Hi! I'm Stephanie (AKA Mama Pea) from Peas in a Pod blog. I am very excited to be here today to show you a tutorial I wrote for making a little purse. I made the purse to hold my daughter's Nintendo DSi game she got for Christmas. She needed something to carry it in when we were out running around. This can easily be adapted for a young boy (just by changing the fabric and leaving the strap off) or for an adult (by making the strap longer and changing the front pockets to fit what you need to go in them). It can also be used for holding an MP3 player or for a camera bag! If you hop on over to my blog today, you can see a couple of additional variations on this project. I hope you like the project. It's my first real tutorial, and my fellow design team members have come up with some great projects that I've really enjoyed. Let's hope this is up to snuff for you.
My girl, Sweet Pea, has been mighty proud to carry her video game in this little purse. I am so glad she is pleased with it. I made another for her friend today (it's also on my blog). When I finished it, Sweet Pea said, "Oh, Mom! She's just going to love it!" My girl always knows just the right thing to say!
Now, don't be intimidated by the number of steps or photos in this tutorial. Every step is easy. I just like to break things down into pretty small steps in case you are fairly new to sewing. You can also Download DSI Purse Tutorial and Pattern here (and at the end of the post) if you'd like. It's a lot of pages, so I don't know if you'll want to print it out! LOL.
If you are intimidated by free motion quilting, you don't have to quilt it (like the example on the left in the photo at the top of this post). But, I'm trying to get more comfortable with it, and I found this to be a great, small, low stress way of starting to practice. So, I quilted one, too (like the example on the right in the photo at the top of this post). If you're exploring free motion quilting, this is a good practice piece.
I also like to teach skills whenever possible with my tutorials. So, in this tutorial, you'll learn how to do a french seam! Cool, huh? You'll also install a parachute clip and make a buttonhole! So, are you ready to get started? Let's go!
(This is what I used for my little purse. There are lots of places where you could substitute things to meet your needs, which I encourage you to do!)
Pattern pieces (Download Pattern)
Note: When you print the patterns, be sure the page scaling is OFF on your printer. Measure the little square on each page. For the pattern sizes to be correct, this little square should measure 1” on each pattern page.
Scraps of fabric
Note: I started with a bunch of small pieces that I was given by Amanda, from The Quilted Fish. These are from her Sweet Divinity line—perfect for my little girl. Since my pieces were randomly cut scraps, mine is pretty scrappy—from pieces I had that were big enough. I also used these buttons and embellishments (see below for more on what you need for that) that she gave me. You can either make yours “scrappy” like I did, or make it all from one fabric if you like.
Scraps of batting (I used Hobbes 80/20 batting scraps from some of my quilts. You could use this, fleece, or flannel. I would not recommend a high-loft polyester batting. I think it would be too puffy.)
11” of lingerie lace (This is a lace that is stretchy like elastic. I found it at the fabric store near the elastic. Mine is about 2” wide. If you can’t find the lingerie lace or don’t like it, you could use some other 2” elastic.)
Thread to match your fabric
Temporary spray adhesive, such as Sulky KK2000 or 606 Spray (Note: If you don’t want to use this spray, you could also use fusible fleece instead of quilt batting. Then, you can stick the fleece to the fabric by ironing it to your fabric, instead of using spray adhesive.)
Wash away marker
Parachute Buckle (I used 1/2" on one and a ¾” on the other that I made. I liked the smaller one better, but I could only find the larger one when I went to get more. You could also substitute Velcro or a snap…)
9” of 3/8” wide ribbon (or ribbon wide enough to fit through the slots on your parachute buckle)
Buttons (I used one 3/8” button and one 1/2” button)
Any other embellishments you like (I used a crocheted flower from Riley Blake Designs)
It might be helpful if you have the following feet for your sewing machine:
- 1/4” foot
- Edge stitching/joining foot
- Walking foot
- Buttonhole attachment
- Zipper foot
1. Cut out pattern pieces carefully. Tape together pattern pieces where indicated to form one piece. You should have two pattern pieces. One back/flap pattern for your outer and lining fabric (Pattern A) and one back/flap pattern for your batting (Pattern B). The batting piece is cut smaller in order to reduce bulk in your seam allowances.
2. Decide what fabric will be used for the outside of your purse, the lining of your purse, the back pocket of the purse, and the strap. You may want to mark your fabrics as such with a sticker or something to avoid any confusion during construction.
3. What you need to cut:
a. One rectangle that is 5 ½” by 7 ½” of your outside fabric.
b. One rectangle that is 5 ½” by 7 ½” of your lining fabric.
