Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Because I am too much woman for just a “purse”…


When Christie from A Lemon Squeezy Home announced her Purse Week, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  I had seen these chic diaper clutches on Babysteals, and I loved the angled look.  I’d been wanting to make my own, bigger version for some time, and the Purse Week challenge was just what I needed to motivate me to get moving on it.

Pretty and feminine enough for when I get to go shopping by myself….or wandering dirt back roads in heels.  Whatever.

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But also ready for an outing with my little men. 

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We’re out of the full-on diaper bag stage, no longer needing room for lots of diapers, changes of clothing, and bottles.  But we still need to pack the random toddler paraphernalia.  This bag is big enough for our cloth diapers and  wipes, but also not too bulky that I feel like it would need it’s own seat on an airplane. 

I put in both a cell phone pocket and a zippered interior pocket, so that I could stash, and later find, my necessities among the kid stuff.  I even added a key fob.   This is one seriously functional bag. 

And with the some of my favorite Alexander Henry prints from the Farmdale line, it’s also seriously cute.
So flying solo
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or out with my boys

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I have a new go-to bag.  And I pretty much love it. 
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And you can, too.  I have the pattern and tutorial all ready for you here.  Enjoy. 


(update 11/2013:  after having too many problems with Google Docs and then Drop Box, I’ve moved the pattern to  You will have to sign up for an account, but it’s free and then you can access the pattern any time you want-again, for free.  The link is my affiliate link and will take you directly to the pattern.)

Purse PDF Pattern Pieces

-1/2 yard main fabric
-1/2 yard lining
-1/2 yard interfacing or other stabilizer (I used fleece because I had it on hand and my other materials were thinner cotton so I needed something thick)
-2 Magnetic closure/snaps

Cell phone pocket:
-snap or Velcro, a closure of some sort
Zippered pocket:
-9 inch zipper
-material for pocket lining—two 10*10 pieces
-10 * 1.5 inch strip of medium weight interfacing
Key Fob:
-bag hook grabby thing—you know the kind that hold key rings

Covered Buttons:
-Covered button kit
-3*3 inch scrap of interfacing
False Bottom:
-fabric cut to fit the bottom pattern piece, *2
-interfacing or stabilizer cut to fit the bottom pattern piece
-plastic canvas cut to fit the bottom pattern piece, minus 1/2 inch on all sides
-1/4 yard coordinating fabric
-Corded elastic or other cording stuff

  **This is how I cut out my material to get the bag out of two .5 yard pieces:**
folded over for the front and back
Open up and cut the other pieces, including the optional cell pocket and key fob pieces
Make sure to leave that long skinny strip at the top, as this will be used for the strap.

First, attach the interfacing/stabilizer to all needed pieces:
-Main front and back
-Main sides
-Main bottom
-Lining Flap

  Before assembling the bag itself, you need to put in the optional items, if you want them



Take your pocket rectangle

And press all edges to the back 1/4 inch.  I used a straight edge ruler to keep things as sharp as possible

Sew across the top edge, securing the pressed fold at that area
**at this point you should attach the closure for this piece.  I forgot and had to do it after it was sewn to the lining.**
Place where wanted on one of the lining front or back pieces

Sew along the sides and bottom edges, leaving the top edge (already sewn) open to form the pocket
Get your flap pieces

Right sides together
Sew along the sides and shorter edge
Clip corners
Top stitch
Attach closure
Place long edge along the opening of pocket, as if the flap were open
Being careful not to catch the pocket, secure the flap in place.  I used a thick zig-zag to prevent fraying

Press the flap down in place over the pocket

Top stitch along the top edge to keep the flap in place
clip_image024 clip_image025
For the key fob, you’ll need a scrap of fabric approximately 2 inches by 4.5 inches long
Fold in half, right sides in
Sew along one short edge and the open long edge
Clip corners
Press and topstitch
Put the sewn end of the strip through the opening of the key hook
Fold over about one inch
Secure in place with a cross-box shape
Pin to the desired location on the lining’s right side

Attach interfacing to the wrong side of the lining, about 1.5 inches from the top edge

