It also makes for a great pencil case or travel cosmetic case. (In the future I plan to add vinyl lining and I’ll show you how too when I do.)
Materials Needed: -Basic sewing tools -Zipper foot -Optional Handles – I used ½” twill tape for this one, but you can use store bought bias binding or make your own by quadrupling the width so it would be 2” then fold in half lengthwise twice. (Learn more below.) Or obviously, you can use your creative license and run wild using ribbon or braided string or something… -Printable pattern for small (here), medium/large (here) purse (You might have to resize them if your printer prints them funny. Mine worked well though. You can fiddle with the scaling with a copier that offers resizing. There is a 1" scale guide to help. And all the measurements are given in case you want to draft your own pattern. For the medium and large, it's the same pattern, just the large is 1 1/2" longer.) **UPDATE** I had to make a new pattern for myself and realized the sizing may be a little off and create a problem with the zipper ends. You might want to trim about a 1/4" off the sides and bottom. ***
For the Small Purse: 7” zipper 2 - 5 1/2" x 12" pieces of outer fabric 2 - 5 1/2" x 12" pieces of fusible interfacing 2 - 5 1/2" x 12" pieces of lining fabric 2 - 20" long handles
For the Medium Purse: 9” zipper 2 - 8" x 14" pieces of outer fabric 2 - 8" x 14" pieces of fusible interfacing 2 - 8" x 14" pieces of lining fabric 2 - 26" long handles
For the Large Purse: 12” zipper 2 - 8" x 17" pieces of outer fabric 2 - 8" x 17" pieces of fusible interfacing 2 - 8" x 17" pieces of lining fabric 2 26" long handles
Cut out all your pieces using the handy pattern and iron the fusible interfacing on the back side of the outer fabric. Use your judgment as to what weight, considering the fabric you’re using--medium weight is the most likely.
Next temporarily pin the zipper, face down along the top edge of one of the outer pieces.
Then layer a piece of the lining face down on top of that. Pin in place. If you don’t have a lot of experience sewing zippers, I recommend you baste it together so it doesn’t slip while you’re stitching.
Then, using a zipper foot, go ahead and machine stitch the seam. Use the edge of your zipper foot as a guide, that’ll give you a very scant ¼” seam allowance. Don’t stitch too close to the coils otherwise you’ll have an awfully hard time getting the zipper open smoothly, if at all.
Next, iron the seams open.
Repeat these steps for the other side.
At this point you add the optional handles. Obviously skip this if you don’t want handles.
If you’re using store bought or handmade bias binding for the handles, you’re going to need to stitch the two sides of the handley part closed. I’m going to divert to another bag I’ve made to illustrate this step, so don’t get confused when the colors change. ;) To make the handles, iron them in half lengthwise once. Open them back up and fold each side in half again. It should total a half an inch wide.
Next fold your binding in half. Measure 7” from the fold and pin both sides. (Measurements are for medium and large bags. For the smaller one, you should measure 6".)
When you open it back up, you’ll see you have 14” perfectly centered sectioned off.
Using the pins as guides, sew in between them along the open side of the binding. This is the part of the handle your hand will hold.
We will now return to your originally scheduled tutorial… Pin the handles on the outer fabric (NOT the lining!) 2” from the bottom corner. It helps to have a square edge to make sure you’re getting a perfectly perpendicular angle. Again, if you baste them in place, you’re bound to get better results because slippage will be less likely. As you can see I've got mad skills and only need one pin. ;) One inch down from the zipper, pin a pin across the handle to mark the stitching stopping point.
Now stitch up one side, then across at the pin placed one inch below the zipper then back down the other side. If you did the binding option, your stitches should match up nicely with the ones you made before.
Repeat for the other side and then for the other handle.
You can also add an embellishments or embroidery at this point too.
Now we will begin stitching the body of the bag together. You can go ahead and get really excited now. ;)
First of all, unzip the zipper. This is very important. Very.
Now you want to match up/line up the outer fabrics, right sides together. Pin in place. Do the same for lining fabrics. At the zipper seam you want to fold the lining towards the outer fabric and line up the top edges of the outer fabric nice and neat as seen in the picture below.
Sew along the four major sides. Leave an opening in the lining seam for turning inside out later on. When you reach the zipper on the side seams you should stop at your stitch mark from the zipper, lift the presser foot and pivot so you're angled and ready for the 1/4" seam allowance for the rest of the seam (see the third picture below for reference.)
Now, just like with a square bottom tote, you want to match up the seams for the bottom corners and pin in place.
Turn right side out. Lastly stitch up the open seam inside.
And you're done. :)
If you have any questions or something doesn't make sense, drop me a line and I'll be happy to help.