Sunday, December 20, 2009

little girl Pearl purse tutorial

Oh goodness, time has gotten away from me I fear. The busyness of the holidays tends to do that. But I finally have the time to sit down and write this tutorial for you! And maybe it's even in time for the more industrious among you to get one done for Christmas. Seriously, it's going to take me longer to write this than it is for you to make one!

What you'll need:

Scissors/rotary cutter
self heal mat (optional)
straight edge ruler (optional)
tape measure
small pieces of fabric, 8"x 9" and 3"x 11"
new or vintage buttons, or trims of your choice
sewing machine
disappearing marker/tailor's chalk

Let's get started!

I think it's easier to use a rotary cutter and straight edge quilting ruler to make sure all the edges are straight, but if you don't have one, you can use scissors. Find two coordinating pieces of fabric that you can cut out two 8"x 9" pieces out of each one. I have chosen a Japanese print and an old piece of Amy Butler Charm that I won't be able to do much else with. You can cut them out at the same time with a rotary cutter, and that way they are sure to be the same size.

Now you need to find one more coordinate, and cut out two pieces each 3" x 11". These will become your handles.

I'll start with the handles first. Fold each in half lengthwise and press. Then open up, and fold the raw edges to the center and press again.

Then refold the center with the raw edges pressed under, press again.

Topstitch the edge together. One note on topstitching; you want to make this as neat as possible no matter what you are topstitching. Choose a foot that has some kind of guide so that your stitches don't look wonky or uneven. This is going to give you a more professional finish, and add to the overall look of the piece. You can topstitch both sides of the handle, but you don't have to. Also, if you wanted to add some kind of decorative stitch, or trim detail, now would be the time to do it.

Then place your handles about 2" from the long edge of would will become the top of your purse. Pin on each side, taking care not to twist the strap.

Repeat for the second handle. You can baste them on at this point, or just leave them pinned.

Take your second purse fabric piece, and pin it directly over the handle piece, making sure your edges line up. If you were using a fabric with a nap (direction), you'd want to make sure that where the handle is is the top or opening of the purse. Repeat for the other side.

You are now going to stitch the tops of the purses. This is important. On ONE of the tops, leave a small opening where you will turn the purse later. I have found it is easiest to leave this opening between the purse handles. So stitch one side completely through, and on the other side, leave about a 2-3" gap in the stitching smack dab in the middle.

Press the seam out.

Now here comes the fun part. You can embellish these in so many different ways. I chose cloth yo-yos and vintage and new buttons from my stash. There are tons of tutes on yoyos, so I'm not going to get into that too much. You can also use small bits of trim, lace, buttons, ribbon, etc. The sky is the limit, so have fun with it!

If you want to do the yoyo, I just stitched them down with a button over the top, and used my machine to do the heavy lifting. If your machine doesn't have a button program, just stitch by hand.

You want to do all your embellishing before you move on to the next stage, which is putting it all together.

Place right sides together, aligning the top seam exactly. Stitch a rectangle all the way around. I used 1/4" seams so there's very little waste.

Remember, the opening is at the top of your purse, so you can make a complete rectangle.

This part will be the hardest to explain, but not at all hard to do. Take one corner of the rectangle, and pinch so that the seams of the sides are pushed together. You are forming a gusset to give the purse a little depth. Match the seams as best you can, and pin. Repeat for all four corners.

You'll have something that looks like this.

I usually eyeball this part, but for the sake of accuracy, take your straight edge again and measure 1 1/2" in from the point of the corner, and draw a straight line with disappearing marker or tailor's chalk.

Stitch directly over that line, and repeat for all four corners.

Cut away the excess fabric on all four corners.

Turn your purse so that the right sides are facing out. Push one side into the other to form your purse, taking special care on the bottom seam, pushing the gussets into place. Press the top edge where the handles are, and line up the seam allowances on the small opening.

Topstitch the top edge, so that you don't have any messy hand sewing to do.

Believe it or not, YOU ARE DONE! I not only love these as little girl purses, but by just changing the size, you could make some really fun little book bags, gift bags, or wine bags too.

Let me know if something isn't clear, have fun, and happy sewing!

Salt Lake City, UT


icicle said...

Thanks, Melissa!
It's fascinating to see different ways of construction and I love learning a new way to do something. Also interesting that you use your button foot. I doubt I'll ever be brave enough to use one -- too much fear of misaligning and breaking a needle!

Melissa said...

I love the way you put those together-- I've never left an opening at the top, and I always make two pouches and turn at the side seam. Your way is better, indeed, I think.

My button function doesn't seem to tie the buttons on properly-- I need to figure that one out, for sure. And I WISH I had your talent for pairing and embellishing-- serious jealousy/admiration here!

Andrea on Third Street said...

I love this little purse! Thanks so much for sharing - I have a couple little things left to get together for Christmas (gasp!) and this just might fit the bill.

casserole said...

