How I make a handbag pattern and sew it

Today I am going to show you how I make a purse pattern and then sew it up. Designing handbags is a fun and easy entry into the exciting world of PATTERNMAKING! It’s so much easier than fitting the curves of the human body which can be a little( OK a lot) frustrating sometimes…..makeahandbagpattern

However, if you aren’t ready to make patterns that’s OK too. I have lots of blog friends who design and sell PDF patterns and I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate it if we all stopped buying patterns! But it isn’t really very hard.

Just an aside that I’m terrible at math so if you say you can’t make patterns because you stink at math….well, I won’t buy it.

The sewing is the hard part. At least for me, it is.

However, if you like this bag, don’t have the fabric and want one just like it I do have another for sale in my Etsy shop!

handbagdressformI made this large shoulder bag for my friends birthday last weekend. In usual fashion I woke up the day of the party having no idea what I would make for my dear friend who was celebrating a BIG birthday. Yes, her 39th again! As usual I had left everything to the last minute ! I remembered some fabric Joann Fabrics had sent me as a prize for winning the Waverize it sewing contest with this slipcover and I realized it was perfect for her. At least in my opinion it was. But we would have to ask her and she seemed to like it! My friend is an earthy but sophisticated lady from Malibu , but who grew up in South Africa, and this fabric from Waverly reminded me of all of those things.

bagdetailetsyI made a felted wool flower made from an old sweater. It cleverly disguises a sewing mistake! Embellishments can come in so handy…baginsideThe inside is also lined with another coordinating fabric from Waverly. I added a  magnetic clasp to the inside yoke. chevronbagetsyI knew I wanted a hobo shape when I started drafting the pattern. It looked a little plain so I added a yoke, then halfway through designing, I decided to add a gusset, or an insert between the front and back. To do that I would need to make the yoke wider to accommodate the insert’s width . Then I decided to add pleats too, so I slashed the pattern and spread it to add some depth to it. I traced the front pattern piece to do that and slashed it open, patching it with paper. and kept the original un pleated piece to use for my inner lining piece. The yoke would have four identical pieces, Two for the inner yoke, two the outer yoke. The inner yoke would have a magnetic clasp. That would have to be attached before I sewed the lining to the main piece.bag1This was the shape I decide I wanted the purse to be. The main design that would be cut up and added to. But this is the main shape.bag3bag,4bagpattern5I measured how much larger the slashed piece was than the original piece. That difference would be the total width of my pleats. I divided that up between four evenly sized pleats.bagpattern6Here are my pattern pieces. The strap doesn’t need a piece but I wanted it to be the same width as my gusset or inset. I’m not sure if gusset is the right word for this,  but it sounds very official, doesn’t it?

And her a few shots of the sewing together part…

makingpurse1I backed all of the outer pieces with canvas to give it sturdiness. Canvas is nicer than iron on interfacing which can start to peel off and give ugly bubbles to fabric.makingbag2I sewed the pleats and then sewed the front piece to the insert.makingpurse3makingpurse5makingpurse6making purse7

Well, I never got a shot of my friend because it got dark at the party and well, I was having so much fun I forgot about picture taking. And the photo taken of us together was taken by some guy who had no clue how to use my camera so it was out of focus!

But someone did get a picture of me with my husband!Even if he didn’t focus a little lower to get a photo of my fabulous handmade dress. Men!Justine&Richardfor blog

Cheers!

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-McKenzie

Comments

  1. says

    Justine this fabric is great!! And I love the fact that you drafted the pattern yourself. Your friend is a lucky girl to have that bag!

  2. Judy says

    Proud you had fun at the bday party..Great photo of you and hubby..Wish I could see the dress,ha
    Love,love the purse.. That is such a good idea to use the canvas for interfacing.. I will try this.
    thank you for sharing.Know your friend loved the purse.

  3. Becky says

    That looks great! I have been trying to find classes and tutorials on designing my own patterns.

  4. Sarah says

    This is so great! I love this fabric! Would you mind telling me the name/designer! It would go perfectly in my living room/diningroom! Thank you!

  5. says

    Thanks for this tutorial! I love making bags and I love trying to come up withy my own design. This will be helpful!

  6. tootsie says

    I cannot wait to try this…it is exactly what I’ve been looking for. So thanks in advance!

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Trackbacks

  1. […] Justine from Sew Country Chick shows how she drafted the pattern for this pleated hobo bag she made for her friend’s birthday.  She walks us through the whole process, from choosing fabrics to fine tuning the design to drafting the pattern to sewing it up.  If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at designing a handbag, you’ll want to check out her post.  Go to Sew Country Chick for the tutorial. […]

  2. […] Justine from Sew Country Chick shows how she drafted the pattern for this pleated hobo bag she made for her friend’s birthday.  She walks us through the whole process, from choosing fabrics to fine tuning the design to drafting the pattern to sewing it up.  If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at designing a handbag, you’ll want to check out her post.  Go to Sew Country Chick for the tutorial. […]