Find the center length and mark out a box about 1.4 inch around
Snip an opening along the center mark to about 1/4 from either end.  At the ends, you want an “arrow” like cut that points toward the center line
Press the opening edges towards the back of the lining
Pin your zipper in place, then lay one of your pocket pieces, right side down, along the top of the zipper on the wrong side of the bag lining
Sew along that top strip of zipper, securing the one pocket lining
Fold the pocket lining up, so the zipper is exposed.  Place teh other lining piece on top of that, right sides together, matching the edge of the lining to the zipper strip
Sew along that edge and you’ll have this

Fold the bag lining out of the way and put the pocket lining pieces right sides together
Sew all along the pocket 
At either corner, catch as you stitch the ends of the zippers so that the pocket is completely secured

Follow the directions on the covered button kit to make your buttons
On wrong side of main flap, place and attach interfacing where you want the buttons to be on right side
Hand sew buttons in place through the main fabric and interfacing
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**I didn’t think to do this as a false bottom until I was done.  So my pictures or incomplete, but the instructions should still work**
Attach your interfacing/stabilizer to one bottom piece of fabric
Right sides together, place the other bottom piece on the interfaced bottom piece
Sew along three sides
Push plastic canvas inside
Turn open end inside 1/4 inch and top stitch in place

Okay now onto the bag assembly.


take a side piece and lay it, right sides together, on a front of back piece

Sew in place, then repeat for other side
Take the bottom strip and lay it with the short side matched to the bottom of the side
Sew down the short side.
Leave the needle down, lift the foot.  Clip just a tiny bit of the corner of the top piece
Turn the top piece to match the edge of the lower piece
Foot back down, continue to sew along the other edge
Now attach the other front/back piece the same way


At this point, your lining flap should have the interfacing/stabilizer attached.
Figure out where you want your snap closures and snip two VERY small cuts into the fabric, through the interfacingclip_image074
Push one side of the snap through the cuts.  Place the backing over the arms of the snap
Push arms flat, securing the back piece
It will look like this
Repeat for second snap
And then on the front, stabilized piece of the main bag

      Take your 1/4 yard of material
Cut into 1.5 inch strips
Get your cording/elastic and zipper foot
Fold the strip, wrong sides together, over the cording
Use your zipper foot to run along the cording as close as you can
And you’ll have custom piping
Now take all the pieces you want piped (flap, front, back, sides)
Match the raw edges of the piping to the raw edges of the pattern piece.
Baste the piping in place
I did around all edges of the front and back, the short edges of the sides, and the sides and short edge of the flap

Place main flap piece on lining flap piece, right sides together>

If you used piping, you’ll need to continue to use the zipper foot to get as close to the piping as you can. Use your finger to feel the piping through the fabric, to make sure you get nice and close, but not go over the top of it.
Sew along the sides and lower/short edge of the flap
Cut corners and trim all edges
Turn, press
You’re going to do this the same as the lining assembly.  Sides sewn on one front/back piece first, then bottom strip, then the other front/back piece.
Clip all corners and trim all edges
Place the flap with unsewn, long end about 1.5 inches down on the back side of the assembled main bag
Sew along the raw edge, making sure to only secure it to the back side of the bag

Fold the flap up
And top stitch in place.  I did a few lines of stitches to really secure, and I liked the look
Placing the lining
With the main bag right side out, place inside the inside lining.
Sew all along the upper edge, leaving a 4-5 inch opening for turning
Fold opening inside, press, and top stitch along the top of the bag

Cut two long strips of fabric from your scraps

35*1.75 inches 
Right sides togher
Sew the length on both sides, leaving both short ends open
Press and top stitch
Fold the raw edge under and cross-box stitch in place on the inside sides of the bag
Whew!  Done!

And get this:  I even finished the bag early, days before the final entry date for the contest.  And then I got sick again.  And then I never got around to getting pictures.  And then the deadline came and went and I totally thought it was the next day and, and, and…so I didn’t get it entered in the contest, but I love it so no regrets.  Plus, since I was no longer entering it in her contest, I was able to ask Christie to help me out by taking the pictures of it.  So really, I’m kind of happy things worked out the way they did.  I love my husband, and he’s a talented man, but he doesn’t really “get” the whole pictures-of-stuff-I-make thing.  Especially when I say I want to drive to some random fields across the highway.  Christie, however, that girl gets it.  So thanks again, Christie.  What would I do without you?! IMG_9116 fixAnd with that fun little story, go vote for your favorite purse right now!  There are some amazing ones to choose from, so good luck picking just one.


