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 methodhttps://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=91693https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=93666https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=92626https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=92446
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.
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- https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=11808.0
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.