(Images are all clickable.)
A pattern for something similar to this is offered commercially, but it's only available in a couple of specific sizes. I have not
seen the pattern or any inserts made from the pattern, so this is not copied from that. I just wrote a tutorial for the general concept.
That is how I got the idea, though.Purse Insert Tutorial
The measurements in this tutorial are intentionally left non-specific, because the advantage of making this sort of insert yourself is that you can make it to fit your
purse or bag and design pockets to fit your
stuff. So take a few minutes to measure your bag, figure out what you carry, and sort out the measurements. I'm not hugely mathematically inclined, so I promise this is not too difficult!
You will need to cut the following pieces:
- (diameter of bag insert + 1") x (height of insert + half width of insert + 1") - Cut 2. One will be the inside and one will be the outside.
- (height of pockets + 1/2") x (length of pockets) - Cut 1. You'll probably want the pockets to be shorter than the insert itself but, if not, be sure to at least make this piece shorter by the length of the seam allowance! When calculating the diameter, be sure to account for any gussets or gathers. If you like, you can make it an inch or two bigger around, just to be safe, and can cut off the excess later.
- 2-1/2" x 9" - Cut 1.
- 1/4" double-fold bias binding the length of the pocket diameter (or make your own - it doesn't have to be cut on the bias)
- OPTIONAL - If both your lining material and your outer material are very thin, you may want a piece of interfacing, as well.All seam allowances are 1/2" unless otherwise noted.
OPTIONAL STEP - If interfacing, iron or baste (depending on whether you're using the adhesive type) the interfacing to the wrong side of the outer fabric. (If you really
have thin fabrics and want it to be very
sturdy, you can certainly interface both the outer and the lining material.)
STEP 1 - Sew the bias tape along the upper edge of the pocket piece, enclosing the raw edge.
Note: If you prefer, you can, of course, just cut this piece a bit taller, and hem this edge. The contrast of the binding has the advantage, though, of making it a little easier to find the pocket openings when the insert is in use.
STEP 2 - Turn under the bottom edge of the pocket piece 1/4". Repeat to enclose the raw edge, and sew this down or baste it if you think it will make the next step easier. (You did
read all the instructions before you started, right?
) (You're just creating a 1/4" hem here, but if you think you can manage any gathered or gusseted bulk, you can wait to stitch it 'til the next step* I learned the hard way - definitely stitch it!
STEP 3 - Pin the pocket to the lining. The raw edges should line up with the raw edges of the lining piece. (This is where, if you left yourself some extra, it's okay for it to hang over the edges; you can trim it.) Gather and/or gusset anything you wanted gathered or gusseted and get everything arranged like you want it.
Be sure to pin it far enough up the lining. Keep in mind that the bottom of the lining piece includes a 1/2" seam allowance and half the finished width of the insert!
When you're sure everything is arranged properly, and that you have it pinned "smoothly" along the bottom edge, sew that bottom edge to the lining piece. If you want to reinforce the bottoms of the pockets, go ahead and sew over it again.
(Please excuse my messy sewing....Well...I thought for sure I had a photo of this, but I can't seem to find it.
STEP 4 - Baste the edges of the pocket piece to the edges of the lining piece in the seam allowance (and trim excess if you left any).
STEP 5 - Stitch vertically along the pocket piece to create divisions between the pockets.
STEP 6 - Take the small piece (2-1/2" x 9") and fold it lengthwise, right sides together. Sew that long edge. Trim the seam allowance; turn it right side out and press it flat, with the seam right in the center of one (flat) side. Now cut that piece in half, so that you have two pieces each 4-1/2" long.
STEP 7 - Sew the outer bag: Fold it in half, right sides together, and sew down the side and across the bottom. Press the seams open. Now, sort of "push up" on the bottom seam to make a three-dimensional bag. At the bottom corners, the pointy corners should poke down. Sew across these at whatever place the width is the proper width of the bag. (You can trim the points off now if you like.) (Some of the images for this step are actually of the next step, which is the same, just with the linking fabric.) (That is not sewn shut at the top - you can see the stitching where I attached the interfacing.)
STEP 8 - Repeat step 7 for the lining, but leave an opening in the bottom seam for turning later.
STEP 9 - Pin the upper edges of the lining and outer together, right sides together. Fold the small pieces in half to form two tabs (with the seams on the insides of the fold), and sandwich these between the lining and the outer. There is a little extra length on these, so they're designed to be 1-1/2" tabs when you're done, but there's a little extra to stick out when you pin them for ease of sewing.
When everything is pinned together, sew this seam. Trim any excess seam allowances.
STEP 10 - Through the hole you left in the bottom of the lining, turn everything right side out. After a bit of finagling, you should be able to get everything turned and the lining tucked inside the outer.
STEP 11 - Finishing! Hand stitch the hole in the lining closed. If you like, you can now topstitch the edge and/or hand-tack the corners of the lining to the corners of the outer to keep them firmly in place.
*I actually find it easier, with a hem this narrow, to turn up the full 1/2" and press it, then tuck the raw edge under and press again.