Reversible Purse – Free sewing pattern and tutorial

If you’re like me, you can’t have too many fat quarters.

These bad boys are literally what started my sewing addiction. I fell in love with the inexpensive and colourful pieces of fabric at a local fabric store and started buying and buying. The problem was I couldn’t sew at all. So, to justify me purchasing more fabric, I taught myself how to sew. Mostly small bags and purses at first, which were free sewing tutorials. Which led to another concern…

Can you have too many purses?!

No, no, you can’t.

So, if you have lots of fat quarters, you might as well make a purse. And if you’re going to make a purse, you might as well make it reversible. Who doesn’t love multi-functional accessories?

This purse is really two purses in one! It also takes minimal materials and minimal time. It’s a perfect time to get a little wild with colours and patterns.

Materials:

**Craftsy has a wonderful deal on a cutting starter kit! Includes cutting mat, blades, rotary cutter, ruler and more. It’s way less than I paid for all of mine 🙂 Click here to check it out!**

Cutting Instructions:

Fat Quarter Cuts:

  1. Fold the Fat Quarter in half, so that folded piece measures 9″ x 22″
  2. Cut a tiny 1/8″ strip off the folded edge so you have 2 pieces of fabric – Treat these as 1 piece of fabric moving forward
  3. From one edge, cut a rectangle 9″ x 16″ and set aside. These are your PURSE TOPS
  4. Cut a square 6″ x 6″ and set aside. These are your POCKETS
  5. Scrap the remaining 3″ x 6″ piece of fabric – You won’t need it for this project
  6. Repeat for the second Fat Quarter

Half Yard Cuts:

  1. Fold in half so that the folded piece measures 18″ x 22″
  2. Cut a tiny 1/8″ strip off the folded edge so you have 2 pieces of fabric – Treat these as 1 piece of fabric
  3. From one edge measure and cut 2 side-by-side strips of 3″ x 18″ and set aside. These are your STRAPS
  4. From the top edge, measure and cut  2  side-by-side 9″ x 22″. These are your PURSE BOTTOMS
  5. On the bottoms of both of  9″ x 22″ pieces, cut 2″ x 2″ square from the 2 bottom corners. Scrap these squares

Sewing instructions Free sewing tutorial:

  • Follow the cutting instructions supplied
  • Set your stitch length to 1.8
  • Seam allowance is 5/8″
  • Back-stitch all beginning and ends of sewing.

Take your PURSE TOP and PURSE BOTTOM and place right sides together .matching along the long, uncut edge. This is the edge that you will sew along. With a hot iron, press your seams towards the bottom edge with the cut corners. Top stitch along the sewn and pressed edge on the bottom side. Repeat with your remaining 3 PURSE TOPS and PURSE BOTTOMS. These are now your PURSE BODY.

Purse top and bottom are sewn together

 

Pressed and topstitched

Now, it’s time to decide on your pocket placement. You have 4 cut pockets in total, 2 of each design. You can choose to use 1 pocket or all of them. They can be placed on either the matching side or the contrasting colours side. You can place them off-center, or directly in the middle.  Be creative here! For mine, I used 2 pockets total, placed on the matching sides and centered on the bags.

*Reminder, the bottom 2 inches of your bag will be the base of the bag. Don’t place your pocket here!*

Take a POCKET PIECE. On the top edge, fold it over 1/4″ and iron, and then fold over again 1/4″ and iron once more. Pin this edge down and top-stitch the fold in place.

Top edge folded twice and top-stitched

Next, fold and iron the sides and bottom edge in the same way. Pin the pocket to your PURSE BODY in the desired place, maintaining the folds on the edge and bottom of the pocket. Once you’re happy with the placement, sew your pocket down. Top-stitch as close to the edge of the pocket as you are comfortable with, along with the sides and bottom of the POCKETS. Repeat on your remaining desired POCKETS.

Side and bottom edges folded twice and ironed

 

Pocket top stitched to purse body

Pair up your matching PURSE BODIES. Place one pair right sides together matching the edges and the notches. Sew along the bottom edge and both side edges. Press all seams open. On the bottom of the PURSE BODY, where the 2″ square notch is, fold the notch so the side seam and bottom seam lay on top of each other. Sew along the aligned seam. Repeat for the second PURSE BODY.

