I originally made this at a Charity Sewing Day as a ‘personal effects purse’ for patients at the local hospice. The purse would also work great as a coin purse or to keep you credit cards and receipts in. Alternatively, you could use it to discreetly store some sanitary pads when you are out and about.

A special ‘Thank You’ goes to Sarah at Made and Making in Hassocks (Sussex), who introduced me to this make. I have modified it slightly to ensure the template can be created on an A4 piece of paper and I have also changed the process of making it to avoid hand sewing. 

Materials

  • Fabric 4.5″ x 12″ for outside
  • Fabric 4.5″ x 12″ for lining
  • One A4 sheet of paper
  • Medium or light weight interfacing, 4.5″ x 12″
  • Press studs (poppers) or fabric snaps

Useful tools

  • Sewing machine (with a heavy duty sewing needle, if you have)
  • Usual sewing kit (rotary cutter, ruler, mat, scissors, iron, etc)

Making the template

Take an A4 sheet of paper. Along the long edge, cut off at 4.5″, creating a rectangle which is just shy of 12″ tall and 4.5″ wide. 

We’re using the left rectangle to make the template; why not use the other for your next shopping list?

At the top edge, mark the middle (2.25″), then draw a horizontal line 1″ down from the top.

Next, either freehand draw a curved line from the middle to the side, or use a curved object as a template. I rummaged through my cupboards and found a suitable bowl to create the curve. 

Connecting the middle mark with the 1″ horizontal line. 

Draw the half-curve. Fold your rectangle in half lengthwise (hot dog style) and cut along the curve, ensuring both sides are identical (this curve will be your flap). Open up and flatten your template.

Making the purse

Take your template and cut one piece from each of your two fabrics, plus one from the interfacing. Aim for the same size on all three, but make sure the interfacing is definitely NOT larger than the outside fabric (if it is, you’ll get stickiness on your ironing board or iron when ironing it!).

Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the outside fabric. Make sure you carefully check you have the right side up before you iron it! Follow the instructions for your particular interfacing – level of heat, steam / no steam.  

Take your outside fabric (with the interfacing fused to the wrong side) and lay it right sides together with your lining fabric. Pin in place, especially around the curve. 

Starting along the short straight edge (at the dot in the image above), sew around the whole shape, stopping just before the ‘OPEN’ line. I was using a seam allowance of just slightly less than the width of my pressure foot, so around 1/4″. Make sure you leave an opening large enough to turn the purse through and do secure the seam at the start and end. 

Clip the corners and the curve to reduce bulk. I prefer using my pinking shears for curves, but you could cut out some small triangles with a normal pair of scissors; just make sure you don’t cut too close to the seam!

Turn the purse right side out. Fold in the seam allowance at the opening and ensure it lays flat. Fiddle with the corners and the curved edge to ensure all is looking sharp and even. Iron, making sure it looks good from the right side (no lining sticking out!). 

With the outside fabric up, top stitch along the short edge, sewing near the short edge (thus closing the opening your turned the purse through). Iron again if needed.

With the lining fabric facing up, fold up 4.5″ from the straight edge (hamburger style). Pin in place.

Fold the straight edge to the left

The result. Pin / Clip in place.

Starting at one folded end, sew all the way around the purse to the other side; securing the seam at start and end, and going back and forward at the straight edge to give some extra strength. 

N.B. This will be through quite a few layers so a heavy duty sewing needle will be very useful, but most machines will cope with a good quality needle and a bit of an extra push / pull. I used a ‘purple needle’ from Janome. 

Start sewing to the left and then sew all way around to the right

Attach you press studs / poppers / fabric snaps. I put mine in the middle, 1″ down from the curved edge. 

I have used two different patterns for these; the original (which required some hand sewing) and my modified

My other stash busting ideas

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