On Naming a New Pattern

So… if you’ve been following our posts from this cycle of Purse Pattern Chronicles, then you know by now that it was our intention to name our new pattern design for Summer ’21 the Biltmore Baglet but then…

a scary, disturbing, “just-in-the-nick-of-time” thing happened on the way to finalizing & publishing this new pattern…

More about that in a bit but here’s the deal, naming a new pattern is SO hard that typically I start studying and pondering and STRESSING OUT about it from the moment I cut the 1st pattern piece. I’ve enlisted the help of friends and family to the point where even THEY have run out ideas or have grown as frustrated as me when their good suggestions are found to have been used before!

The point being, its a whole LOT harder now to come up with a product name that’s descriptive yet original than it was in 2004 when I first began designing bag patterns and since I’ve always been ultra careful to do my due diligence and research to make sure the name I’ve chosen has never been used before, what happened this weekend really was a shock to my system!

On Saturday evening I got a message from alert reader Becky Hardy, who told me that she was concerned about my including the word “Biltmore” in this pattern name due to the fact that it’s trademarked by the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. I was floored. Of course I know better than to use well known trademarked names like Pepsi, Toyota, Disney etc., but it never crossed my mind that Biltmore would be one of those names. But the more I checked, the more I knew Becky was RIGHT. The folks at Biltmore actively defend their trademark, as is their right to do, but even if they didn’t, keeping “Biltmore” in our pattern name would be an incredibly dangerous thing to do! So after the initial shock wore off my mindset was one of both…

Despair & Gratitude

I’ll tell you more about the gratitude in a bit but the despair stemmed directly from knowing that now I had to come up with an alternate name! I felt kinda like I did in the days following my bout with Covid. I couldn’t think straight or decide how to move forward. I tried using my new design naming system (naming a new design after a place on this earth I loved), which I honestly thought would make it easier to come up with design names going forward, but here’s a sampling of why it only made me sink lower and lower.

  • Barcelona? Nope, it’s in use.
  • Santorini? Taken.
  • Capri? In use.
  • Venice? You guessed it. It’s already been used…. as usual. And I could go on & on & on!

So I basically wasted my whole Sunday oscillating between trying to come up with a name, or trying unsuccessfully to do something else…ANYTHING else! But on Monday the brain fog lifted just enough to push the disappointment aside and hear my “Ah-Ha moment”!

Instead of a special PLACE… why not name our pattern after a special PERSON?

And I knew in an instant who that 1st special person HAD to be…

my grandmother!

(seen at left with my granddad
holding me at 2-weeks old)

My Grandmother…

  • who worked for 40 years sewing up little boys jackets for Sears Roebuck, plus taking in mending to make ends meet while raising 4 kids, one of whom was my Mom.
  • who “infected me” with a lifelong love of baseball. Way back then we loved the NY Mets when the Mets were the losing’est team in the MLB.
  • who could grow more produce in a 12′ X 15′ garden than most folks could in a half acre. She grew things vertically b4 vertical gardening became a “thing”.
  • who flew to NC from CT at 75 years old to care for my 7-week old daughter during my 1st stressful week back at work. Oh, and by the way… while she was loving on my baby girl, she ALSO re-covered my worn out couch, stocked my freezer with easy meals to thaw & cook, all while watching the World Series!
  • who lived in her house alone after my granddad died in his mid-60’s, & traveled alone to see her kids & grandkids all over the country, & still taught a youth Sunday School class until heart surgery sidelined her at 89.
  • who visited me during one really tough week at the Quilt Festival in Houston (fifteen years after her death). Yep, check it out here & see what YOU think!
  • who took the “trip of a lifetime” to Israel w/her SIL against the advice of family and friends not too long after the “6-Day War”, and long before the advent of cell phones or email.
  • was the most genuine human being I’ve ever known… a spiritual giant who even 23 years after her death is still my role model and who I miss even to this day.

That’s why I’m naming our new pattern…

the Elsie K Baglet

in honor of my grandmother,

Elsie Katherine Knorr Mather

(seen at right sharing a laugh with me
several years later)

So… thank you Becky Hardy for alerting me to what could have been the most devastating mistake of my career… a mistake that could have drove us out of business (and I am NOT kidding). I so appreciate you taking the time to contact me, because as distressing as this past weekend has been, it’s nothing compared to how devastating it would have been to have found out about this error through a court order 1, 2 or 5 years from now! I guess the old adage, “If you see something… SAY somethingstill applies today and it would do us all well to remember that!

And now, it’s YOUR turn!

What do YOU think about this new method of choosing names for our designs? Do you think it makes sense, or is it kinda lame? If you have comments or suggestions you’d like to share or especially if you have a “see something, say something” moment YOU’D like to share, please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.

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  1. Brenda Smith on August 9, 2021 at 5:56 am

    I love love love that you are naming the new bag after such an important person in your life. Keep
    It going!