Purse bodies sewn together along sides and bottom

 

Purse body corners pressed together ready for stitching

 

Corner sewn

Now take 2 STRAPS and place right sides together. Sew along the short 3″ edge. Press the seam open. Repeat for the second set of STRAPS.

Straps sewn together and pressed open

Place the sewn and pressed STRAPS right sides together. Sew along both edges. Turn your tube right side out. Follow THIS LINK for a tutorial on how I turn my tubes.

Sewn strips placed right sides together and sewn into a tube

Press the edges of the STRAPS, wiggling to make sure that you are pressing as close to the seam as possible. Finish your STRAP by top-stitching both edges. This will prevent your strap from rolling and twisting while using your purse.

Straps turned, ironed, and edge stitched

Turn one PURSE BODY right side out. Pin each end of your STRAP to each side of your right side out PURSE BODY, with the ends of the strap, extended an inch or two from the edge of the purse body. It is VERY IMPORTANT to make sure the STRAPS are not twisted.

Purse body right side and wrong side

*** The raw edge of your straps must be placed along the raw edge of your purse body. The strap will wrap around the bottom of your purse body. This is the opposite of how a normal strap would sit when wearing a purse. This issue will be corrected when we turn the bag in the last step. ***

Place the PURSE BODY with the STRAPS pinned on it into your second PURSE BODY right sides together. Mark a space to leave an opening along the top edge of your PURSE BODY. I did this with spent machine needles as a distinctive *DO NOT SEW* marking. Sew from the beginning of your first marker around to your second marker, leaving a gap for turning.

Purse bodies inserted right sides together, with marked gapped and with purse straps attached

Turn your PURSE BODY through the gap left. Your purse will be right side out. Push one PURSE BODY into the other. Iron and press the top edge, wiggling to make sure you’re pressing right at the stitching. Top stitch around the edge.  Top-stitching will also close the gap you left for turning.

Purse immediately after turning right side out

Finish snipping any threads that are hanging out. You can now give your purse a final iron to make it look spiffy. I also like to run a lint roller over my finished pieces to pick up any threads or fluff.

Now go show off your badass double-sided bag!

I hope you enjoyed my free sewing tutorial! I would love to see any of your finished pieces. Please share in the comments below!

The 15-minute Plastic Bag Holder – Free Sewing Pattern Tutorial

Finished Sewing Project - Plastic Bag Holder

15-Minute Plastic Bag Holder

Most people have a stash of plastic bags hiding somewhere in their house.

They take up drawers and cupboards. You can find them hiding in closets and car trunks. Unfortunately, some cities are no longer taking them in curbside recycling. Ugh. There are definitely issues when it comes to storage and disposal of them.

Despite being an avid sewer, I often forget my reusable bags at home. I don’t drive, so I haven’t found a convenient place to store sewn bags while on the go. (Hmmmmm, new project?) Unfortunately, at this moment, the plastic bags keep following me home.

I have tried a few different storage methods: Folding into triangles… Who has time for that? Wet wipes containers… They get stuck! Shoving them in a drawer… Quick and easy, but oh so messy.

One Spring cleaning day, I thought back to a fabric bag dispenser that my mother had when I was a child. This was a common thing in the crafty 1990’s… because IT WORKED! I quickly whipped a few of them up, and I’ve been using them ever since.

So I’m sharing a pattern that I designed: It’s called “The 15-minute plastic bag holder.”

It’s a great starter project for new sewers. It takes no more than 15 minutes to put together. The total cost of materials are extremely inexpensive if you have basic sewing items! I only paid $5.00 for the fabric and other items. It’s also a great way to use all of those gorgeous quilting cotton fat quarter precuts that are oh so hard not to buy. And finally, the best part is: You can put it together with a glue gun if you’re not a sewer! Just follow the instructions and glue the sew lines!!

Also, it’s free… Cause trying to organize plastic bags sucks!


15-Minute Plastic Bag Holder – Free Sewing Pattern Tutorial

MATERIALS:

  • 1 piece of quilting cotton – cut into a Fat Quarter
  • 1 piece of 1/4″ elastic – cut into an 8″ length
  • 1 piece of ribbon – cut into an 8″ length
  • 1 bodkin or safety pin for threading elastic
  • Cotton thread in a colour that matches your fabric
  • Sewing pins
  • An iron
  • Sewing needle for hand sewing (optional)
  • Scissors
Cotton Fat Quarter, Elastic and Ribbon - Materials for free Plastic Bag Holder

Materials for Plastic Bag Holder

INSTRUCTIONS:

A few things to remember before starting:

  • When starting and finishing sewing, make sure to backstitch 2-3 stitches to secure your new line before continuing.
  • Do not sew over your pins! It can mess up your machine or break a needle. Bad news!
  • Preheat your iron.
  • If you are using a glue gun instead of a sewing machine, just follow the instructions as normal and replace the sewing lines with glue lines. Easy!

