My Pattern Design Process: Part 2


This is part 2 of my series of posts that go through my thought process when designing a new pattern.

From an Idea to a Pattern

I strive to come up with something 100% new with each of my patterns. Either a completely new look, or a technique that I haven’t seen done before.

My initial idea is often sparked by something I’ve seen in person. It might be the smallest detail of a bag, like the shape of one corner or how a strap attaches to the bag. It might be the general bag shape or the thinness. Sometimes my idea is sparked by something I don’t like about a bag I own. The zipper doesn’t open wide enough, or the bag is needlessly complex.

Take my Gena bag pattern as an example. A commercial, mass-produced bag was the catalyst.

I loved the idea of a central zipped pocket forming a divider in the main bag. There are at least two existing patterns that feature an integrated central zipped compartment, so I wanted to do something different.

I also loved how, in this particular bag, the lining of the outer part of the bag was quite fitted and not hanging free. My Toby Essentials Sling and Clary/Clarita Wallet have very fitted linings, so I wondered if I could use that technique, on a much larger scale, to make an outer bag. It’s not turned, and it’s not a drop-in-lining.

I’d also been thinking about a bag with visible seams that stand straight out from the bag. I wondered if I could use my Toby/Clary/Clarita construction method for this, and tried it out. Many, many times.

I ran into an issue with top edges not lining up perfectly, no matter how precise I was with my cutting and measuring. If I can’t get it perfect every time, then other bagmakers might end up in the same boat. I came up with something that addressed two issues: the uneven edges and the need for strap connectors. My 100% unique 3D strap connectors were born!

With that, I had the outside of my new bag constructed in my head. I still wanted that central zipped divider without complicating the pattern. I realized I could make a large pouch and attach it to the bag with rivets. Done!

My Testers are AMAZING.

During the pattern testing period, my testers asked whether the pouch could be made to be removable. Not only removable, but interchangeable if you wanted to change the look of the whole bag. Yes! I got to work on figuring out the best way, and added instructions for snaps. The snaps secure the divider pouch to the bag, but also change the shape of the divider bag itself if someone wants to carry it as a clutch.

A Whole New Look!

My Gena bag looks nothing like the commercial bag that sparked my idea, nor like any existing pattern. This is perfect to me, because I don’t want to copy what’s already out there. You will always get something new with my patterns!