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Topic: more placemat purses + TUTORIAL (img heavy)  (Read 129249 times)
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« on: May 13, 2006 12:19:17 AM »

I have been making and posting a lot of these placemat purses lately, and someone asked for a tutorial so here it is. I'm doing it as a new topic because the old topics already have a lot of images in them. This is my first attempt at making a tutorial so I hope it's clear!

 more of my purses made with this method

This first tute is the basic bare-bones placemat purse with no extra pockets or zippers or lining.
The method is similar to the Jordy bag, basic box-like construction. This works with an unlined placemat like pictured here, or with a lined placemat. The back of the lined placemat shows on the inside of the bag, so it's like a pre-lined purse. You also usually do not need any additional interfacing or stabilizing because most placemats have a stiffening layer in them already.
1  rectangular placemat
2 straps, I use about 26 inch straps so it can go over my shoulder but the length is up to you.
I am using nylon belt webbing but you can also make straps from fabric.

step 1- find a placemat

step 2- this placemat has fringe on the ends which I want to fold over, this is not necessary with most placemats. Fold over and sew down the fringey edges

step 3-sew the side seams. Fold placemat in half, right sides together. (this one happens to be the same on both sides). Stitch down both sides 3/8 inch from the edge. There are no raw edges to finish because the placemat is already finished on all 4 edges.

The bag at this point is flat like a pillowcase and will not hold much. So we want to make a bottom for a boxy shape.

step 4. with the wrong side still on the outside, fold the side into a point

step 5. sew across the point (the black line). The further from the point of the triangle you sew, the wider the bottom of the bag will be. I like to make the bottom about 2 inches wide but you can do it any width just by sewing closer or further from the point. Just make sure both sides are the same width. I do not cut off this point after sewing it, just to reduce fraying. This bag is not lined so I'd rather keep all the finished placemat edges intact.

step 6. Now you can turn the bag right sides out and press the seams. You end up with a boxy shaped bag like this

this is the outside (right side) and the black T-shaped lines will be your seams.

step 7. the straps. Cut 2 pieces of nylon webbing (or sew 2 straps from sturdy fabric). If you are using nylon webbing, melt the ends so it doesn't unravel

step 8. pin the  straps to the inside edge of the bag, making sure they match up on both sides. Then sew them in place.

(I am not really using black straps on this bag but these are just pinned in place for the photo)

and you are done! It's just 2 side seams, 2 short seams across the corners, and sew on the handles.
finished bag:

So that is the basic placemat purse you can make in 10 minutes. But there's lots of extra things you can add like pockets, zippers, lining, and zippered pockets in the lining! Here is another one with more bells and whistles.
For this one I am adding a zippered pocket in the lining, and a zipper to close the top. I used a green corduroy placemat that was already lined on the back, but because I want a pocket inside, I have to add a separate lining. I made the lining from a napkin.

1. put the placemat on top of the napkin and cut off the excess napkin, so that the lining is the same size rectangle as the placemat.

The short ends of the rectangle are already finished so I don't need hem allowance. If you are using fabric instead of a napkin, add a hem allowance to both short ends.

2. The leftover piece of napkin will become the pocket. Cut it in half, so you will have 3 pieces of napkin.

3. Insert the zipper pocket into the lining. I used a 7 inch zipper but 9 inch works fine too. Rather than describe this and taking more pics, use SewPixie's excellent tutorial here-
This is the zipper method I prefer, but if you like some of the other zipper tutes better you can use them instead.
I usually like to put the zipper about 2 inches below the top edge of the purse

4. You can also add pencil pockets, cell phone pockets, etc. Do all of the pockets before you sew the lining into the boxy shape described in the basic tutorial above. (steps 3-5 from the pink and white bag)

5. Sew the side seams of the placemat. *variation*
For this bag, because the placemat fabric was thick, I sewed my side seams differently. Instead of folding right sides together, I folded wrong sides together and overlapped the 2 edges I wanted to sew. The seam is less bulky this way.

You will need a free-arm machine to get into the corner, and don't worry if you can't sew it all the away to the point. Remember that point gets sewn across, so you only have to get within about an inch and a half from the point.
This overlapping method is also nice when a placemat has a border trim that you want to show, like this one

If I sewed the side seams right sides together, the trim would be hidden in the seam.

6. Turn the bag inside out and Sew across the corners as in the basic tutorial above. (step 5 from the pink and white bag)

7. I like to add a piece of plastic needlepoint canvas to the wrong side of the lining to make the bottom rigid. This is optional. You can sew right through the plastic canvas.

8. Now add the straps to the main bag (the placemat) the same way described in the basic tutorial above. (steps 7 an 8 in the pink and white purse)

9. Now you have 2 boxy bags, one of the lining and one of the placemat.  Attaching the lining to the purse: turn the purse right side out, and the lining right side in. Slip the lining bag inside the  placemat bag and pin them together along the top edge. The straps will be sandwiched between the 2 fabrics.

