Kathy Southern of StudioKat Designs: Inspiration

Our Guest Blogger series continues today with Kathy Southern of StudioKat Designs pattern company.

Where does inspiration come from? How do you define it? And how do you translate inspiration into something tangible. I probably get asked more questions about inspiration than anything else, (unless of course you count the questions I get concerning my cats!)

These type of questions are not particularly easy to answer. It’s almost easier to show you the process rather than explain it, and what better time than now, as we ready ourselves to release our 24th handbag pattern.

The inspiration behind our new bag, The Quattro, can be summarized in one word– Mondo!

The Quattro, StudioKat Designs #2600


From the basic silhouette, to the color fabrications and even to the notions we used, our inspiration can be traced back to Mondo! Wait– you don’t see it? Well maybe we need to go back to the beginning.

One of my favorite TV shows is Lifetime’s Project Runway and Season 8 introduced us to one of the most memorable designers to date, Mondo Guerra.

Over the course of the season, I found myself increasingly inspired by his fearless use of color and prints, and some of Mondo’s fabric manipulations reminded me at times of some of my purse exteriors. And then it dawned on me, maybe I should take a page out of Mondo’s book and design my next bag with style lines that could showcase unusual fabric combinations


Over the course of the season, I noticed the repetitive use of a side-draping detail that resulted in a tier-like effect seen in this piece by Mondo (below left) and the look by Michael Costello (below right).

Would I actually wear these items? Probably not… (my hips kinda do this on their own! hahaha), but it did give me a great idea to try in my new design. In my mind I envisioned this new side detail as a terrific way to provide additional storage options, as well as to showcase unique color and print combinations.

Can you see how the side detail inspiration was translated into the side pocket detail of our final Quattro look?

It’s also become painfully apparent to me of late that my color palette has been in a bit of a rut. I guess it’s only natural for one to automatically gravitate to the old familiar colors that we love, so for this go ’round, I felt like I needed to infuse my typical process with a new zing…something exciting that I hadn’t tried before. And if you check out the three sample pictured below, I think it’s pretty apparent that our color, fabric and print combinations were inspired totally by Mondo. We used fabrications that short of his inspiration, we otherwise never would have and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.


But here’s the deal. Not only did Mondo’s designs and color palette inspire our Quattro pattern, he also may have single-handedly changed the way we look at fashion by showing us how to envision black & white PRINTS as the new neutral! Not sure about that? Check it out, sista!

How many times have you struggled trying to find the right color zipper for you’re handbag projects. That’s because purse zippers are generally just available in black, navy or a color they call boxwood. BOXWOOD? What the heck does THAT match? It’s not khaki, Its’ not beige. It’s not cream. Best I can tell… it matches NOTHING!

And then it hit me!
I simply asked myself…
‘What would Mondo do?”

And actually, I didn’t have to look any further than my sewing table to get my answer, because look how fabulous my handsome Joba looks on these wild prints!

So the short answer is……
Mondo wouldn’t be wasting his time matching colors… he’d just go straight to the black & white print zippers instead! So that’s just what we did. At the Quilt Market last fall, we scoured the floor for a manufacturer who was willing to partner with us to create the perfect, new neutral zipper! It’s a black & white mini-stripe and I’m crazy about it. No more struggling to find a decent zipper match, or worse, not getting to use a cool fabric for a purse exterior, just because the zipper color would stand out like a sore thumb (isn’t that the WORST!).

We LOVE our new zippers so much that we using them on everything and we ordered them in so many styles and sizes, that we almost certainly have the style and size that you need for your next project, whether it’s a handbag or a clothing item!

Just click here for more details!

So… what do YOU think? Are you ready to “Mondocize” your next project?


Keep up with Kat and StudioKat Designs
Website – www.studiokatdesigns.com
Blog- www.studiokatdesigns.blogspot.com
Newsletter- www.studiokatdesigns.com/newsletter.htm
Twitter- www.twitter.com/StudioKat
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/StudioKat-Designs

Leave a Lazy Comment

13 Responses to “Kathy Southern of StudioKat Designs: Inspiration”

  1. Regina — March 28, 2011 @ 8:42 am

    Kat -I LOVE this! I can totally see your “inspiration” – and the color play is marvelous!!! Thanks for taking us through a bit of your process – you took that idea and RAN!

  2. Julie — March 28, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    I love reading about your process! This bag looks like a lot of fun & I think I’m going to have to try it out.

    BTW.. “my hips kinda do this on their own!” gave me quite the laugh this morning! I took love watching PR but probably wouldn’t wear 90% of what they come up with.

  3. Judy — March 28, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    I’d like to know if you have any suggestions to treat the cotton fabric of a purse to make it look like new after several uses. The cotton gets dingy looking after a while. Do you think ScotchGuard would be sufficient or is there another treatment?

  4. Laura — March 28, 2011 @ 9:22 am

    WOW….looking for a bit of inspiration….you hit it on the nail head! I also am a fan of Mondo…..wonder what he’s doing now….anyone know……up to my studio I’m going to make a new Spring bag for myself…..now where is that black and white fab I so love……

  5. Barbara — March 28, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    Can’t get enough of your patterns, and appreciate your search for zippers that “work” in large purses. Looking forward to trying out some outrageous fabric combinations in Quatro!

  6. Kathy Southern — March 28, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    Thanks so much for all the lovely comments! it was so sweet
    of Joan to let me do this and I am so excited i probably won’t get
    ANYTHING done today! Mondo has been really busy and you can follow
    his doings on his facebook page too-
    And Judy- i DO scotchguard the purses fabrics if i intend to carry
    the bag- BUT- always test this out on a scrap piece of fabric to
    make sure it doesn’t affect the color or print adversely!

  7. Jean — March 28, 2011 @ 10:32 am

    I throughly enjoyed this . I really like the purse pattern.
    I loved the tie dye look fabric also. Thank you for showing all the
    choices of hardware for purses. I like your cat also. Jean

  8. Pannay — March 28, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

    LOVE THIS BAG! I also love that Mondo was your inspiration!

  9. Carolyn — March 29, 2011 @ 7:47 am

    Loved all of it. The article was informative, your
    selection of colors and fabrics was terrific and the cat is the
    perfect addition.

  10. Patty Darbee — March 29, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

    Love the purses1

  11. Jan Swartz — March 30, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    I love the purse! I have been frustrated at the zippers available for purses. I am looking forward to trying your new black and white ones. Thanks!

  12. Sue — April 2, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    Love love love this bag. I use lots of novelty fabrics so of course the fabrics grabbed me. Remeber that show The Nanny? “She’s the Lady in Red when everyone else is wearing tan’ Plush it has my two essentials: Zip top to keep it all in and Gobs of exterior pockets (phone, keys)
    I have already ordered this bag… mr. mailman……?

  13. Peggy — April 4, 2011 @ 6:09 am

    Love them… Immediately recognized the fabric on one of the purses as Susan Winget’s fabric because I have a 3 tier western style flared skirt I used 12 of those squares on, which is the center tier of the skirt. The large square pannels with the birds and the flowers that is. Your purse matches my skirt. I also have some of Winget’s red hat dishes in my hutch too. Love her fantastic artwork and the way that you put it to use on that purse. I also liked Mondo’s far out creations with the different fabrics he used on his outfits too. The black-red-white combo is one of my favorites too. Was really disappointed when Mondo didn’t win. Mondo and hisdesigns were all winners in my eyes.