How much is that doggy on that purse?

When I started sewing in earnest last summer, I frequently came across the expression ‘my stash’. Used by quilters and sewers (sewers? That looks so wrong. I mean people who sew. Not smelly places.) and often used in a sheepish sort of voice, ‘my stash’ refers to the heaps and heaps of different fabrics said people have accumulated over time. ‘My stash’ is often neatly sorted by colours, by fabric types. Most people vow to use up ‘their stash’ and then end up buying more fabric, ‘just in case the right project comes along.’ I of course was going to be different. Not for me the purchase of some fabric just because I like the look of it. No, I was going to think of a project, use the fabrics that I already had, and only if I didn’t have enough fabric left, would I go and buy some more.

Well. Yes.

Six months later, I have my very own ‘stash’. Which didn’t stop me from sauntering into town one day, casually dropping into the fabric shop and coming across the most splendid fabric – blue with a dog pattern on it. Not twee, just sweet. Reader, I bought it and used it to make a cafetière cosy and also a lovely little purse.

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Here are the bits and pieces. I do enjoy making up my own patterns these days – usually I follow some video tutorial or other, though. In this case, I’d seen Style Novice’s make-up bag tutorial, and thought that I could just reduce the size of this bag slightly for it to become a neat little purse. It worked out surprisingly well, although my seams aren’t as neatly hidden as they are in the tutorial.

First of all, I made the card slots according to the pattern in the Thai tutorial I mentioned in my cafetière cosy post. (I still can’t speak Thai.) They are perhaps a bit shallow, but that means they fit into the purse – some experimentation may be in order. The important thing is to leave a gap at the bottom and at the sides (again, a gap that’s a bit larger than the one in my purse would be better), so that you can make a proper boxy bottom.

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And here’s the other side with my lovely, pretty fabric.

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Normally, you can simply cut out an oval piece of fabric (have a look at the tutorial to see how). But as my pattern has a direction – we don’t want the dogs to stand on their heads, do we? – I cut two halves (with added seam allowance) and sewed them together. I used ordinary 100% cotton wadding and handquilted the pieces together by  tracing the shapes of the dogs. If you squint, you can just about make it out.

Then the zipper is sewn in by hand. It might have been nicer to recess the zipper slighly by aligning it with the seam of the binding, but I chose to sew it to the upper end of the binding instead.

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The final step was also the hardest because the purse is rather small. How to create a boxy bottom for small bags is described very well in this tutorial by So Sew Easy. With so many layers it was quite tricky to sew along the edges and there was simply not enough fabric to trim any excess off and then bind it to hide the raw edges.

Et voilà – here it is. I like the fact that it opens all the way to the bottom. If you hold the purse in your hand, unzip it, it opens wide and you have access to all your coins and cards without it being fiddly. It remains to be seen whether I’ll soon be spilling coins all over the shop, too…

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About alycevr

Academic, translator & maker of things
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