Tag Archives: evening handbag


A little sparkle for a night out.

Dimensions: approximately 15 cm high X 30 cm wide X 5 cm deep

Construction Method: Turned finish – this method may be recognized by noting the lack of machine-stitching that is visible at points of assembly on the exterior side of the bag. This is possible by placing the material, or parts, face to face, machining and turning right-side out. It is the most commonly used assembly process.

Material Used: 100% polyester-backed paillette fabric, 112 cm wide; 100% polyester sateen lining; 100% polyester Pellon® fleece interlining, medium-weight; 100% polyester Knit-fuse® interfacing.

You will need:

  • 30 cm of paillette fashion fabric, 112 cm wide
  • 30 cm of sateen lining, 112 cm wide
  • 30 cm of needle-punched fleece interlining, 56 cm wide
  • 30 cm of knit-fuse interfacing, 75 cm wide
  • 1 metal purse frame with double loops, 30 cm x 6 cm
  • 1 metal purse chain, 50 cm
  • 2 metal jumprings, 5-6 mm dia.
  • 1 spool of coordinating thread
  • 1 tube of clear-set bonding adhesive
  • kraft paper


The size of the frame determines the size of this evening bag.

The width is equal to the width of the purse frame. The height is equal to half the width and the depth is 1/6 of the width. The dimensions of the purse frame used is 30 cm X 6 cm.

Take the purse frame and draw around the outer perimeter following its shape onto kraft paper, including the points where the hinges stop.

Square down vertically from the hinge points, and measure 15 cm from top of frame to base line for the finished height.

To create the depth, add a 25 mm gusset on each side. Extend the baseline outward on either side of center and join to the top edge with a straight line.

The distance from the top corner of the purse frame to its hinge equals 6 cm. Transfer this amount to your pattern draft plus add seam allowance and fit ease (this equals 1 cm for the seam allowance and a few millimetres more from end of the purse hinge location). Indicate the hinge locations with a notch. Label O. This is where the purse hinges will sit on the fabric.

Cut out pattern and label INTERIOR with cutting instructions for lining/interfacing and add a vertical grainline for the marker.

Trace draft onto a folded sheet of paper with the baseline aligned on the fold. Cut out pattern and label EXTERIOR with cutting instructions for paillette fabric/interlining and add a vertical grainline for the marker. Label the notches, X.


Cutting Tip: Do not use your best fabric scissors to cut the paillette fabric; the plastic will dull them quickly.

Exterior Bag: cut 1X the paillette fabric and the Pellon interlining.

Interior Bag: cut 2X the sateen lining and knit fusible.

Slip Pocket: cut a square from remaining lining fabric – 22 cm long X 22 cm wide

Sewing Tip: Use a roller foot attachment on your sewing machine for more control and less friction when sewing the paillette fabric. The metal roller will not imprint the fabric.


a) Preparation

Iron the fusible knit-fuse interfacing onto the wrong side of the lining fabric, following manufacturer’s directions.

Baste the sew-in Pellon® interlining to the back of the paillette fabric, by hand, around the perimeter.

b) Exterior

To construct the exterior of the bag, fold the paillette fabric FACE SIDES together and match the X notches. Sew from the X, down to the fold of the fabric, using a 1 cm seam allowance.

Create a flat bottom for the purse by mitering (see: mitering). Take one of the corners of the exterior bag and match the sideseam with the foldline of the bag. Flatten to form a triangle. Measure 25 mm from the tip of the triangle  and mark the line with chalk and pin. Stitch along the marked line perpendicular to the seam and trim the excess fabric 1cm from the seam to create a mitered corner. Repeat for the opposite bottom corner of the exterior. Turn exterior bag right side out.

c) Slip Pocket

Make a slip pocket by folding a square of lining fabric in half with FACE SIDES together. Stitch up sides from fold, using a 6mm seam allowance. Turn fabric right-side-out and press flat.

d) Interior

Center slip pocket on one section of the lining and match the raw open edge of the pocket to the base of the lining fabric. Edge stitch along the 2 sides of the slip pocket to attach the pocket to the lining. Stitch across the bottom of the pocket. (as an option, this slip pocket can be divided into 2 smaller compartments by stitching through the center of the slip pocket, if desired).