Note: In this tutorial, I had to substitute a piece of blue fabric for the front of the purse due to an error I made. So, the front piece will be blue, not this white with pink/blue flowers.
c. One of the back/flap piece from the included pattern from your outside fabric.
f. One rectangle that is 4 ½” by 6 ¾” from your batting (this will be for the front of the purse).
g. One of the back/flap piece from the included pattern from your batting.
h. One rectangle of your strap fabric that is 2” by 34”. I did not have any pieces of fabric this long. So, I pieced together several small 2” strips until I had at least 34”. You could do the same. This strap is sized for a child (finished length is 33”). If you want a longer strap, make this strap as long as you want it to end up and add 1”. This pattern is for a strap that finishes ½” wide. If you want your strap to be wider, determine what you want the width of your finished strap to be and cut your strips 4 times this width.
Note: When I am cutting pieces from a pattern, I like to use my rotary cutter as much as I can. I use flat, flower head pins so my ruler will sit flat on the pattern. I then align my acrylic ruler with the edge of the pattern and cut. This way, I get better cuts. I clip the little corner cuts with scissors.
I even cut the curves freehand with my rotary cutter.
4. Before we start sewing, just a note. You should backstitch at the beginning and ending of each seam…especially seams where we will be turning right side out or places like pockets, where there will be stress on the seam. Place the fabric pieces for the front of the pouch (the 5 ½ x 7” pieces) right sides together and sew a ¼” seam along one of the 5 ½” sides.
Then…press the seams open.
5. Now we are going to add the batting between the outside and lining fabrics. You will need the 4 ½” by 6 ¾” piece of batting you cut and the temporary spray adhesive.
If you have never used this type of adhesive before…a couple of pieces of advice. Spray in a well ventilated area. Do not spray by your sewing machine or cutting table…the overspray will leave a sticky mess. I spray outside on the sidewalk or I lay my fabric in a cardboard box and spray in the box. This will control your overspray.
Spray one side of your batting lightly…
Then, flip open the two fabrics you just sewed together, line up the batting with the seam line, center it horizontally and press it down to stick it to the wrong side of one of the fabrics. If you don’t get it in the right spot, just pull it up and reposition it.
Now, lightly spray the exposed side if the batting…
You now have a little “quilt sandwich” of your lining fabric (right side out), batting, and outer fabric (also right side out).
Go to your sewing machine, and sew around all the raw edges with that scant ¼” seam just to baste them together. (This step probably isn’t necessary, but I like how it just holds everything together so I know it’s lined up.) Also, topstitch along the top edge, just to give it a nice, clean, finished look.
6. Now, we will add the lace to the front of the bag. This will form the little pockets for the games.
Lay one piece of lace across the front of the purse, with the bottom edge of the lace being 2 ½” from the top edge. Pin in place.
Go to your sewing machine and put your walking foot on. This will help keep the lace from bunching up and puckering. Sew along the bottom of the lace so the games don’t fall out the bottom. Then, baste the lace in place by sewing a scant ¼” seam along the lace at the edges. (I found that the lace tended to stretch a little with my regular foot. It still stretched a little, even with my walking foot. I found if I sewed down one side, across the bottom, and then up the other side, this worked well. If it stretches, fine, just trim off the excess. If you sew both sides in place and then the bottom, you are likely to get puckers. Ask me how I know…)
(NOTE: If you are making this for a boy, you could substitute plain elastic here, or you could make pockets by cutting strips of fabric 4” by 5 ½”. Fold with right sides together so the piece measures 2” by 5 ½” and sew the long edge. Don’t worry about sewing the short edges. Turn it right side out and press so that the seam is along one pressed edge. The opposite pressed edge will be the top of the pocket…the sewn edge will be the bottom of the pocket. Align the unsewn edges of the pieces with the raw edges side edges of the front of the pouch and attach these just like you would the lace. These pockets will be less “girly.”)
Align the second piece of lace in the same manner, but place it 3 and ½” from the top edge. Sew along the bottom of the lace, and then baste it down along the sides in the in the same way you did above.
Now, let’s add the sewing lines for the pockets. Mark the center of your lace with a pin. (The middle is 2 ¾” from each side.)
Sew a vertical line where your pin is, backstitching at the top of the first piece of lace and at the top of the second piece of lace. I found it easier to sew from the bottom up. (There will be a lot of pulling here, so it’s a good idea to backstitch at each top edge of the lace for some extra strength.)
Sew a vertical line at each of these points backstitching at the top of each piece of lace like you did before. (Again, bottom up.)
You now have four pockets for games. (You can adjust the size of these pockets if your child uses games other than the DSi games. There is extra space to make the pockets wider if need be. If you are using this as a purse for yourself, you might even want to make these pockets wide enough for your driver’s license or credit card.)
