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Topic: *TUTORIAL* Patchwork Purses...Reversible! Adjustable!  (Read 94744 times)
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The Philosopher's Wife
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« on: August 31, 2005 02:58:40 PM »


So, this is how I make my funky patchwork bags that reverse to a patch-free interior (for those days where you’re feeling not-so-funky)… but if you don’t have a large enough piece of fabric for the interior and/or straps, feel free to patch that together too!  The directions are detailed, (I used to write computer manuals for a living) but that doesn’t mean this is hard to do – in fact it’s very easy or I wouldn’t be able to do it either.  It will take some time, though....Not counting the time spent cutting out the patchwork squares; it only takes about an hour to construct this thing.  And of course, pillowcases, sheets, tablecloths or drapes make great interior/strap fabrics!

Bag Exterior:  4”x4” squares of miscellaneous scraps – 32 squares in all (mix it up, but I like to include a few pieces of my interior fabric for continuity…)
Bag Interior:  32”x14” piece of interior fabric
Strap:      (1) 45”x5” strip for the strap and (1) 10”x5” strip for the adjustable loop

-I highly recommend a sewing machine, but that’s not to say you can’t do this by hand.
-Thread in whichever color you have/ suits your fancy or if you care, matches your interior/strap fabric.
-Scissors (or Rotary Cutter & Mat)
-Pins I hate pinning. You'll only need a few.  Promise.


1.   Try to be precise when cutting your 4”x4” squares, so that they all line up neatly in the final product.  I used a rotary cutter for precision, but it’s not necessary. HINT!  Many fabrics will tear in a straight line (i.e., cottons) so take advantage and tear some long 4” strips, then cut the torn strips into 4” squares.  2.   Lay out your design, mixing & matching to your hearts content.  Your layout should have four (4) squares across in each row and eight 8 squares down.

3.   Sew your first row:  Patch two squares (right sides together) along one side with ¼” seam.  Following your layout, add another square, then another to total 4 squares across. 
4.   Repeat step 3 for each row of 4 squares.  Goal= 8 rows of 4 squares across. 

5.   With right sides together, match up rows 1 & 2 and stitch them together, with ¼” seam.  Now you should have 4 squares across and 2 squares down.  Iron the seams flat? Yeah, sure if you feel like it.  I haven’t found it to be too necessary.  Pins? Who needs pins… just match up your squares as you are sewing along, and you should be just fine.  If not, who cares?  It’s just goofy patchwork!

6.   Keep going!  You’ll very soon have 4 squares across and 8 rows down.  Now…Relax!  The hardest part is OVER!
7.   Fold patchwork in half (right sides together) on the seam of rows 4 and 5.  This seam is the bottom.
8.   Stitch the sides together, but make sure that the finished exterior is no wider than 13”… remember, you have a 14” wide piece of interior fabric and you’re gonna need to allow for seams….
9.   Trim any excess from the side seams to neaten things up.   Trim the top of the bag straight, but leave it open and un-hemmed. 
10.   Turn the patchwork right side out.

11.   Fold 32”x14” interior fabric in half so that you have a 14”x16”rectangle.  The fold line will be the bottom of the interior.  The interior fabric should be about 2 inches longer at the top than your finished patchwork for your nice “cuffed” top edge.  See steps 15&16...
12.   With right sides together, stitch the interior fabric sides to equal the width of you finished patchwork plus ½”  (i.e., if your patchwork width is 12 inches, your interior width should measure 12 ½”).   The interior needs to be wider so that the patchwork doesn’t pucker on steps 15&16…

13.   Trim any excess fabric ¼” from the seam.  Leave the interior inside-out.

14.   With the patchwork right-side out and the Interior inside-out, insert the interior into the patchwork bag (wrong sides together).  Put your hand into the bag (note how the "right side" of the interior is actually the inside of the bag where your hand is.  This is because you remembered to insert the interior into the patchwork bag inside-out.  That's good.  When you reverse it, all the seams will be in between both fabrics).  With your hand still inside, poke your fingers into the bottom corners to get everything all situated, then pin the corners together through all layers – one pin on each corner and one in the middle. This will keep the fabric from shifting too while you finish the top.  Dang!  Had to use some pins after all…
15.   Fold the “too long” interior fabric down about ¼” to the outside of the bag.  Fold it down again – this time, far enough that your first folded edge covers the patchwork by about ½”.  This makes a nice neat “cuff” on the top of the patchwork side, and a smooth interior. You’ll want to use a few pins here, too... 

16.   Stitch ¼” from the top and bottom edges of the cuff to finish off the top.   Un-Pin everything.

17.   Fold the long edges of the 45”x5” strip to the middle.  Fold the strip in half lengthwise, with the raw edges concealed inside.  Sew ¼” edge all the way around the strap, folding in the short ends as you go along, so that no raw edges show.  Do the same with the 10”x5” strip.

18.   Fold the 10” strap in half and sew it onto a top corner of the bag to form a loop.  I like to sew it on with a nice sturdy “X” inside a square. 
19.   Sew the 45” strap to the opposite top corner of the bag.  Thread the strap through the loop, adjust the length and tie a single knot.  DONE!



"The unexamined life is not worth living." -Socrates
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2005 04:36:19 PM »

This is an awesome tutorial. I love the amount of detail  in the tutorial as well as the purse.  I can't wait to sit down with some scraps and start making this one!  Smiley

« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2005 05:19:38 PM »

Those are great. Nice combinations of patterns on your patchwork and the tutorial is so encouraging I think I could whip something like this up if I need a last minute (er... couple of hours) gift.

I opened an Etsy shop! Come visit http://minouette.etsy.com

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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2005 02:55:51 AM »

Thanks so much for posting this!!  Now I know what my next project for me will be!
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2005 04:11:38 AM »

I'm going to try it!

« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2005 04:27:31 AM »

the bag looks great, GoodWithHerHands (obvisously!) . u have also written a nice tutorial. i'm not much of a sewing crafts person, so one day i hope i'll try this out.
Crafty & Artistic Momma
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2005 02:25:31 PM »

I'm going to have to try this one...missed it the first time around but someone mentioned it in their post.  Very beautiful and nice tutorial.

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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2005 06:04:16 PM »

very nice quilt look to the bags....nice tut!! Smiley

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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2006 09:10:38 PM »

i'm going to try it! it looks mooost definitely delish. i mostly crochet odd hat creations and the occas purse, but this looks fun. oh, i do trades, so drop me a line at [email protected] if you're interesting in a funky hat trade before the cold runs away.

"Does that come in lime green?"
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2006 03:12:44 PM »

That's a great tutorial!

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