How to Sew a Purse

Learning how to sew a purse is a great beginning sewing project. Purses are simple to make and when someone compliments you on it you can proudly say “I made it myself!” Purses are also great projects for more experienced sewists: there’s nothing more satisfying than a quick project, and purses are a great way to use up smaller pieces of fabric. Plus you can never have too many and they make great gifts, so you might be inspired to whip up a bunch for your friends.

Here’s how to sew a purse in 8 easy steps:


1. Prep your fabric. You’ll need four pieces of fabric approximately 14” x 16” (feel free to play around with the dimensions a bit). Two pieces will be the exterior of the purse, and two will be the lining. You will also need 2 pieces of fabric 16” x 2 1/2” (these will be the handles) and coordinating thread.

2. With right sides together, sew the sides and bottom of your exterior fabric together with a 1/4” seam.


3. Repeat for your lining, but leave about a 3” gap in the middle of the bottom seam. You’ll need this gap to turn your purse right side out after you insert the lining.


4. Prep your purse handles. Fold each handle in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together and press. Fold each raw edge in 1/2” and press. Stitch, with the raw edges neatly folded inside. This method is a lot easier than sewing the right sides together and trying to turn a long, skinny tube right side out. Topstitch down the folded edge.

5. Pin the handles in place on your exterior fabric. Baste in place 1/4” from the edge.

6. Right sides together, match up the top raw edges and the side seams of your main fabric and lining fabric. Stitch around the top with a 1/2” seam.

7. Turn the bag right side out by pulling the exterior fabric through the gap you left in the lining. Slipstitch the gap closed. Press the bag if it’s looking a bit wrinkly.

8. Topstitch the top of the purse 3/8” from the top edge. This will keep the lining in place.

how to sew a purse

You’re done!

In the mood for more of a challenge? Add a pocket to the outside (or inside!) of your purse, add a zipper or button closure, or create the front of the purse in a patchwork design. For additional purse patterns head here. You can also take a (free!) Craftsy class to learn how to sew a purse: check out Bag Making Basics: Drawstring Bag and Bucket Bag, or Bag Making Basics: Reversible Tote and Zipper Pouch.

Have you made a purse recently?

Come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow to learn great tips for sewing chiffon. And in case you missed it, learn how to insert zippers with ease.

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