To start with, look at your Fat Quarter and decide which side of the fabric is the top and bottom. This is especially important if there’s a design or pattern that has a visible up and down! Lay it out on an iron safe surface with the wrong side facing up.

On both the top and bottom of the fabric, fold the fabric over 1/2″ and iron, then fold that over  1/2″ and iron again. The top will fold down and bottom will fold up. See the photo below for an example.

Folding instructions for free sewing pattern plastic bag holderWith the top edge still folded over twice, sew across the fabric, as close to the edge of the fold as you are comfortable. This is just tacking down the fold on the top and keeping the edge pretty.

Instructions how to stitch along top fold free sewing pattern

Now you are going to create a loop to hang your bag from. Take the ribbon and fold it in half. Pin it along the top edge that you have just sewn, about 2″ from the raw edge of the fabric. Make sure to fold the bottom of the ribbon under to prevent fraying. See the photo below for an example.

Sew the ribbon loop down with a rectangle. This rectangle should be sewn close to the top edge of the fold, otherwise, the bag will hang weird. Also, make sure that the stitching catches the bottom layer of the folded ribbon. If not the ribbon may fray. And that is just a pain in the ass!free tutorial ribbon loop for plastic bag holder sewing pattern

Next, unfold the bottom edge. The crease that we ironed will still be there. We will end up folding it back up later.

Fold the two side edges together, with right sides together. Sew close to the edge of the fabric, about 1/2″ away from the raw edge. See the picture below for an example! Do not sew over the ribbon loop. 

Sewing instructions for sewing edge plastic bag holder

Now that the side is sewn, you will be working with a tube. You’re going to start working on the bottom where the elastic will be inserted.

Fold the bottom edge back up the same way it was originally folded along the ironed crease. Fold up 1/2″ and then fold that up 1/2″ again.

With two pines, you will mark a 3″ gap with sewing pins on any side of the tube. This will indicate where to start and finish sewing.  See the photo below for an example.

Sew close to the edge, just like you did at the top. Starting at the first pin, you will sew all the way around the tube and stop right before the second pin. This will leave a gap at the top that will allow you to thread the elastic through.

*DON’T SEW THROUGH BOTH LAYERS OF THE TUBE. SEW AROUND THE TUBE.*  Sewing instructions - bottom elastic edge free plastic bag holder sewing tutorial

Now that you have a tube to thread your elastic through, attach your bodkin or safety pin to your elastic. Starting at the gap, thread it all the way around the bottom edge. The elastic is much smaller than the tube so you will need to hold the loose end and scrunch the fabric around it to get it all the way through. See the photo below.

threading elastic with bodkin or safety pin - tutorial

When the elastic is threaded and both ends are able to held, remove the bodkin or safety pin. Pin the elastic together with one edge on top of the other. This creates a loop that is hidden inside the fabric tube.

Sew the ends together with a rectangle. This can be done either with a sewing machine or by hand. Regardless, make sure everything is stitched together securely! This part of the bag will get alot of repeated stress on it.

The elastic is now a continuous loop. You are going to have to finish sewing closed the gap on the elastic casing. Stretch the gap out, and lay it as flat as you can. Sew the fold to the fabric close to the edge like you did before. Be very careful not to sew over the elastic! The elastic should be loose in the tube you created. Again, see the photos below.

 

Your sewing is all finished! Make sure to trim any loose threads that are hanging out. You can also iron the bag if there are creases in the fabric.

Now turn your new plastic bag holder right side out and admire your hard work.

finished free tutorial free sewing pattern for plastic bag holder

 


I hope you enjoyed my first tutorial!

It’s a very easy beginner sewing project. It’s quick, inexpensive, and useful. Make one for your mom, she’ll love it!

If you have any feedback or have any difficulty with the project, leave a comment or message me. I will be available on this site or on social media. I’ll be happy to help out with any questions!

Do you have a favourite household sewing project? Have you made something useful to help you organize your house? I’d love to see some new patterns! Let me know below.