Just a Little Purse ~ A Tutorial

on March 23 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 15 Comments

Ginger from wienerdog tricks is back with a fun and easy tutorial today. Do you remember her cute-as-can-be Super Simple Nightie Tutorial?! Learn more about Ginger in her introduction, and visit wienerdog tricks for a regular dose of humor along with lots of sewing fun.

This is a pouchy, snap-together-at-the-top purse that goes together easily and is just right for just a little of the hoard of goods you normally haul around in your car-sized purse. It’s for heading out with just your wallet and keys or maybe a lipstick and a tiny novel… Just a little.

Best of all, you can make it with a solid, fancy pile of scraps.

And it has a zippered pocket on the outside where you can stow loads of cash (and a peek of some piece of fabric that makes you giddy when you look at it).

Step One: Gather Your Goods

You’ll need these pieces:

  • 2 panels of home dec weight fabric for the outside of the purse: 8″ X 10″
  • 2 long skinny pieces of the same dec weight fabric for the strap: 2″ X 60″ (You can piece these together from smaller bits if you need to.)
  • 2 interior fabric panels (any weight is fine for this): 8″ X 10″
  • 1 contrasting panel piece for the inside of the pocket: 8″ X 10″
  • 1 – 8″ zipper
  • Binding tape (or a 2″ wide piece of something you like): 2″ X 48″
  • 2 rings or loops or strap holder thingys
  • 1 snap (And a snap setter–the cheap kind you whack with a hammer works best.)

Cut your panels. Assemble your happy pile to work from. Get ready.

Step Two: Assemble the Main Panels
This purse is wonderfully easy to make because it goes together with just two panel sets. Nothing to it. First, make the trickier panel set, the one with the zipper.

Take one exterior panel and cut it in two along the long side, 3″ from the edge. (You’ll have two mini-panels: one 8″ X 3″ and one 8″ X 7″.) Then re-attach these two pieces together with a zipper in between them. No need to panic about zippers. Just think of them like trim that will turn out to be useful later. (And when you accidentally run into the nasty metal puller, just stop your sewing, keep your needle in place and pull up your foot and yank the puller out of the way. No biggee.)

Start here: Pin the zipper face down to the right side of the cut edge of one piece and sew in place with your zipper foot.

Open the seam and topstitch along the top to make the zipper sit nicely in its place later.

Then repeat the process with the other piece of panel. Pin that panel face down to the (unsewn) top edge of the zipper and sew it into place. Then topstitch it for fanciness.

When you’re finished, you’ll have your panel back just like it was before (except there will be a zipper stuck in it. Handy.)

Now layer the fabric you’ll need for your first main panel: Interior fabric with the rightside facing down, pocket material rightside up, main now-zippered panel rightside up. In this order:

But don’t stagger them like that. Just stack them like a sandwich, then baste up the two long sides.

Take your remaining two panel pieces and turn them into a basted-up-the-sides sandwich also (with both fabrics facing right sides out).

Lastly (for this step), pin the two panel sandwiches together, with right sides facing in. Sew down one side, around the bottom, and back up the other side.

You’ll end up with this very homely looking something:

Feel free to high five yourself, even though this doesn’t look like much yet. It’s gonna be super cute.

Step Three: Bind Up That Seam So It’s Not Ugly Anymore
To maximize the cuteness of the inside of your purse (and to please those of your friends who will dump it out and want to see how you made it), bind up the edges with some cute binding tape. I love to make my own, but you are absolutely allowed to use the kind you buy at the regular old sewing store. Just make sure to use something wide enough, like at least 1″ wide on each side.

If you want to live on the edge, try using a 2″ wide piece of your own fabric. (You can do it.)

First pin it face down along the edge of the so-far-sort-of-ugly paired panels like this:

Do this down one side, across the bottom, and up the other. (Leave the top edge alone for now– We’ll get to it later.)

Once you’ve pinned it, sew it into place with 3/8″ seam allowance. It’ll look something like this when you’re finished:

(Yours might not have that weird extra seam on the left. I’m a scrapper, so mine always have extra seams.)

To finish the binding, flip the bag over and fold the binding scrap over 1/4″.

Then fold it over again (just like you do when you do that fancy fold-and-iron, then fold-again-and-sew method for quick hems).

Then sew it in place around all three edges.

