I’ve always been a bit of a guess worker when it comes to sewing. I don’t really follow patterns, I cut corners and I skip things like lining and finishing seams. But recently I’ve been wanting to do things ‘properly’ so I’ve been trying to teach myself the correct way to make things! I started with a little make-up purse, I love it! If you want to make one too…
(To make a bag measuring 8×5”)
…You will need:
2 pieces of fabric measuring 8.5”x 5.5” (plus extra strips for the zip ends)
2 pieces of lining fabric the same length
sewing machine with zipper foot
Make the zip end covers: Cut 2 scraps of fabric measuring 3”x1.5”. Press them each in half and then fold the ends back 1/4” and press again. Place the fabric over the ends of the zip and pin in place.
Sew along the pin with 2 lines of neat stitching.
Pin the first side of the purse: To assemble the purse, place your outer fabric in front of you face up. Then place the zip along the top edge of the fabric, face down (the top of the zip and the top of the fabric should line up). Finally, place the lining fabric on top face down. Pin in place.
Sew the first side of the purse: Open the zip half way. Put the zipper foot onto your sewing machine and, feeling the edge of the zip with your finger, sew along the length of the zip making sure the zipper foot presses alongside it. When you get halfway, lift the foot and gently move it back to a part that has already been sewn and continue.
Sew the second side of the purse: To make the other side of the purse, follow the same pattern. Take the other piece of outer fabric, place it face up. Take the fabric with the sewn on zip and place it on top with the zip face down (lining the zip edge with the fabric edge just as before). Finally place the lining fabric on top face down. Pin and sew along the zip as before.
Top Stitch along the zip: Turn the fabric the right way round and top stitch along the length of the zip, holding the fabric taut as you do so.
Sew the purse edges: Open your zip halfway. This is important! It creates the hole to be able to turn the purse the right way round… So if you forget you’ll be unpicking. I hate unpicking. Pin the outer fabric together, right sides facing. Do the same with the lining fabric, with the zip ends pointing downwards into the lining (see the photo below on the right). Sew with a 1/2” seam allowance around the purse, leaving a 2” gap at the bottom to turn out.
Snip the excess: Carefully snip the excess fabric from the zip ends so that the fabric does not bulge at the edges. Do the same around the corners of the purse.
Turn out twice: Now for the really satisfying but also slightly confusing bit. Turn the bag out through the gap in the lining, so you have an inside out purse. Use a pencil to poke the corners out. Then turn again, through the open zip so that your bag is the right way round. Hoorah! How quickly it goes from messy mass of fabric and thread to a proper purse.
Close up the lining: Pull out the lining, and sew the hole shut. You could do this by hand if you want it to be neat (I couldn’t be bothered… Machine is way quicker!).
And your lovely purse is finished!