10. Sew around the top edge of the bag, through the placemat and the lining.  The placemat usually has topstitching on the edges so try to stay in that line of stitching. So you could stop now- the bag is usable now but is open on top. I am paranoid about pickpockets, so I like to have a zipper on the top.

11. Adding an optional zipper to the top.
pin one side of the closed zipper to the top edge of the bag, the right side of the zipper facing away from you, wrong side of zipper facing the inside of bag. The zipper should be placed fairly close to the top edge so that the teeth extend past the edge of the bag. inside view:

then sew this half of the zipper to the bag, again trying to get close to your topstitching line.
This is the right side of the bag with half the zipper sewn in.

(you can see this zipper is longer than bag, it's just one I happened to have on hand- but that is ok- the excess will stick down inside the bag and doesn't get in the way.)

12. open the zipper  and sew the other half to the other top edge of the bag the same way you did the first one. Teeth extending just over the top edge of bag. Make sure you position the zipper so that when it's closed, the straps on both sides still match up. Leave a little gap at the end so you can stick the extra zipper length inside the bag, if there is extra length.
finished bag, open

finished bag closed

and heehee you can see my straps do not line up perfectly. They did match up before I added the zipper, so zipper placement is important on the top.
another view of finished bag

So that's about it, there's lots of embellishments you can add (I think I will add some beads to this green cord one) but usually the placemats have decorations on them already which is why it's so fast and easy to make purses out of them. The basic version like the pink and white one can be as quick as 10 minutes, the second version takes about 45 minutes to an hour. On some of mine I've also added a zipper pocket to the outside,  using the same SewPixie method as for the inside zipper pocket. You could add a magnetic snap to the top instead of a zipper.

I hope this was understandable! Let me know if you have a question.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2010 06:39:23 PM by MareMare - Reason: to fix coding issue » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2006 05:26:38 AM »

Thanks for the incredibly informative tutorial! It must have taken you ages!
I'll have to go and try one now.........

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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2006 12:42:37 PM »

Making the tutorial definitely takes longer than making the bags, LOL. But The bags are really fast and easy. I'd love to see yours when you're done!

« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2006 04:46:04 PM »

I love the green one
must go shopping for placemats now  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2006 08:21:29 PM »

great tutorial! It was very clear.

« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2006 11:43:00 AM »

wow! I decided to get rid of my demons and sew something and this was so incredibly easy... Lemme find the digi cam...

the hand sewing is so crap but it tested my patience.. the material was uber thick..
« Last Edit: June 02, 2006 06:27:50 AM by queenorivers » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2006 12:14:51 PM »

that's so great!  i've done something similar but much simpler - simply folding up placemats, sewing up the edges, and either using it as a clutch or sewing on straps/handles of some sort (i like the way wooden ones look with them).  i'm liking your route better, though Wink  the first one is especially terrif!
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2006 06:48:28 PM »

queenorivers you made the whole bag with hand sewing? I don't think I did any hand sewing on mine, wow that definitely raises the time estimate higher than 10 minutes. Shocked Did you post your bag yet? *runs off to look for it*

« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2006 08:53:56 AM »

That link says I can't view it unless I am logged in at that board...

« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2006 09:55:17 AM »

That link says I can't view it unless I am logged in at that board...
ooh crap.. ummmm lemme try something else
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2006 07:37:44 AM »

Nice, attractive use for old placements.  I've got plenty of those Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2006 01:14:36 PM »

What a great idea!!  I love your other purses!  Thanks for the tutorial!!

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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2006 04:00:52 PM »

What a GREAT tutorial...I am the most sewing challenged person I know, but I enjoy sewing all the same...even though most of my projects end up in the trash....go figure...well...once I read this tut, I knew I had to try it....great directions and simple supplies...here is my finished product....and I completed it with minimal swearing....I forgot to measure the lining before sewing up the bag so I had to wing that part (hence the swearing)...not too bad for someone who can't sew...LOL...

Here's the front of the bag


The outside of the bag had such a tropical feel too it I HAD to go with the pinapple lining....now I'm off to find a bamboo clasp to use to close the bag with....I'm paronoid about pick pockets too....

Thank you so much for such a great tut not2old4glitter....I can't wait to make more....

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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2006 08:35:44 PM »

Thank you so much for your tut. I had pretty much given up on sewing, but this project inspired me, I went to the Dollar Tree, picked up 6 different place mats (oh yes at only $1 each) and here is what I came up with.
I used large grommets to string the handles through.

This one I used an old belt for the straps
and these ones below, I sewed but ran out of stuff to make handles with. I am going to Hobby Lobby first thing to see what I can find
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2006 02:48:18 PM »

 Cheesy Oh Yay I am so glad to see people using this tute and seeing what you all are making!! I like that it's a  project that is adaptable to all sewing skill levels, you can make them as simple or as complicated as you want and even the simple ones look fab.