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 6:14 am

      Thanks Brenda! And the best part is– I KNOW its never been used before! 🙂

    • Paula Nierengarten on August 9, 2021 at 10:12 am

      Brilliant. I had both of my grandmothers instill a love of sewing, knitting and crocheting in my life. My guess is she is smiling brightly in Heaven at the thought you have given this new bag and naming it to honor her.

      Blessings on your day!

      • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 2:29 pm

        I hope so! Thanks for commenting Paula!

  2. Gail Peters on August 9, 2021 at 6:20 am

    I think naming the bag after your Grandmother is wonderful. My Mom did not sew but my Grandmother did. I always think of her when I am sewing. I’m sure she is looking down and smiling when she sees me sewing. That said my Mom always loved seeing the items I sew and the quilts I made.

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 6:30 am

      Obviously my Grandmother passed away long before this business was even a gleam in my eye, but I thnk she would be so pleased if she had lived to see it! 🙂

  3. Dawn King on August 9, 2021 at 6:51 am

    I think this is fabulous! I want to start a business and name it after my two grandmothers. They were the most important people in my life! I hope you don’t have to reprint all the patterns!

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 7:22 am

      I was so very fortunate that I found this out (thanks to Becky) only 1 week before everything went to print! It could have been very bad and woulde have been potentially worse the longer it went on!

      • Dawn King on August 9, 2021 at 9:41 am

        I am so glad!!!

  4. Sharon McKinney on August 9, 2021 at 6:55 am

    Elsie K … your guardian angel is taking care of you no doubt ! Perfect choice for the new name.

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 7:22 am

      Thanks Sharon- I so agree~ 🙂

  5. Rebecca on August 9, 2021 at 6:57 am

    The new name is better! It has an almost musical swing. Huzzah!

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 7:23 am

      so glad to hear this! Thank you!

      • Janet Vandre on August 27, 2021 at 6:48 am

        There couldn’t have been a better choice for the name of the new bag! Awesome story ! Thanks for sharing it with us!

        • Kat on August 27, 2021 at 8:33 pm

          My pleasure! 🙂

  6. Joan O'Malley on August 9, 2021 at 7:03 am

    As a grandmother 12 times over and a sewist of handbags and quilts, it would thrill me to the “moon and back” if a grandchild honored me the way you are honoring your gramma!

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 7:23 am

      I so agree! 🙂

  7. Helen on August 9, 2021 at 7:39 am

    I’m an Australian fan of your bag designs, and have just read about your near mis step with Biltmore ( being Australian, never hear of it)…
    I would just like to say, I admire that you have named your latest bag after your Gran. I know she would feel honoured, humbled and blessed. If I was so clever to be able to design bags on your kevel, I would be naming them after my mum, who had a hard but very long life (to 106 bless her).
    Looking forward to it reaching our Aussi shores (Judy at Punch with Judy) so I can indulge!
    Thanks again and keep up the beautiful bag designs.
    Kindest regards

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks Helen. I think she’d be happy about it too!

  8. Cora on August 9, 2021 at 7:43 am

    Perfect name, I like it better than your first choice. I once started a line of rag dolls and named them all after grandparents and great grandparents- it was a hit, then cabbage patch came along.

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 2:29 pm

      You know what? I think I like it better too! 🙂

  9. Katy on August 9, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Oh I hate naming patterns! I used to send them into the magazine and make them name them (well really, who can think of 15-20 names a year?!)

    Good save with naming yours though.

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 2:31 pm

      Really? I didnt know magazine would do that.

      • Cheryl Baker on August 10, 2021 at 9:46 am

        I love that you named the bag after your grandmother. The best idea ever. She is smiling down on you!!

        • Kat on August 10, 2021 at 5:45 pm

          What a lovely thought. 🙂

  10. Carolyn on August 9, 2021 at 11:16 am

    The PERFECT name for this bag!! And a beautiful story to follow it forever (and the beautiful lady it is named after)!!

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 2:31 pm

      Thanks and I agree! 🙂

  11. Beth on August 9, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    This is the perfect name for your new pattern!!! I used the link to read about your encounter at Houston. For some reason I’d missed that post. It was beautiful. I’ve not had any encounters like that, but I’ve had a couple of dreams. One was of meeting my dad a couple of months after his passing, and the other was that we encountered our best friend on the way to a party. We tried to get him to come in with us but he said he couldn’t this time. It felt so poignant and then I woke to the phone ringing with the news of his passing. And occasionally I’ve had prior knowledge about something which I couldn’t have logically have known about. Congrats on your inspired name for the baglet and many thanks to the person who alerted you.

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 2:32 pm

      WOW! That story gives me goose bumps!

  12. Robyn Harrison on August 9, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    a perfect name change….my mum’s name was Elsie as well so I will feel blessed to make and carry the Elsie K baglet.

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks Robyn! Music to my ears!

  13. MaryB on August 9, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    I looked at the photo to see if I thought you looked like your grandmother and there was something that stood out. I think you both have the same look in your eyes. She lives on through you. 🙂 Love the new name!