*If you want to do some free-motion quilting on your piece, this would be the time to do it. I didn’t decide I wanted to do it until after the next step. It can be a little tricky to try to quilt around your closure, so I recommend doing it here.
7. Now, let’s attach part of the closure to the front of the purse.
Cut 3” of ribbon for attaching the closure to your purse. Thread it through the slot on the female end of your closure.
Lay the closure wrong side (i.e., back side of the closure) up, and fold the raw edges of the ribbon toward the right side of the closure.
Pin the folded edge of the ribbon just below the edge of the bottom piece of lace, centered on your center sewing line.
Your closure should be wrong-side up, but you should be able to flip the closure over when you are ready to close it.
I found it easiest to put my zipper foot on here and move my needle all the way to the left.
Sew a couple lines of stitching to secure the ribbon and closure.
Don’t sew too close to the closure…you want to be able to flip the closure over easily.
Set this front piece aside for now. We are now going to work on the back/flap piece.
(NOTE: If you are going to use a snap, you can skip this step for now.)
Spray one side of the batting lightly with your spray adhesive. Then, stick it to the wrong side of one of your pieces of fabric. It doesn’t matter which one. It should be about ¼” from the curved edge and about ½” from the sides at the bottom.
Put the other piece of fabric, right sides together with this piece of fabric.
Pin around the top edges of this piece only.
Go to the sewing machine and sew a ¼” seam around this top flap area of the purse only. It is important not to sew past the little notches on the sides. This will make turning more difficult later.
Clip the seam allowances in the curve close to but not through the sewing line.
Alternatively, if you have pinking sheers, pink the edges of the curve. This (or clipping, as above) will make your curve lay better.
Turn it right side out so that the right sides of the fabric are now out and the batting is sandwiched in between. You may want to use a chopstick to run along the curve to get the seam pulled all the way out. Make sure all the other raw edges are aligned. Go to your iron and press.
Go back to your sewing machine and topstitch around the finished edges you just sewed.
*Again, if you want this piece to be quilted, this is probably the best time to do any quilting you want to do. Don’t worry about doing too much quilting on the lower one third of this piece, as it will be covered up by the pocket fabric anyway. I quilted this anyway as I needed the practice!
(NOTE: If you are going to use a snap instead of a parachute clip, this is the time to put that on both the flap and the front piece of the purse.)
9. Next, take the 5 ½” by 9” piece of fabric you cut for the pocket.
Fold it in half so that it measures 5 ½” by 4 ½”. Press the fold.
If you want a closure on your back pocket. Now is the time to add it. I decided I wanted to be able to button this so that one could put earphones in it and close it up so they wouldn’t fall out. Let’s start by making a buttonhole.
Locate the center of your pocket by folding it in half along the fold and finger pressing a crease. We’re going to make the buttonhole horizontal…that is parallel to the fold line. If you make it vertical (or perpendicular to the fold line), it will be hard to button and unbutton the pocket.
I decided I wanted my buttonhole ¾” below the fold, so I marked a line ¾” away from the fold to indicate where I wanted the buttonhole to be. I also marked my center line (where I finger pressed, just for reference (I used a water soluble marker for these steps.), as well as an estimate of where I thought the bottom and top of the buttonhole should go. (If your button is ¾” in diameter, for example, you might estimate your buttonhole to be ¾” long.)
My machine has an automatic buttonholer. If I put the button in the buttonhole foot, it will sew a buttonhole to match the size. Because my machine starts the buttonhole at the bottom, not in the center, I marked approximately how bit the buttonhole would be so I would know where to start the machine.
Sew the buttonhole.
Cut the buttonhole open with your seam ripper. Be sure to put a pin at the top of the buttonhole so your seam ripper doesn’t rip right through it. Trust me. I’ve done it before!
*If buttonholes scare you, you can just leave this part out, or you can use Velcro, or you can use a snap if you’d like.
Lay this on the piece quilted back/flap piece, aligning the raw edges. This should be on top of the piece of fabric that is your outer fabric (not your lining). Determine where you want your button to go (based on the location of your buttonhole).
Mark this spot with your water soluble marker…
and sew the button on. (I’m using my machine for this, but you can do it by hand if you prefer.)
Button the button through the buttonhole to make sure everything works okay. Keep pocket positioned there.
Baste it in place with a scant ¼” seam allowance.
*As an alternative, you could put some batting inside the folded edge of the pocket piece and quilt it before sewing it on. I didn’t, just because I was trying to keep the bulk down.
Put this aside for a moment while we make the strap.
