about the zipper. And I’m really not sure but we always recommend nylon zips. I could see where metal zips actually could do that. I may have to ask a long-haired friend to check it out for me! 🙂

  7. Barbara L on July 7, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Dear Kat,
    First off, you’re still a sweet young thing, none of that “old” stuff ok?
    Second, this isn’t really to my taste so no comments. There’s nothing I can see “wrong” with this bag, it just isn’t my cup of tea. But all your stuff turns out well in the end, so keep the faith and keep on trudging along; you’re doing just fine. And I DO remember the Samsonite Gorilla Test. ;D
    Happy days! Stay safe and well. Be blessed!
    Hugs from Colorado,
    Barbara L

    • Kat on July 8, 2020 at 5:39 am

      Thanks for commenting Barbara! These were lovely words to start my day with today! 🙂

  8. Karol on July 9, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    I also think the proportion is a bit off. The black part seems like it should come up some, to make at least a 1/3 bottom- 2/3 top ratio maybe. It looks to me like from the main zipper ends down on each side, the portion below them looks like it angles in a bit, instead of going straight down adding to the ‘proportion looking off” look….unless it’s a trick of the light or camera. I’ve never had, or even tried a backpack. I usually carry over my shoulder, but I do like that zipper opening for the straps. Do I see that the back pack straps are adjustable in length?

    • Kat on July 10, 2020 at 9:37 am

      Yes- there are two individual straps at the base of that zippered part of the straps and that area IS adjustable. 🙂