kojo tutorial- preppy pleated purse

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Yesterday, while I was perusing the purse section at Ross, I thought, “Maybe I should ask for a bright blue purse for Mother’s Day… or perhaps a yellow one…. or red? I don’t have a red purse.” The funny thing is, most days I carry The Everything Bag. Or a super neutral brown or white purse. But I seem to have a wandering eye for purses (and bedding, but that’s another story)- I am always on the lookout for a new one.

purse tutorial- how to make a pleated purseIn case you have that same problem (ahem, Chrissy!), or, better, if your mom loves purses too, this little green and white handbag would make the perfect gift for Mother’s Day. And it’s a pretty quick project (even better, right?).

Ready to make one yourself? You’ll need-

-green and white vinyl (less than half of a yard of each one)

-liner fabric (about a yard, maybe less)

-2 large D Rings

-sewing machine and supplies

For the exterior-

Make a template using a 12×12 piece of paper (just draw diagonal lines and round the corners until it is the size and shape you want- mine was the full 12″ wide on the bottom, 10″ wide at the top and 12″ tall). Cut the template in three pieces.

Trace onto the back side of vinyl- the two sides on green and the middle on white. Cut out with some extra room for seam allowance. Repeat.

Cut out four 11″ x 4″ rectangles. Press in half and then press the two sides toward the middle.

Line up the pressed fold of the liner fabric with the traced line of the vinyl (right sides facing each other. Pin in place. Sew along the traced line.

Cut the extra vinyl off, staying very close to the seam. Repeat with all of the liner fabric rectangles and vinyl pieces until you have two purse sides with pleated inserts.

Cut a 1″ wide strip of fabric to use as your piping cover (mine was lo-ong- around 48″ I think). Tuck your piping in the middle of the strip of fabric.

Pin around the perimeter of the purse (make sure the pleats are pinned closed.

Sandwich the trapezoid/rectangle/trapezoid piece along the outside of the purse piece and the piping and pin in place. Trim excess fabric and stitch in place. You’ll have to pleat the vinyl a couple of times along the way to make it sit right.

Repeat the entire process on the other side.

For the lining-

Cut two ‘purse’ shapes using the pieced-together template(you can also cut out your lining pieces before you cut the template into pieces). Cut one 4″ x 18″ rectangle. Cut two trapezoids with a 4″ base and a 2″ top. They should each be 8″ tall. Sew together with the rectangle in the middle and the trapezoids on each end (match up the 4″ edges). Sorry there’s no picture of this part- basically your long middle piece is a skinny rectangle with trapezoids on each end.

Pin the purse piece to the trapezoid-and-rectangle strip. Along the rounded edges, fold over to make little pleats and sew in place. Repeat on the other side, leaving a 5″ gap on the bottom edge of one side (you’ll use this to turn the purse right side in).

For the handles-

Cut a 4″x48″ rectangle. Fold in half, right sides facing in, and sew up the open edge. Turn right side in and press flat with the seam running along the back side. Add two 2″ D rings on one end. Make the other end reach a point.

Cut in half.

To assemble-

You now have your exterior shell (you may have to trim the top edge so that the sides and purse pieces are all even- at least, I had to), your handles and your lining pieces ready. Pull the lining around the outside of the exterior, right side of the lining facing the right side of the exterior.

Tuck your handle pieces in between the two and pin in place (make sure that when you turn this right side in, the seam side of the handle faces the inside and the finished top edges faces the outside- I mocked flipping it right side in to figure out how to pin).

Sew around the entire top edge. Pull purse right side in through gap in the bottom of the lining. Tuck excess fabric back from gap back into hole and top stitch along the bottom edge of the lining, closing the gap (check first to make sure the handles are correct- fix if needed).

DONE! Preppy, pleat-y, piped goodness in one little bag!

Side note- do you have a wandering eye for purses? Shoes? Bedding? What’s the thing that you can’t get enough of?


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  1. I totally have a wandering purse eye! I have finally found a line that I love at Kohls, though, that’s big enough with the right kinds of pockets for me. You’d think with a fall/winter one and a spring/summer one I’d be content to stop looking, but oh no. Of course not! Your purse turned out great!

    1. Haha- I am with you! There were a bunch of Nine West beauties at Ross for $27!?! All in pretty colors, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t make one for that much (not when you figure in the time it takes). I always tell Adam, “At least I don’t have a wandering eye for men.” HAHA. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I love how you understand my need to have a new purse for every season, and I find it surprising that not all women think this way. Can’t wait to see you guys in a few weeks!! Congrats on your success with Sew-Vivor!

    1. Haha- I am totally and completely with you. One hundred percent. ๐Ÿ™‚ And Jordi says I’m not a “Ludwig.”
      And we are so excited too!!!

  3. I love the green and pink color combo you used for the whole outfit! And I love the fabric you chose for the binding on the purse.

    I always browse the clearance aisles at Target looking for the ‘perfect’ buy on sheets or towels! Kind of boring.

    1. Ooooh, I love linens in general! And the Target clearance section is its own addiction, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I think purses and bag are your forte. Very nice job! Love that green vinyl. Do you mind if I ask where you got it?

    My weakness? shoes. can’t justify buying one. more. pair. But I love to look!

    1. Thanks for your sweet words, friend! And I have a thing for shoes too! Good thing I have a small closet. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Also, I painted my toenails and am off to take some pictures this afternoon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Love it. You are so talented! The colors are awesome too. I have a wandering eye for bags too, but seldom ever buy them b/c my taste is waaaaaaaaay above my means, if you know what I mean. I may have to make this this summer! I should say, I hope I get to making this this summer! LOL!

    1. Jenny- not only do I have a wandering eye for bags, I also have a special talent for finding the most expensive thing on a shelf/in a store etc. And so, yes, totally feel your above-my-means pain!!!
      And you should totally make this! Super simple and so cute. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Super cute bag – I need a new one like I need a hole in my head, but they are just so fun to sew. Quick little projects that fit into my life in a couple of hours are what I love best!

  7. Found this awesome post on Tip Junkie’s roundup which was shared on MY bloghop this week. Talk about traveling around. ๐Ÿ™‚ Would love it if you would visit my Wonderful Wednesday anytime to share your posts. New fan/follower here.
    If you are a Google+ or Twitter enthusiast, I would love the follow, I am G+ ing and Tweeting a lot more these days and would love to connect. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Ducks โ€˜n a Row

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