At just 5″ square, our teeny tiny purse might seem like the perfect little girl accessory (and it would be), but all us big girls wanted it for our very own! Not only is it cute as can be, it’s also just right to hold a bit of make-up, cards and cash. We combined three soft peachy-pink prints from Cloud9 Fabric’s Nursery Basics and Maman Premium Organic Collections. The easy-to-use frame is just like the ones you’d find on a little coin purse.
Find out more about Cloud9 Organics here.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 44-45″ wide fabric for the purse exterior, ruffles, frame tunnels and bow; we used Nursery Basics from Cloud9 Organic in Shell Speckle
- ½ yard of 44-45″ wide fabric for the purse lining; we used Maman from Cloud9 Organic in Rose Motif
- ½ yard of 44-45″ wide fabric for the purse exterior accent stripe and purse strap; we used Nursery Basics from Cloud9 Organic in Shell Gingham
- ½ yard of lightweight batting; we used eco-friendly Kyoto Soy Soft Blend Batting from Fabric.com
NOTE: We wanted our purse to have a soft body; if you’d prefer a crisper look and feel, you could use a heavyweight fusible interfacing instead of batting.
- One metal purse frame; we used a 5″ x 3½” metal frame in silver from Fabric.com
- Two ½” metal swivel hooks to match purse frame (missing from photo above)
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Hand sewing needle
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- From the fabric you are using for the purse exterior, ruffles, frame tunnels and bow (Shell Speckle in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 14″ high x 10″ wide rectangle for the outside of the bag
TWO 2″ x 11″ strips for the ruffles
TWO 1½” x 5⅝” strips for the frame tunnels
ONE 6½” high x 11″ wide rectangle for the bow loops
ONE 1¾” high x 6″ wide rectangle for the bow center
- From the fabric you are using for the accent stripe and bag strap (Shell Gingham in our example), cut the following:
ONE 14″ x 2″ strip for the accent stripe
ONE 2″ x WOF (width of fabric, eg. 44-45″) strip for the strap
NOTE: You can make the strap longer or shorter based on personal preference and the size of the bag’s recipient. If you want it longer than the width of your fabric, simply piece together two strips of fabric.
- From the fabric you are using for the lining of the bag (Rose Motif in our sample), cut ONE 14″ high x 10″ wide rectangle.
- From the lightweight batting, cut ONE 14″ x 10″ rectangle.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Exterior accent stripe
- Find the 14″ x 2″ accent strip.
- Fold and press back ½” along both long 14″ sides to create a clean finished 1″ wide strip.
- With a fabric marker or straight pin, mark the exact center of the strip at both ends.
- Find the 14″ x 10″ exterior bag piece, find the exact center of the 10″ top and bottom raw edges and mark with a fabric marker or straight pin.
- Place the accent stripe on top of the outside bag piece, matching up the marks along the top and bottom raw edges. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch the accent stripe in place along both sides.
- Set this piece aside.
Ruffles and frame tunnels
- Find the two 2″ x 11″ ruffle strips. On each, fold back and press both short ends ¼”, then fold and press back another ¼”. Topstitch along both ends to create a ¼” double turn hem at both ends of each ruffle piece.
- Fold the ruffle strip in half wrong sides together, matching up the long raw edges, and press. Pin in place.
- Using a long basting stitch, stitch ⅛” from the bottom raw edge of the ruffle piece through both layers, leaving 4-5″ lengths of thread at the beginning and end of the stitching.
NOTE: If you are new to ruffling, we have a short tutorial on the subject.
- Pull the 4-5″ thread tail to gather the ruffle evenly to a 4⅝” width.
- Repeat to create the second ruffle. Set the two ruffles aside.
- Find the two 1½” x 5⅝” tunnel strips. On each, fold back and press both short ends ½”. Then fold both longer edges in towards the center of the strip a scant ½” (just shy of ½”, but not quite ⅜”).
- You should now have two clean finished tunnel pieces that are just over ½” in height and 4⅝” width, the same width as the ruffle pieces you just made.
- Find the exterior purse piece to which you stitched the accent stripe.
- Locate the original center mark you made on the top raw edge of the accent stripe. From this point, measure down 1½”. Slide a straight pin into the outside bag at this 1½” point, parallel to the top raw edge, or mark with a fabric pen.
- Find one of the tunnel pieces. Fold it in half lengthwise (finished short ends together) and squeeze to create a temporary crease at the center. When you unfold the tunnel, there will be slight visible crease.
- Place the tunnel on top of the exterior piece, lining up the bottom edge of the tunnel with the straight pin/mark. Pin the tunnel in place along its bottom edge only. Take the time, and use your see-through ruler, to make sure the tunnel is exactly parallel with the top raw edge, and that the bottom edge of the tunnel is 1½” from the top raw edge of the purse exterior piece at both ends.
- Edgestitch along the bottom of the tunnel only. Back tack 2-3 times at the start and end of your stitching to make sure the tunnel is secure.
- Find one of the ruffle pieces. Slide the raw edges under the top of the tunnel. The raw edges should extend only about ¼” into the tunnel and both finished ends of the ruffle should be perfectly aligned with the ends of the tunnel. Tweezers or a seam ripper can help you slide the ruffle into place.
NOTE: You are pinning through three layers of fabric, be careful and measure several times to make sure the ruffle and tunnel are lined up.
- Edgestitch along the top edge of the tunnel, through all the layers: tunnel, ruffle and the purse exterior. As above, back tack 2-3 times at the start and end of your stitching to make sure the tunnel and ruffle are secure.
- Spin the purse exterior 180˚ and repeat these steps to attach the remaining tunnel and ruffle to the opposite end.
- Set the exterior aside.