Place the 2 lining pieces, with FACE SIDES together, and align the bottom edges and the O notches. Sew from the O, down to the bottom corner of the lining, using a 1 cm seam allowance. Then, sew the bottom seam of the lining, using a 1 cm seam allowance, except you have to leave an opening in the bottom of the lining to allow for turning.

Create a miter by matching the side seam with the bottom seam on each bottom corner of the lining and proceed in the same manner as described above.

e) Assembly

Slip the exterior section in between the lining. The FACE SIDES of the interior bag and the exterior bag should now be touching each other. Match up the X and O notches. Sew the two flaps of the purse. On one of the flaps pin the lining to the exterior bag at the top and sides. Begin sewing where the stitching starts on the lining, sew all around the sides and top edge stopping at the stitching on the lining. Repeat with other purse flap. Clip ‘V’ notches at the X and O in the seam allowance to aid in securing a smooth edge and trim the excess Pellon from the seam allowance.

Gently pull the exterior of the bag through the opening left in the lining. Drop the lining into the cavity of the exterior section and smooth everything down with a wooden creaser, as a hot iron will melt the plastic paillettes.

f) Purse  Frame Attachment

To complete and before applying the glue, dry-fit the bag into the frame to check the fit. Check the bulk of the seam and trim seam allowance if necessary. The thickness of the layers at this point should fill the cavity of the frame nicely.

Then, remove from the frame and sew up opening in the lining closed. Stitch the gap in the lining closed by pushing the raw edges into the gap and edge-stitching close to the edge for a neat finish.

Apply clear-set bonding glue to the channel of one of the sides of the frame. Start at the hinge and work your way to the other hinge. Go easy on the glue and only do one side of the frame at a time! Use a craftstick (or something similar) to spread the glue around inside the frame. Don’t let it form “globs” or it will ooze out on your fabric. Allow the glue to become tacky for 5 minutes.

Insert the purse into the frame. Start by inserting the sides of your purse into the frame (hinge end first) then work your way up to the top corners. Use a pointed tool to poke and stuff the fabric evenly into the frame – a crease presser/turner is perfect for this job. After you have inserted the sides of the purse into the frame, start inserting the top edge of the purse into the frame working reasonably quickly before the glue dries. Turn the purse over to check that the lining side is also inserted evenly into the frame. Leave to dry for 15 minutes before tackling the other side of the frame and purse in the same way. Let everything dry for about 30 minutes or according to manufacturer’s directions.

g) Finishing

Add the purse chain to the double loops on the purse frame by threading the jumprings onto the chain links and the frame loops, then closing with pinch-nosed pliers.



Filed under Bag'n-telle, Design Ideas


When you’re headed out for a special event, all you need is this petite evening clutch and your M.I.L.K. (Money, ID, Lipstick and Keys).

Check out my latest design-it-yourself bag project in the current issue of Vogue Patterns Magazine. (Apr/May 2011), along with the best of the season for today’s sewing.

Photo: Courtesy of Vogue Pattern


Filed under Bag'n-telle


‘Cabochon Rose Handbag’

This little evening handbag resembles a corsage and is carried on the wrist. It can be made up in colours and fabrications to compliment the lady’s dress.

Dimensions: approximately 6 ½” in diameter X 1½” deep  [16.5 cm X 4cm ]

Construction Method: Turned finish – this method may be recognized by noting the lack of machine-stitching that is visible at points of assembly on the exterior side of the bag. This is possible by placing the material, or parts, face to face, machining and turning right-side out. It is the most commonly used assembly process.

Material Used: 1oo% polyester dobby-weave satin, with contrast piping.

You will need:

  • 1 closed zipper, 5 ½” [14 cm] long
  • ½ yd. [0.5 m] of fashion fabric, 45” [115 cm] wide **
  • ¼ yd. [0.25 m] of lining fabric, 45” [115 cm] wide
  • ¼ yd. [0.25 m] of fusible interfacing, 45” [115 cm] wide
  • ¼ yd. [0.25 m] of nylon netting, 18” [45 cm] wide
  • 1 package of piping, ¼ ” [6 mm] wide
  • ⅓ yd. [0.30 m] of belting, 1” [25 mm] wide
  • coordinating thread
  • kraft paper

Design Tip: Instead of contrasting piping, make up your own piping to match.