    • Kat on August 9, 2021 at 7:02 pm

      Well that’s a kind thing to say, but no one’s really ever told me I look like her. However, some family members used to call me “little Elsie” when I was a kid. That was probably because I followed her around wherever she went since I lived with her off and on when I was small! Truth is… as tiny as she was, she always seemed larger than life to me, and any comparison between she & I would be a supreme compliment!

  14. Lois M on August 10, 2021 at 6:57 am

    What a nice choice you have made for a name! Many of us have been fortunate enough to have had grandmothers who sewed- and taught our mothers to sew . I had one grandmother who could lay out the material, go over what she was about to do in her mind and then grab a pair of scissors and cut! The finished project would fit perfectly! Your pattern name will remind us all of that wonderful person(s) in our lives. Thank you.

    • Kat on August 10, 2021 at 8:20 am

      Thank you Lois. Those are lovely words! 🙂

  15. Gladys Hontz on August 13, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Kat, First, I Love your newsletters. I so enjoyed the picture and story of your “Mother” I, like you still miss my Mother and Father after 38 yrs. (Mother) and 35 yrs. for( Dad). You can be very proud to name this bag after your Mother!!! It is a bag I love and hope I will have the sewing knowledge to purchase the pattern and COMPLETE it.

    Keep up the Great work and God Bless!!!

    • Kat on August 13, 2021 at 7:31 pm

      Thank you Gladys, and actually, this is my grandmother but I still appreciate your kind words all the same! 🙂

  16. Shirley Gotelli on August 13, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    Perfect name! And such a sweet-looking lady! Are you including the name explanation in the pattern? That would make it even more special when seamstress are wondering about the name in fifty years!

    • Kat on August 13, 2021 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks Shirley, we aren’t including this info within the pattern package itself. It would talk quite a bit of space, and thats adds up to a good deal of money. :

  17. Jean Speake on August 15, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    I also loved and admired my grandmother–what a lovely tribute to name this bag after her! From all of the previous comments, I’d say all of your readers are in agreement!

    • Kat on August 16, 2021 at 5:27 am

      It does seem that way and it makes me happy! 🙂

  18. Justine on August 27, 2021 at 5:45 am

    Oh I don’t think your encounter with your grandmother’ leaves any questions. It was a blessing at just the fight time, as blessings usually are. It’s a wonderful memory isn’t it. I had an ‘encounter’ when my mother lay unresponsive in the hospital. A well dressed African American lady came in and asked “ may I sing to your mother?” The only words I could find was “yes”. After she sang quietly she said a short prayer, said thank you and left. I thought it was very nice of this lady probably coming from church hence the attire, to stop in my mother’s room. When I stepped out in the hall and went to the nurses station, she was nowhere to be seen. Within an hour my mother asked for something to drink, first words she’d spoken in a week. I was brushing her hair and she said “ you’re hurting my head”. I smiled because she had always been tender headed. She was more animated than she had been all week. Her siblings were trying to come see her but the doctor said she wouldn’t last very long. That night all seven of her brothers and sisters, all in their 70s and 80s arrived from four states to say their last goodbyes. She seemed to know they were there, she squeezed their hands. You see, my mother had severe dementia and had fallen earlier in the week hitting her head. I think an angel came to sing to her that night, waking her just enough to see her brothers and sisters. Blessings happen just at the right time

    • Kat on August 27, 2021 at 8:32 pm

      I love your story! Thanks so much for sharing it! 🙂

  19. Peg Sullivan on August 27, 2021 at 6:32 am

    Oh so very very special. Lucky you for having her in your life. I too had a great! Nana who was and is so important to me. The fact that you told us why makes the pattern name .

    • Kat on August 27, 2021 at 8:33 pm

      Thanks Peg! I indeed was a lucky girl! 🙂

  20. Janet Espeleta on August 27, 2021 at 9:40 am

    I enjoyed reading your story of your grandmother and the woman in Houston. I absolutely believe situations like that occur because I also experienced what other would refer to as a paranormal experience. Whenever I would get really upset about something my husband Dave would put his arm around me & say “Everything is going to be okay Babe”. After only being married 18 months he was killed in a motorcycle accident. 24 hrs after his accident I felt his arms around me & his voice whispering in my ear that everything was going to be okay. I met my current husband a few months later. One day while at my house alone, Dave appeared to him, smiled at him, nodded his head & then just faded away. Larry had never seen a pic of Dave, but he was able to point him out in a group picture after this encounter.

    • Kat on August 27, 2021 at 8:35 pm

      What a wonderful, affirming story! I loved reading it! Thanks so much!

  21. Linda Anne Osborn on August 27, 2021 at 11:30 am

    I think your idea was inspired. We are who we are thanks to a whole raft of people who came before us. Think of the options and combinations. After all we name our children after our family members.

    • Kat on August 27, 2021 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks so much Linda. I had such a hard time naming this bag, but this name was the one that finally felt right! 🙂