Bow center and loops
- Find the 1¾” x 6″ bow center piece. Fold back and press both 6″ sides ½”. Set aside.
- Find the 6½” high x 11″ bow loop piece. Fold the piece in half, lining up the 11″ raw edges. Pin in place and stitch with a ½” seam allowance. Press this seam open then turn right side out. You now have a 3″ wide tube. Roll the tube to center the seam and press flat.
- Fold the tube in half with the seam to the inside. Line up the short raw edges. Pin in place.
- Stitch with a ¼” seam allowance. Press this seam open. Roll the loop to center the seam and press flat.
- Use your fingers to scrunch the bow loop in the middle. You kind of make a little accordion pleat right along the vertical seam.
- While holding the gathered bow loop between your fingers, grab the bow center piece and wrap it around the loop.
- Pinch the bow center so it holds the loop gathers in place. This pinch point should be directly against the back side of the gathered bow, at the seam. Your pinch point should be nice and tight. Pin in place. The finished piece will resemble a bow tie.
- Attach a zipper foot and stitch the bow center piece in place. Go back and forth several times to secure.
- Trim the seam allowance back to 1/8″.
- Set bow aside; it will be hand sewn to the purse in the final steps.
- Find the 2″ x WOF strap piece.
NOTE: Our Cloud9 Organic fabric is a premium quality fabric with a good weight, therefore, we did not feel we needed to interface the strap. Folding the fabric in on itself was enough to give the strap the ‘heft’ it needed. If you feel your fabric is too thin, you can cut a matching 2″ x 44″ piece of lightweight fusible interfacing (or two shorted lengths butted togehter) and fuse this to the wrong side of the flat strip prior to folding and pressing the strap to its final ½” width.
- Fold back and press both short ends ½”.
- Fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, and press to form a center crease.
- Fold in each long raw edge ½” so they meet in the middle along the crease. Press well.
- Fold in half again, encasing the raw edges within this final fold. Press well. You now have a clean finished strap that is ½” wide and 44″ long
- Edgestitch across both ends and along the side, approximately ⅛” from the edge.
- Slip each end of the strap through one of the swivel clips.
- Pull the end through about ¾ and pin in place.
- Make a seam across the strap, getting as close to the clip as you can. You are ‘locking’ the swivel clip into place. Go back and forth several times to make sure the seam is secure
NOTE: You could attach your Zipper foot to get in super close. We used our Satin Stitch foot and were able to get within ½”.
- Trim your thread tails right up against the seam and set the finished strap aside.
Create the bag lining and box the corners of the lining and the exterior
- Find the 14″ x 10″ batting rectangle and the 14″ x 10″ lining rectangle.
- Pin the two pieces wrong sides together, making sure all the edges are flush.
- Stitch all around the edges with a ¼” seam allowance.
- With the right sides of the fabric together, fold the lining panel in half lengthwise, and pin along both sides.
- Stitch both sides, using a ½” seam allowance. Trim both seam allowances down to ¼”.
- With the lining still wrong side out, the next step is to box the bottom corners.
- Using both hands, pinch and pull apart one corner.
- As you keep pulling, the fabric will begin to make a little peak with the corner point at the top and a seam line running down the middle of both sides. Precisely match the two seams front to back.
NOTE: To match perfectly, it helps to work first from the wrong side, then look down inside to make sure seams are lining up.
- Our purse is designed to be square: 5″ tall with a 5″ base. To create this width, the boxed corners need to be half the finished width. Therefore, in our sample, we measured 2½” from the tip of the corner peak and drew a horizontal line.
- Pin your folded and measured ‘peak’ and stitch along the drawn line. For stability, we recommend stitching straight across, locking at the beginning and end, removing the project, then replacing it under the needle, and stitching straight across again.
- Trim away the peak on each side to about ¼” from the seam line.
- Repeat these steps to form the opposite corner in the lining.
- Push out the boxed corners but keep the interior wrong side out.
- Repeat ALL these steps with the exterior of the purse, but in the final step, turn the exterior right side out.
- Fold down and press the top raw edge of both the exterior and the lining ½” all around, creating a nice finished edge. Pin in place.
Assemble the exterior and lining and attach the frame
- Slide the purse lining into the purse exterior. Line up the boxed corners, the side seams, and the top folded edges.
- Pin around the entire top edge. Pin the ruffles out of the way.
- Topstitch all around the top of the through all the layers, staying as close to the edge as possible and removing pins as you go. Again, remember to keep the ruffles out the way; your seam line goes behind them.
Attach the purse frame to the bag
- Open the purse frame so it measures about 4″ from clasp to clasp.
- Starting on the side of the frame without the rings, unscrew one end of one frame post, and slide the post out of the frame holes.
- Place the frame over the top of the bag so the hinges are on the outside of the bag. Line up one of the purse’s tunnels with the empty frame post holes. Slide the frame post through one frame hole, through the fabric tunnel, and out through the opposite frame hole. Re-attach the end to the post and screw firmly in place.
- Repeat to attach the opposite post (the side with the rings) through the opposite tunnel. The frame is now attached to the bag.
- Slowly close the purse frame, making sure the bag seams fold inward as the frame closes.
- When the frame is about half-way closed, use your fingers to fold the seam and squeeze hard. This will help the purse keep a ‘memory’ of the fold, so every time you open and close the frame, the bag will want to fold inward as the clasps are closed.
- Clip the swivel hooks on the strap ends to the rings on the ‘back’ of purse frame.
Sew the bow to the bag
- The ‘front’ of the purse is the side without the rings on the frame.
- On this side, measure down about 1¼” from the top edge of the tunnel.
- Center the bow at this point on the accent stripe. Hand sew the bow in place, using tiny stitches. You should stitch on both sides of the bow for a more secure hold.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Gregory Dickson