Linking to a few of these awesome parties.  Thank you to all who host these!


~Michelle~ said...

ooh, that purse looks great, especially the piping! And I think it would work for us non-mom types that like to carry a lot of crap around with us!

craftedbymama said...

Oh I love this! I was just thinking I needed a new bag. I can't wait to try it. Thanks for the pattern.

Char @ Crap I've Made said...

I want to make out with your purse.

And you've heard about the time I needed BC to take a headshot, right?200 pics and not a one of them was even borderline usable.

Char @ Crap I've Made said...

P.S. Yours is cuter than the original. Like way WAY cuter.

Reno said...

The bag is awesome- and dang, girl, you take a good picture! (Is it ok for your MIL to say that?)

Nicole said...

The yellow piping is just PERFECT! What a great bag! Thanks so much for the PDF. I'm definitely going to give it a go. Man, and I'd like to cross your's with the Amy Butler Nappy Bag and it'd be the ultimate diaper bag!

Karin van D. said...

Those colours are beautiful. What a great bag!

Beth Lemon said...

I love this! I love this! I love this!

Melissa Stramel said...

Yes I voted. Yours is really pretty! So lucky to live by Christie.

Chandler said...

That is the cutest bag EVER. I have been looking for a purse like that for the longest time!!
But sadly every bag I've found is like $50. Love it!

Christie @ A Lemon Squeezy Home said...

You did so great--I love love love this bag. And I'm happy the pictures turned out--you and J are an easy subject:). You are awesome! What would I do without you? Go crazy because I couldn't talk to anyone about blog and sewing stuff:).

Kari @ Ucreate said...

Sabra, I love this!! I also love those rockin' shoes!!

Tiffany said...

I love to sew and came across this great site that provides me with my exact proportions/dimensions so i can tailor my clothes to fit my unique body. Visit

Melissa said...

I love your title - way too cute and the bag is pretty adorable too. :)

neeley said...

your bag is simply the best. but please tell me about your little guys pants...i MUST have some for my little ones. they seem upcycled, but the eyes and teeth tell me another tale.

Sabra said...

neeley, they're handknit pants, but not knit by me... I scored a custom lottery slot with Amy of Crankypants ( ) a couple of years ago and got those for my middle son. We have a couple other pair of Crankies, but these are my absolute favorite. Plus the yellow in them matches my shoes :)

tonya said...

I absolutely love the shoes! Where did you find them? I also love the fabric you used on the bag and all the special touches you added. Great job!

KimnSam said...

Adorable bag, great pics, and I too am requesting the origins of the shoes ;) great job!- and where did you girls take the pictures?

GeorgiaBE said...

Love the bag!
Great pictures too!

Sabra said...

Awww, thanks for all the kind words, guys.

Okay, the shoes. I love these shoes and they're super inexpensive!

Mama Lusco said...

Love, love, love this! Thanks so much for the PDF tute. I like PDFs to save with my epatterns. This will be the perfect Mommy Bag!

Freeda said...

Very Nice bag :)
Thanks for the tutorial!!!

Kendall said...

Thank you SO much for sharing!!


Delia said...

I love it! Sorry you missed the deadline. The colors are great!

Lacey said...

Love the purse! AND the shoes! Thanks for the pattern and tute! I think I'll have to make one of these!!

she wears flowers said...

The purse is great and your photos are amazing! Thanks!

Katie said...

So I have to say, I think if YOUR bag would have been in the top ten ( which I am pretty sure it would have ) I would have picked yours as my favorite. It is ADORABLE! I can't wait to try and make it. :)

Nastasia Pilar said...

So cute and useful, great job! love those shoes too!

Kimminita said...

Perfect tutorial of a perfect bag. I already made myself one and an on my way blogging about it and putting the pics on Flickr ;-) Thank you so much for my new purse!

casserole said...

This is so awesome!!! I love the fabric, the piping, the shape - everything! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


Jennifer said...

I LOL'd reading your description, and now I'm downloading the tute! I was just lamenting my current lack of a cute, but functionally large bag to accommodate my stuff and a few cloth diapers for my toddler. THANK YOU! You just gave me my early Christmas present. ;0)

Lei said...


Mj said...

Thank you for this great tutorial :)

Sew Much Ado said...