This is such a pretty little purse! The design possibilities with fabrics/embellishments are endless!

I featured your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


littlegirlpearl said...

Thanks all! Thanks Anne for linking that for me!

Lori said...

I love these! I have lots of scraps and several nieces that will love getting these for their birthdays :-)

Sherri said...

Great tutorial! I love the idea of leaving a gap in the top for turning. Beautiful purse.

Veronnica Watson said...

What an adorable little bag! The button flowers are too cute!

I was wondering what type of fabric you used? I noticed that it stands up on it's own so it must be a sturdy one. I made a diaper bag several months back and it doesn't even come close to standing by it's own. Of course I didn't use stiff fabric. Thanks!

Azra Momin said...

I JUST finished posting about a purse I made today, and I wish I'd see your tutorial first!

I went into it headfirst and without a clue coz I was just itching to do it now matter what. I'm happy with how it turned out, but I REALLY should've learnt how first!!! For my next one, I'm definitely following your tut! Thank you!

This is what I made:

Lucky Ladybug Designs said...

I love this way of making bags and totes...the opening at the top seems like it would be easier...thanks for sharing!

Jenny said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I have been looking for a cute little girl's purse to make for my daughter, and this is it! Love it!

Enid said...

Thanks, thanks, thanks!!!

I just finish my first one (and my daughter took it already!) It came out just perfect,. The instructions are pretty clear and the result is amazing!

Thanks, Enid

Carrie said...

I made one!!! I am so exicited. Thank you for the free tute and advise, I don't think I got the whole corner thing quite right but it's my very first time on a sewing machine AND I have permenant double vision! Have a look at it......

angelina said...

love the fabric, thank you!

Rohaise said...

This is a great tutorial and a lovely bag. I had a go at one myself for my daughter:

It was great fun to make and your instructions made it very easy. Thanks so much.

katka.g said...

thank you thank you thank you! :)

katty said...

I love to have different kind of puse specially for combine it with my clothes. I think every desing is identified with the personality of each woman. I prefer a comfortable and big purses because i usually carry many things even like when i buy viagra for my boyfriend.

javieth said...

When i got my house by costa rica homes for sale i took all my document in my purse. Thanks God my purse was very big I had no problem. That´s why i prefer to use big bag every time. I really love it, because they are very comfortable.

kiki said...

I made this purse for my sister's step daughter, so that it can match the outfit that I made for her. This is an awesome patten. I love it. Hope to see more purse's like this one. I'm gonna make one for me too!! I never made a purse with a small opening on top to turn inside out. This is just great.

Deb (Two Cheeky Monkeys) said...

What a cute idea for presents - thanks!

soggycheerios said...

Every tutorial I have read I have gotten confused on the turning part, having never seen it in person. This one I understood. I just made one, and plan on making many more since I have 4 daughters. I'm giving the one I just made to my daughter little friend for her birthday with some goodies inside. Thanks

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Mel @ said...

Fantastic tutorial. I like how you left the opening for turning at the top. Makes putting the handles on less complicated.

I used your tutorial today to make a camera bag. Please stop by and have a look when you get a chance. I also posted a link to your tutorial, I hope that's okay?

~ Wen ~ said...

I just finished mine =) thanks a bunch.
I am so proud of myself!

Jen of Quality Sewing Tutorials said...

Great tutorial! You've been featured on the Quality Sewing Tutorials blog.

We hand select only the best free tutorials and patterns for home sewers.

Grab a brag button!

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its very great idea i love the way put those togethers great

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Very well written and documented tutorial. We have featured this tutorial over at with a link to your Etsy shop. Keep up the excellent work.

Anonymous said...

Great pattern and tutorial!I made this for my grand daughter and filled it with some play make-up I made that I saw on another blog. She'll love it! Thanks so much! So many creative women!

Alison said...

Thanks so much for your tutorial! I was making my first purse and your tute was most helpful.

I've written about it (and credited your tute) on my very first blog post. You can see the bag I made with sari silk there. Thanks again.

Pam said...

Excellent quick and easy pattern. The little girl I made the purse for loved it. Thank you

Pam said...

excellent quick and easy pattern. The little girl I made the purse for loved it. Thank you.

cheap Hockey Jerseys said...

Thanks all! Thanks Anne for linking that for me!

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Jodilea Kids said...

This tutorial is simple and easy to read, the bags you have created are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your wonderful world.

HunnyBunny4Me said...

Wow, you posted this tutorial in 2009 and it's still going strong here in 2014 of December!

I was looking for a cute, quick project for my niece and boy did this fit the bill! I made a "Mermaid" themed purse with fish scale accents and a "tail" disappearing into the sea. Also a matching key fob and tissue holder. FUN and Funky!
I plan on making this cute purse over and over again!
Thank you for sharing <3

Anonymous said...

How much fabric does it take in all?

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