08 August 2008

Handbag tutorial

This is my first tutorial for an easy handbag or purse. I hope I give clear instructions! I’m really more of an intermediate sew-er, not advanced, but if I forget something, just ask and I’ll answer by updating the tutorial.

These bags were made in small sizes for my daughter and nieces but are also a great size for an evening out when lined with a smooth, slippery fabric like satin. My daughter uses hers to hold her tap dance and ballet shoes so we don't lose them. As a variation they can be made much larger, just increase the size of the handles, or rounder by using a larger diameter circle.

1. Cut four rectangular pieces of fabric, all the same dimensions. Two pieces are for the lining of the bag, and the other two are for the finished outside of the bag. For the bags in my pictures, the dimensions of the rectangles are approximately 10.5 x 15 inches, but the size can be varied as you like.

2. Place one piece of lining fabric and one piece of exterior fabric rectangles right sides together.
3. Press the fabric if you haven't already. Using a pin or chalk, measure and mark halfway (the middle) along both of the short sides. This is 5.25 inches in my case.

4. Next sew with your favorite seam length (1/4 inch, 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch are all fine, just be consistent) from one pin to the corner, then down the long side and to the second pin. Repeat for the other lining/exterior rectangles. Now you have two sides that look like half pockets.

5. Now comes the tricky part! Place one side down on a flat surface and fold back the half of fabric that is loose. Place the other side on top of it, lining up the exterior side and the lining and the pins/chalk marks in the center. You will have something that looks like this. My lining fabric is on the right side (blue polka dots) lined up together and pinned halfway through.

6. Use a plate or something else round to make the corners. I used a 6" plate for these. Trace the plate with chalk or a fabric pen. Since this is the lining side of my bag, I will leave 2-4" open in the center so I can eventually turn the bag right side out through the lining. Do remember to leave that opening or you'll have to undo the stitches in the center to make a hole like I had to do when making this tutorial!

7. Trim away the excess fabric to reveal your lovely curved corners. Then flip the top and bottom flaps of the bag over to make the curved corners on the other side.

8. Line up the center again with a pin or chalk and trace the same size curved corners on this side of the fabric. This time, sew all the way around (no need to leave an opening on this side of the fabric) then trim away the extra fabric.

9. Now for the fun part! Using the hole you've left open in the center of the lining, turn the bag right side out. Use whatever you like to smooth the seams open all the way. I sometimes use my fingers and sometimes I press a chopstick along the insdie fo the seams. Press the fabric to keep those seams looking nice.
10. Fold in the edges of the open fabric and sew this closed with an 1/8 inch seam using thread that is invisible or the same color as the fabric. You could also do this by hand, but I'm far too lazy for that.

11. Poke the lining back down inside the bag. Now you have something that looks like this below:

12. Almost done! Fold down one top flap of the bag so that it will fit over the handle with some extra room and use chalk or pins to manke this line. Make a similar line on the other side of the bag. Now you have a choice - sew the handles in by hand or use your machine. I always use my machine because I like fast and easy. Using one handle, begin to fold the fabric over it so the fabric reaches the line you marked. Sew the handle in slowly, adjusting the fabric and flattening in out as needed to make it match the line you've marked. I like to stitch forward and backward near the edges to make them extra strong.

When you're done with one handle, you'll have this. Then repeat on the other side, pushing the extra fabric and handle out of the way. Just a note: if you find that you have slightly more fabric on the top seam when you near the end of the handle, simple fold it under so they are even. No one will notice since the fabric is all bunched up around the handle anyway. This is a very forgiving bag, which is why it's so perfect for me!

Snip those loose threads and you're done with your super-cute handbag!

Unless, of course, you want to make a matching tissue holder...in which case you might want to visit this tutorial.

1 comment:

kuyshi shop said...

thanks a lot for this tutorial, i'm gonna try it soon =)