That is so cute Sabra! I love it.

Morgan@Meet Virginia said...

WOW your bag turned out so so stinking cute!! Love all your pics! You are so so talented!!


Come check out my Fashion Link Party Weekend Wear every Wednesday!!!

The Gish Family said...

Love this bag and everything about it! The shoes are to cute! I will be checking in for more great ideas..thanks for the tutorial:).

Martha anne said...

I'm absolutly in love with this bag! You should sell these. So cute!

VickiT said...

Great purse. Thank you very much for the pattern/tutorial.

Linda said...

Hi, I just found your great tutorial - thanks for sharing! I've just added your tutorial to my Free Purse, Tote and Handbag Directory at

Michael Creations said...

Gorgeous purse! Thanks for sharing the tutorial! I'm your newest follower and look forward to seeing more awesome things from you!


Kimbo West @ a girl and a glue gun said...

i featured this at my blog today..

Ms Muffin said...

I am totally loving this bag!!!! Just saved the link ... will have to make it someday ... hopefully soon. :-)
Off to check out the rest of your blog.
BTW, LOVE the photos!!! And loved the story about your hubby not getting that photo thing. You know, my husband actually takes quite nice photos and has some not too bad photo equipment. But whenever I ask him to take some photos for my blog - I end up being totally disappointed! So I learned to just do it myself ... so I can totally relate!
(However, my photos are never that pretty. Unfortunately.)

Jennifer said...

Thank you for the inspiration.

Amanda said...

Thank you so much for making your tutorial a downloadable pdf! That was an awesome idea and while I like looking at the patterns on-line the copy and pasting can get a little old. I loved the ease of downloading yours. Oh and the purse is great too. I am going to make it for a friends baby shower she is having a baby in April. Thank you again.

K. said...

I used your pattern and tutorial to make my own purse! Your step by step was great for the newbie.

Feel free to check it out

Sew Flippin Cool said...

I love this! I've included it in the post Must Make Mondays - Bags on my blog, The Handmade Experiment.


Hermelijn said...

Thank you for this great tutorial! I've added it to my todo list. One of these days I'll sew my own.
Love the matching shoes too.

Angélica said...


I just loved the bag, but I couldn't get the pattern!

Is there something missing?

Kisses from Brazil,
Ange said...

Love, love, LOVE the bag, but sadly, I too am unable to download the pattern. Help?
Leigh Ann

Sabra said...

Can you guys be more specific on what the issue you are having is? Is Google Docs not loading? Is the pattern itself not coming up? Is the pattern not downloading, not printing, etc? Here is the direct link to the PDFs...

Let me know if that solves the problem or not. Google Docs has been so much trouble for me lately, if anyone has a better free doc share site, I'm open to suggestions!

Berkeley Elisabeth said...

I too have a great desire to sew this beautiful but alas, the pattern won't upload to google docs. Can you email it to me at: thanks!

Sabra said...

Okay, I've moved the PDFs to Dropbox and updated the links. If I was a smart girl, I'd know how to have them all as one, concise link. But I'm not sure how to combine already created PDFs. So instead you have six to download. But at least they are embeded directly and should be easier to access than with Google Docs. Please let me know if there are any further problems. Thanks!

Yolan said...

Thanks for the pdf's. I love pdf's because I can store them
Thanks again. Love that purse

Shauna said...


When I click on instructions, only the first page with materials comes up, no other pages are available with instructions. Could you email them to me?


~Damita's Pretty Wrap~ said...

Hi there love your bag!!!!! It looks amazing! I would love to make one! :) Have a great weekend!

Tear.Pa said...

I love the look of your purse but your patterns have no dimensions?
Can you print some dimensions for each pattern, and I can go from there. Thank you.

Sabra said...


If you want to email me what it is exactly you're looking for, I'll try to help. I actually no longer have the bag. I passed it onto my sister, but I can get some measurements from her if needed.

Rachie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachie said...

Thanks so much for this beautiful design & PDF. I gave it a go and had a great time making it. I decided to quilt mine so I used bias tape to cover my inside seams. I also added more pockets to the interior! I love, love, love it! Here is a link to view mine:

Sabra said...

Rachie-I can't access the link. I'd love to see it! I'm so happy you liked the pattern and I love teh idea of quilting it! Thank you so much for the kind words. Have a wonderful day-

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