SpookShowBaby that bag is GORGEOUS and I love that placemat!! Where did you get it? A little bamboo clasp or wooden toggle button would look great on there. Love the pineapple lining too! Makes me want to go on vacation.  Grin

And Jennickell I really like the grommet idea- I might have to try that. I think I even have some grommets in my notions box. That blue brocade paisley one looks very pretty- what kind of handles are you gonna use on it? That might even be cute with a chain handle or something metallic. It's a little more dressy fabric so something shiny or glttery would suit it. Oh there I go pushing the glitter again. Wink
Did you get the funny looks from the cashier when you bought 6 non-matching placemats? LOL

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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2006 03:04:27 PM »

not2old4glitter, I found the placemat at WalMart (and the pineapple fabric too)...As I said before, I can't wait to make more...tons of thanks to you again for the great tutorial.... Grin

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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2006 05:13:55 PM »

...As I said before, I can't wait to make more...tons of thanks to you again for the great tutorial.... Grin
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« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2006 10:08:38 AM »

I made one for my friend as a "happy birthday and fare well in Mexico" present.  I had never made a bag before, save a couple of really simple drawstring sacks.  I had never ever made a pocket, inserted a zipper or sewn a button-hole.  I learned a lot on this project.  I'm quite proud.  However, I should have taken more time with the inside pocket I made, now that I have seen that there is a link to a tutorial on how to do it right... I just kind of made it up as I went along and it wasn't great.  I ended up going to get another placemat and I mailed my second, improved set of straps to my freind yesterday.  I hope she loves this bag --

« Last Edit: December 20, 2010 10:03:07 PM by MareMare - Reason: to fix coding issue » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2006 04:00:14 PM »

oh wow!! thanks so much for the tutorial, i must try this!!

and all of the bags posted so far are great, keep it up ladies!!
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2006 06:27:02 PM »

yarnhag that turned out really cute! I like the straps being buttoned on, and that way you could also have multiple sets of straps in different lengths or colors, or mix and match straps between different bags. And YAY for learning new things like zippers! I think a lot of people are scared of them but I LOVE love love zippers and  they are really easy once you do a couple. I only wish they were cheaper because I like to put at least 3 zippers per purse.

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« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2006 10:13:41 PM »

I was literally JUST looking at some old placemats of mine thinking to myself, "I could totally make something out of these"...and whaddya know --- here's this purse tutorial. Thanks for the well-written tutorial, not2old4glitter.....another project for my list.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2006 09:28:42 AM by Najah » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2006 10:22:05 AM »

Thank you so much, I have read many instructions on how to make these and FINALLY I understand the bottom!! You are wonderful!

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« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2006 03:10:54 PM »

Thank you! I hope you will post pics if you make one of these. Smiley

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« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2006 06:15:46 AM »

ok  those  are  great  but  now  I  wanna  know  something..... how  do you get eh wipper so professional looking...... care to  do a  tut on that  part?  for the top adn  for the  inside pocket.....  you are obviously good at tuts.....how bout  a  step by step with photo tut on zippers?    it  sure  would  help me out. Thanks

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« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2006 08:37:19 AM »

for the zipper on top I did include it in this tute, steps 11 and 12. there's only two steps because it's just two seams. was there  something specific you need help with or a missing step I need to add?

for the zipper pocket I use this method that already has a good tute written
 SewPixie's excellent tutorial here-

« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2006 01:41:31 PM »

I just wanted to say that I'm brand new to the board and I love it already!  And a great big thank you to the person that posted those wonderful instructions.  I had seen at a craft show some purses last weekend and kept thinking.... If I can find the right mats I can do that too..... and for a lot less!  I found some wonderful Christmas themed runners today that with what there is in them of the $4.00 for each one I'll be able to make two purses from each!

Thank you again!  Glad that I found this site and wonderful people! Grin Grin Grin
« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2006 03:42:04 PM »

You're welcome! Some of the xmas placemats out right now are really tempting, there's some velvet and satin quilted ones at Target that would make great evening bags.

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« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2007 09:55:55 PM »

This is so awesome, thank you for taking the time to help us all make beautiful bags!!

« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2007 06:13:44 PM »

love the bags and tute! thanx for puttin it up!

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« Reply #29 on: January 05, 2008 08:14:17 PM »

Thank you sooooo much for this tutorial.  I got a sewing machine for my birthday (Dec 22) and this was my first sewing project.  I finished it super quick which was a great way to get started.  Here's how it turned out.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/15124827@N08/2170946668/
« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2008 04:56:00 AM »

Merry- love that bag- the colors are great!!!

Love the placemat bags!  What an awesome idea!
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2008 10:26:49 AM »

I'm a bit tardy in my post, but thank you so much for posting this tutorial with all the clear instructions and photos...... I think I will try my hand at this for some Xmas presents--- literally by hand as I have no sewing machine!  Question, when attaching the lining to the placement bag is there a special handstitch to use or will a simple backstitch be okay???

« Reply #32 on: September 10, 2010 05:19:51 PM »

OK, so I know this thread is a couple of years old but I went shopping for a purse a few days ago and couldn't find anything I liked.  I got home and googled it, and this thread came up. So thanks for the tute, and here is what I made:

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