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:
self heal mat (optional)
straight edge ruler (optional)
small pieces of fabric, 8"x 9" and 3"x 11"
new or vintage buttons, or trims of your choice
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