Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Red & Black Day 4: DIY Handbag


For day 4 of Red & Black Week, a pattern for making a handbag.


In the comments to yesterday's tote bag post, The Professor presciently asked if the bag could be made in a smaller size. Yes, it can! :D

Scaled down 50%, the bag is a good size for a handbag or lunch tote. To make the smaller size, just divide the tote bag measurements in half. Follow the same sewing instructions as for the tote bag. Retain the 4" spacing for the handles.

The pieces for the handbag are small, so it's a great way to use remnants and scraps. In addition, the pattern pieces can be printed on standard 8.5" x 11" paper. The pictures below should produce an accurately sized pattern when printed at 100%. (You can also email me to request a PDF.)



You can easily make variations on the tote or the handbag:
  • Connect the top band, front/back and bottom pattern pieces and cut as one to create a solid (no contrast) bag.
  • Add interfacing to the fabric pieces to give the bag a more structured look.
  • Use heavy-duty thread and strong fabrics to make a grocery tote. (I like to space the handles further apart on grocery totes.)
  • Make the handles narrower or wider, longer or shorter.
  • Add a loop-and-button or other type of closure.
  • Add ribbon, lace or other trim as desired.
  • Add pockets to the outside or inside.

The bag shown below has a black pocket (divided into two) on the inside. 

To make this type of pocket, cut a piece of fabric the same width as the lining and twice the desired depth of the pocket. Finish/hem the top and bottom.

Place the pocket on the right side of the lining and stitch the top all the way across, as shown by the yellow line below.

Fold the pocket up and baste along the sides, as shown by the yellow lines below. The pocket sides will be fully sewn when you stitch together the sides of the lining. To divide the pocket, stitch down as shown by the pink line below.

Sew the bag together per the usual instructions. Done!

16 comments:

  1. *gasp* How beautiful your fabrics are! I do want these bags :D

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  2. All right, that's it. Off to buy a sewing machine...

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  3. I will be emailing you for the PDF! I'm looking for DIY ideas for xmas that I can actually manage (with too many people to shop for and not enough time for huge projects!). This would do nicely for a couple of people on my list!

    PS: ROFL to your reply to the comment above mine! ;)

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    1. Great! I'm glad you can use the project. :D

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  4. I like the idea of having the pocket another colour to the lining. It can be hard to find the pocket when it's closed! Especially when the bag is full!

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    1. Yes, that's precisely why I did it. :) The worst is a black pocket on a black lining... especially in a dark club!

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  5. Love love love the cherry print!

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    1. I think it would make a cute retro style dress. :)

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  6. I really love the black and white print fabric! I also love that you DIY everything, you are very talented!

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    1. Thank you so much! The black and white is probably my favorite non-bat print that I've used lately. :)

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