The size of your hand bag is based on the span of your hand. The opening should allow for your hand to enter and remove contents from the bag interior. A zipper length of 5” to 6″ (12.5 – 15 cm) is required.

Draw 2 circles onto kraft paper with a radius equal to half the zipper length plus 1” (25 mm).

To create depth to the bag silhouette, draw a narrow dart on one of the circles, from the center of the circle. Make the dart opening about 1 ½ inches [38 mm]. This is the bag front pattern.

On the second circle, reduce the diameter so that the circumference is equal to that of the first circle. Do this by drawing parallel to the inside of the circle ⅛” (3mm) for every ½ – inch of circumference reduction. (In this case, ¼ ” [6 mm] is used to reduce the diameter to 6″ [15 cm].)

Cut the circle in half. This is the bag back pattern. (To verify the size, the circumference of each circle should be equal.)

Next, draw an oblong for the strap handle. It is double the width of the belting and 2” [50 mm] longer in length. This is the bag strap pattern piece.

Add seam allowance to all pattern pieces.


Bag Front – cut 1X self; cut 1X fusible; cut 1X netting; cut 1X lining

Bag Back – cut 2X self; cut 2X fusible; cut 2X lining

Strap – cut 1X self; cut 1X belting

Petals – cut strips of bias cloth about 2 – 3” wide [50-75 mm]; use as many as needed to make flower.

** Cautionary Note: The fabric used to create the petals should be a thin and lightweight one, as the layers will thicken as you make up the flower. Your sewing machine’s presser foot must be able to sew through the thickness of the layers.


a) Fabric Preparation:

Iron fusible interfacing onto wrong side of fabric on front and back pieces following manufacturer’s directions.

b) Bag Handle Preparation:

With FACE SIDES together, align and match long edges of the fabric strip and pin/baste together. Sew up seam and press open. Turn the “tube” right-side-out and press flat.

Place a length of belting between the layers of fabric through the tunnel. Top stitch close to the edges through all layers to create a relief effect. Set aside.

c) Cabuchon Rose Preparation:

For the handbag’s curved silhouette, cut a circle of netting the desired size (1), and sew dart to form a conical shape. Cover this with fashion fabric, made up in the same way (2). Cut bias strips of fabric, and fold these in half; link these as in a chain (3). Pin and sew these to the shape. Place another bias strip across these, allowing enough slack to give a natural shape, to represent a rose petal (4). Arrange more bias strips around the shape (5), alternating them to give the appearance of a rose (6). The last strips need to be cut wider to allow the piping to be placed along the circumference to neaten the edges of the bag (7). Trim any excess away around the circumference of the bag and keep layers along the piped edge thin and graded. Add piping to edge of circle.

Design Tip: Use a shade darker colour for fabric for the centre of rose.

d) Zipper Insertion:

Align and center zipper between the two half-circles. Pin/baste zipper to straight edge of each circle. Sew zipper in place using zipper foot attachment or back-stitch by hand. Press flat and topstitch.

e) Bag Assembly:

Fold the strap in half and baste the open ends to the back section above the zipper opening.

With FACE SIDES together, pin/baste the edges of the back section of the bag and its front section together along the piped trim.  The strap handle should be located at the top of the handbag, and be certain to open the zipper so that you’ll be able to turn the bag right-side-out. Stitch around the outer edge of the piping to shape the body of the bag, ensuring to catch the strap ends in the stitching.

Gently turn bag right-side-out.

f) Finishing:

With FACE SIDES together, pin/baste the back sections of the lining fabric and sew each end together, leaving the center of the seam open.

Layer the front and back of the lining with FACE SIDES together; align and match the circumferences and pin/baste together. Sew around the circular shape.

Drop lining into bag and slipstitch lining to back of the zipper tape to neaten interior of the handbag.


Filed under Design Ideas