See: I told you it was getting cuter.

When you’re finished, you’ll have this:

Fancy. And that’s just the inside of your purse.

Step Four: Make & Attach the Strap
Take your two long skinny scraps (2″ wide and 60″ long) and turn them into a strap. You’ve got a couple of options here, depending on the weight and agree-ability of your fabric.

If you’re working with a lighter-weight fabric that won’t make you crazy, then sew the two pieces with right sides facing in and flip them right side out and topstitch them along each long edge. If you’re able to do this without grief, then you either have the tiniest fingers in my county, or you know fewer swear words (or you may own some sort of magic skinny-strap-flipper-inner-outer).

Because the strap is very long and so skinny that it can be difficult to flip back right side out, I tried this method this time:

Sew the two long skinny pieces along JUST ONE long edge, with right sides facing in, then flip it around and topstitch that seam:

You’ll have an unsewn edge to your left. Once you finish topstitching the one side, fold each unsewn edge in 1/4″ to the inside and pin, then sew them together at the speed of light, so that you end up with this:

Now cut two 6″ pieces off the end of this long skinny strap and sew a serger-sort of a stitch along all 6 cut ends just to keep the fray in check.

Flip your purse right side out and sew one 6″ piece to each outside top edge of the bag: Center each on the main seam of the bag and align the edge of the strap to the top edge of the purse. You’ll get this alienish thing:

Run each end through your loop thingy and then sew the end in place (with the looped seam on the inside of the strap). Don’t be afraid to show a little seam here, friends. Then attach the remaining long strap piece in the same way.

The inside of the strap will look like this with the loop-closing seams:

Now you’re just going to spiff up that one last ugly, exposed seam at the top edge of your bag and hammer on a snap so you can hide what you shove in there.

Step Five: One Last Binding & a Stap
Attach binding tape (or your own 2″ – 21/2″ wide piece of fabric in the same way I explained up top) to cover the exposed top seam of the bag. Sew the binding scrap face down along the top edge with a 3/8″ seam allowance:

Then fold it over toward the inside of the bag and tuck it under (like you did to the inside seam of the purse) and sew it down around one more time.

Fancy.

Now hammer on a snap centered right in the front, all ready to close it all up.

Then fill it all up. With just a little.

You’re going to want to take this little purse with you anytime you go out. (Or when your chiropractor writes you a prescription that says: Lose Behemoth Monster Suitcase Bag. Carry Smaller Purse.) Whichever comes first.

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15 Responses to Just a Little Purse ~ A Tutorial

  1. Janelle says:

    Totally just made one of these for my little sister’s birthday – she’s addicted to purses & this one turned out so nicely in turquoise denim. Thank you!

  2. angie says:

    I carry so little when I don’t have my kids with me, but it’s enough that I need something small like this. Great tute! I’ll have to try it.

  3. Liz says:

    This will make an excellent passport/travel documents carrier! I can’t wait to try it out.

  4. Carol says:

    i love making bags so this tutorial is just perfect. thanks for much!!

  5. What a cute little purse!

  6. Dawn says:

    I am making one of these today!!!!!!
    Hoping it turns out for me.
    Thanks.
    Dawn @ 4:53 am

  7. Beth T says:

    I would have loved this no matter what, just based on the name of Ginger’s blog.

  8. rachel says:

    love this! thanks for the tutorial. great way to use up scraps.

  9. Ramona says:

    Oh I definitely need one of these. I have a small snap wallet I put credit cards and money in for my pocket but keys don’t fit so this would be perfect. Thanks!

  10. pasaila says:

    Great tips! Its always good to get basics right!!

  11. Lauranie says:

    THANK YOU!! I owe two nieces a shoulder bag and THIS is PERFECT!!!! :)

  12. I have replaced my “bigger than my toddler” bag just recently, and i have to say, It rocks! It seriously is like having one less child to pack around!

    so cute!

  13. Rebecca says:

    Very fun! I have some fabric sitting at home in my scrap box that would be great for this!

  14. Cat says:

    Thanks for this tuto ! it’s a lovely little bag… and I have so much leftover of fabric, I think I’ll sew that very soon (like… just as the kids are in bed, really !)

  15. Leena Salleh says:

    This would be great for my 2 lil’ girls…thanks for the tute

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