Be prepared! When you toss this cute little bag over your shoulder, all your friends will want one too.

June 11, 2015

No one will know how little effort it took to make this playful yet sophisticated purse. Zipper installation is foolproof, says designer Elizabeth Bailey; stitching it up and adding a cord is a breeze as well.

While you're at it, make two or three. Pick coordinating fabrics from your stash. Or, to match a special outfit, use pieces left over from garment construction or from shortening a hem. It's couture accessorizing without the high-fashion cost.

Materials (for one bag):

  • 1/4 yard large floral (bag)
  • 1/8 yard aqua stripe (bag)
  • 1/4 yard lime green print (bag lining)
  • 2  7-inch-long zippers
  • Embroidery floss: 1 skein each chartreuse and rose and 2 skeins bright green (strap) or 2 yards 3/16-inch-diameter cord
  • 2  1/4-inch-diameter beads (optional)
  • Decorative frog (optional)

Finished Size: 6 x 7 3/4 inches

Quantities are for 44/45-inch-wide fabrics. Measurements include 1/2-inch seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Cut Fabrics

To make the best use of your fabrics, cut the pieces in the following order.

From large floral, cut:

  • 1  8-3/4-x-7-inch rectangle
  • 1  5-3/4-x-7-inch rectangle

From aqua stripe, cut:

  • 1  3-1/2-x-7-inch rectangle

From lime green print, cut:

  • 2  8-1/2-x-7-inch lining rectangles

Note: When using silk, brocades, or other fabrics that fray easily, zigzag or serge to finish edges of pieces before assembling the bag.

1. Center and align one edge of a 7-inch-long zipper with long edge of aqua stripe 3-1/2-x-7-inch rectangle; top zipper stops should be 5/8 inch from fabric edge; bottom stop extends beyond fabric edge (Diagram 1). Sew zipper to aqua stripe rectangle, stitching down center of zipper. Press seam allowance away from zipper.

2. In the same manner, join remaining free edge of zipper with long edge of large floral 5-3/4-x-7-inch rectangle (Diagram 2). Press seam allowance away from zipper.

3. Center and align one edge of second 7-inch-long zipper with remaining long edge of aqua stripe 3-1/2-x-7-inch rectangle (Diagram 3). Join as before to make bag rectangle.

4. Sew short edge of a lime green print 8-1/2-x-7-inch lining rectangle to opposite side of second zipper tape. Using a short, wide zigzag stitch, sew across end of each zipper 1/2 inch from the ends to make new end stops as shown in Diagram 4.

5. Turn bag rectangle right side down. Referring to Diagram 5, join right side of remaining lime green print lining rectangle to wrong side of zipper tape at top of aqua stripe rectangle. Fold lining down and press.

6. Topstitch fabric on both sides of both zippers 1/8" inch from fabric fold.

7. Turn under short edge of large floral 8-3/4-x-7-inch rectangle 1/2 inch twice; sew along fold to hem.

8. Turn bag rectangle right side up. Place wrong side of large floral 8-3/4-x-7-inch rectangle on right side of lining rectangle with hem just below zipper as shown in Diagram 6. Using 1/4-inch seam, baste.

9. Baste remaining side of bag to its lining using a 1¿4-inch seam (Diagram 7).

Cut and Assemble the Handle

  1. Gather together and knot on one end of unwound skeins of chartreuse, bright green, and rose embroidery floss. Tie remaining ends together and slip one tied end over a hook or door knob.
  2. Insert a pencil or dowel through floss loop at tied end (Diagram 8). Twist pencil in clockwise fashion, keeping floss taut as you twist. Continue twisting until floss is very tightly twisted. Remove from hook.
  3. Holding twisted floss at center, bring ends together and allow floss to twist back on itself. Tie together and trim each end to make a 72-inch-long cord.

Add Handle to Bag

Place center of cord 5/8 inch from edge of open pocket side of bag rectangle; let 6 inches of cord extend below bag bottom on each side. Using a zipper foot, stitch down center of cord with a straight stitch starting at zipper and ending 5/8 inch from the bottom. Repeat with remaining side edge.

Finish Bag

  1. Fold bag rectangle in half, placing the zipper at the top of the bag. Sew together side and bottom edges, keeping cord ends free.
  2. Clip corners of seam allowances and trim excess zipper tape. Serge or zigzag-stitch the seam allowances.
  3. Turn bag right side out. Slip bead on each cord end and tie a knot at end of cord to secure bead. If desired, sew decorative frog on bag front.

Zipper Phobic

If the thought of sewing a zipper causes you to break out in a sweat, consider using wash-away basting tape or a water-soluble glue stick (available at quilt shops and fabric stores) to hold the zipper in place. Then, when you stitch the zipper, use a zipper foot to better control the position of your stitching line.


Be the first to comment!