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How Do I Make a Purse?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Learning to make a purse can be a great way to create a customized handbag for a fraction of the cost of a store-bought one, and it can also be a fun project to do with friends, a child, or even on your own. To start, find a pattern that you like or design your own, and then pick out your fabric, thread, and any accessories that you will need. Cut the pieces according to the pattern, and make sure that everything lines up evenly. Attach any pockets to the lining, trimming off any excess fabric, and then sew the purse together. Finish by hemming any exposed edges, attaching the strap, and adding any decorative touches that appeal to you.

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There are literally thousands of patterns on the Internet and in books that can help you to make a purse at home. Find a pattern for the type of handbag that you want to sew, or design your own on the computer, or with a pencil and piece of paper. Then, pick out the type of fabric that you want to use, including one for the exterior and one for the lining. Choose a thread that matches and is strong enough to hold together the type of cloth that you are using; for example, standard thread will generally work for cotton, yet you will need something much more substantial when working with canvas. At this point, you should also choose material for the strap, any buttons or zippers, and any decorative details that you want to add.

Based on your pattern, cut out the pieces that you will need from your fabric, including the exterior, lining, and material for the pockets. Always use sharp fabric cutting sheers to make a purse; generally, standard scissors will not give you clean cuts and can cause excess fraying in the fabric. Lay the pieces together to make sure that everything lines up exactly before you start, making any adjustments as necessary.

Take your pocket pieces and attach them to the lining with your sewing machine or by hand. If you want any pockets on the exterior, attach them to the side of the fabric that you will use on the outside of the purse. Once you’re done, trim any excess material and attach the lining pieces to the inside of the exterior pieces. At this point, you will typically have two pieces, each consisting of an exterior and lining piece of fabric sewn together.

Carefully secure the two pieces together. When you make a purse, it is generally the easiest to sew when you have the lining on the outside, turning everything right-side-out once you’re finished; however, there are several types of decorative stitches that you can use to sew the purse together right-side-out in the first place. This is all dependent on your personal preference and the style of handbag that you are making.

Once you have the body of the purse together, you can add the strap or handles based on your pattern and the style that you desire. You can use anything from a piece of ribbon to a premade wood handle for this, and, for many people, the strap is the easiest way to add personality and visual interest when making a purse. This is also the stage where you can add any hardware, such as buttons, or detailing like charms or chains to the bag, taking it from basic to a fashionable accessory.

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