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
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