I used to be intimidated at the thought of sewing a purse, but it’s actually quite simple. I think of the pattern like a recipe, making sure to read it through so I understand the process and take it one step at a time. Once I understand the construction and how it’s supposed to come together, I can tweak it and put my own spin on it.
I have yet to make a bag for myself, but I’ve made a number to sell and to give as gifts. It can be hard to be creative and come up with fresh gift ideas every time a special occasion comes around, and since I try to give handmade whenever possible it’s even more of a challenge. So I’ve been trying some new things here and there.
One of my nephews had his first birthday recently. Since he’s one of seven boys, I know there are lots of things they don’t need considering the amount of hand-me-downs and toys they already have, so I like to check with my sister-in-law and see what they could really use. She suggested a backpack he could grow into… and maybe a farm animal to go in a wooden barn that she was getting for him.
I scoured the internet for toddler backpack tutorials and finally settled on Hart & Sew’s School Backpack Tutorial. Earlier in the year, my sister-in-law had pointed out the doggy fabric as one she liked, so I knew I wanted to use that and ended up choosing it for the front flap, back piece, inner pocket, and D-ring anchors. I used a complimentary teal-ish fabric for the outer pocket and inner lining, upcycled denim for the outer pieces, and black and white polka dot for the trim. For structure, I used felt and found some orange-red webbing at the fabric store for the straps. I was concerned about putting in the magnetic snaps but they were a cinch to use, and both those and the D-rings were a gunmetal black, which I thought went nicely with the design. I think the only real change I made to the original pattern was to make the inner pocket sturdier and eliminating the pencil holders. In case you’re interested, here are some more backpack tutorials I’ve pinned.
One of my brothers is getting married soon, and his fiancee is from Russia. She’s very sweet and often sends gifts and souvenirs for the family. I decided to make her a version of my zippered clutch to send her as a “thank you.”
Instead of a bow or gathered front I made a pleated ruffle in the corner. Her favorite colors are black and shades of blue, so I took that into account. Not pictured, the back is upcycled denim. There’s an inner divider and a pocket. I love putting funky fabrics together!
One of Gwen’s friends had a birthday recently, and I decided I wanted to make her a little purse. I happened to have a few plastic purse handles and wanted to try them in a project. Most of the tutorials I saw used some sort of round handles, but mine were flat on the bottom, so I wanted to make sure it would work.
I wasn’t crazy about the shape of the bag in the original project, so I altered the pattern piece so the sides wouldn’t slant in so much. Also, since I added a pocket to the lining, it’s not reversible. I had a few hiccups along the way, but love how it turned out. When Addy saw the pink and purple bag, she kept saying “Addy’s purse, Addy’s purse,” so I ended up making one for her for Easter, in lieu of an Easter basket. She chose the bird and flower fabric and I gave her options to go along with it. For each one, I made a tassel to hang on a handle (one from felt, another from leather).
Another one of the kiddos’ friends has a birthday this week – the sister of the one who received the plastic-handled purse. Apparently, the really likes the purse, but I wasn’t able to find anymore of those handles. So, I decided to pick another pattern for her. I settled on the Buttercup Bag, which I’ve had pinned for a while now and which – apparently – is very popular.
Gwen helped me pick the fabrics and I think they go quite nicely together. It came out so well, I think I’d like one for myself! My changes: made the inner pocket a bit bigger, added fleece to lining pieces for structure, added button and loop instead of a snap, sewed the handles inside the bag rather than on the outside. I stuffed a few gifts inside and can’t wait to to see how it’s received. Here are a couple more girl purse tutorials.
Do you have favorite purse or pattern?