10. Take your length of fabric you cut or pieced together for your strap.
Press it in half the long way, wrong sides together.
Open up this fold. Fold one long raw edge in to this fold and press all the way along the length of the strap.
Repeat this on the other side, folding that raw edge in to the fold and press all along the length of the strap.
Now, fold along the original fold you pressed. Your raw edges should all be inside the fold, and your two folded edges should meet at the edge.
(Gosh, seeing how dark these photos are by my sewing machine makes me so glad my hubby installed a whole bunch of track lighting for me in my sewing room. I no longer have these bad shadows anymore!)
If you have an edge stitching foot for your machine, this is a good time to use it. Put it on, and I moved my needle all the way over to the left. Edge stitch along the side of your strap where the two folded edges meet. Make sure you keep those folded edges together as you sew.
Now, sew the other long side of your strap so that you have two stitching lines, one along each side of the strap.
11. Now, let’s attach the strap to the back/flap piece of the purse.
First, fold up one end of the strap ½” and press.
Get your back/flap piece of fabric out. With your outer fabric facing UP, position your strap on the fabric so that it is ¾” from the outer edge and 1” down from the top of the notch. The raw edge that you just pressed under on your strap sound be face down on the outer fabric, and the fold you just pressed should be aligned with the bottom of your ruler (as shown in the photo). The long edge of your strap should be running upward toward the flap.
Sew this down by sewing a little square and then an X in the square for extra security. Repeat this on the other side, making sure your strap is not twisted.
12. Now, let’s put the other half of the closure on. The male end of the closure is going to go on the inside of the flap piece.
Lay your pack/flap piece with your outer fabric on the table (your lining fabric is facing up). Place the front piece on top of this, with the lining facing down (facing the other lining). Flip the female end of the closure up, and insert the male end.
Fold the flap down and feel with your fingers where the slot is on the male end of the closure. Mark this with a pin.
Use your water soluble marker to mark this spot so you can remove the pin.
Cut a 6” piece of ribbon, thread it through the closure and fold it, just like you did last time. Lay the male end of the closure, right side toward the lining fabric, and aligning the slot for the ribbon with your mark. Trim off any excess ribbon, and fold the raw edge under. Pin to the front flap.
Put your zipper foot back on your machine, and sew this down, using a two or three lines of stitching.
Position an embellishment over your stitching lines.
Sew it in place. I was able to sew my button on with the machine (which also anchored the flower), but you may have to do it by hand to avoid hitting the plastic closure.
13. We are in the home stretch now! Last step! We just need to assemble the bag! Here is where we do our French seam!
If you have a bunch of stray threads hanging off your bag pieces, take a moment to trim them up. It is a good idea to have nice, clean edges at this point.
Put the back/flap piece on your table with the outer side down (lining side up). Place the front piece on with the lining sided down (outer fabric up). Pin this together.
You may also want to tuck the strap into the pocket and pin it toward the center of the pocket. We don’t want to accidentally sew the straps into the side of the bag.
Sew around three raw edges using a scant ¼” seam allowance or less. It’s important that this seam is a little less than ¼”. It may seem weird to be sewing this in this manner. You may be thinking, “But the raw edges are all on the outside!” Don’t worry. They’ll all be covered in a couple of steps.
Now, turn it inside out, so the lining is showing. Reach your hand inside and push all the seams all the way out. You may need to use a chopstick to get into those corners and push them out. It’s really important that you get all the seams pushed out and opened all the way.
Now, go back to the sewing machine and sew at least ¼” seam allowance. Here, it’s good to be a little generous with your seam allowance. We are trying to enclose all those raw edges in our seam. Go all around the same three sides you did in the last step.
So, now it should look like this. Trim away any threads that need to be trimmed away.
Flip it right side out, push out the seams again, and viola! You are done! No turning through a small hole, no openings to close, and all your raw edges are enclosed!
(If you have any raw edges sticking out of the side, it means you didn’t sew your last seam deep enough. Go back and sew your seam a little deeper.)
If you want to dowload a PDF file of these instructions, you can do so here (Download DSI Purse Tutorial and Pattern). The patterns area also included in the PDF file.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know (email@example.com). I’ll do my best to help you! There are tons of ways you can adapt this pattern. I would love to see your version! Please feel free to post it to my Flickr group, “Mama Pea’s Pod!” Please also post them to the Quilted Fish Flicker group! We'd all LOVE to see your work!
I would like to take a moment to thank my two friends, Jill and Lynn (Alamosa Quilter), who tested my instructions and pattern for me. Their feedback was invaluable. You can see what they created on my blog. Hope to see you there!
Until next time,