Sunday, January 23, 2011

Purse with Frame Tutorial

                                 Here I will show you how I made this little purse.

You will need:
(in brackets is what I used)

Purse frame (9cm/3.5”)
Outer fabric (butterfly vintage kimono fabric)
Lining (thin acetate)
*Interfacing (heavy weight sew-in)
Strong fabric glue (Gutterman Ht2)
Paper, pencil and ruler – a triangular ruler with a 90 degree angle if you have one
Sewing equipment

*A note on interfacing : You may wish to use a different type of interfacing depending on the outer fabric you have chosen.  I had initially tried ironing lightweight fusible interfacing to the outer fabric which is made of silk.  I intended to also use heavy weight sew-in interfacing.  Ironing it onto the silk did not go so well so now I am just using the sew-in interfacing. This gives the purse shape but doesn’t make it stiff and crisp.
So if you want a more stiffer more structured purse, and are  cotton for example, then you may wish to use iron-on interfacing also.

Making a Pattern

Purse frames come in all sorts of different sizes so the easiest thing to do is make a pattern for each type of frame.  I am using a 9cm/3.5”  rectangular frame.

Step 1.
Draw around the outside of the frame – from one hinge all the way around to the other.
Make a mark where each hinge ends.

Step 2.
Now you need to draw a line that marks the middle of the frame. So in my case the frame is 9cm/3.5” so the line is placed 4.5cm/1.77” from either side.  This line must be perpendicular to the top of the frame, so a triangular ruler (I can’t remember the correct name) with a 90 degree angle is very useful.  This line will ensure that your pattern is symmetrical.

Step 3.
 The seam allowance I use is 1cm/0.39”.
Measure out 1cm/0.39” from the top of the frame and a bit of the way around the curves.  It doesn’t matter how far down you draw the line.


Step 4.
Now you need to decide on the dimensions of your purse.  I made mine  22cm/8.6” across the bottom and 13cm/5.1” in height.  Including a seam allowance of 1cm/0.39” all the way around.  From the pattern it may seem that the purse will be huge but this is not the case because you will be removing a piece either side when creating the flat bottom.
The wider you make it the “puffier” it will be.  Making it higher will result in a deeper purse.  This is may not be a problem for a large purse frame but for a small one like mine it would be difficult to get your fingers in to reach something at the bottom.

I square the corners at the top.  At first I left them rounded but found that the purse was often a little too small for the frame.

Step 5
Cut your pattern out.
Fold it in half along the centre line to check that it is symmetrical.  If it is  1-2 millimetres off don’t worry just cut it away.  At the bottom its not so important how much you remove, but at the top where it fits into the frame you don’t want to remove too much or else it will be too small for the frame. If it really isn’t symmetrical you may need to make a new pattern.  You can use the old one as a guideline.

Step 6.
This is an important bit to get right.  It will determine the size of the purse opening which you want to match the size of the frame opening.

Place your frame along the top of the pattern and position the curved corner of the frame into the corner of the pattern.  Next pivot the frame so that its side is aligned with the side of the pattern but do not let the frame move downwards along the pattern side.  Keep the corners aligned – like in the photo.
Make a mark where the hinge ends. 

Step 7.
Now make a second mark about 3mm down from the mark you made to indicate the hinge end.  You can rub out the first mark.

                                                                 Finished Pattern !

Sewing the Purse

Step 1.
Using your pattern cut two pieces of lining. Place a mark on the lining where your hinge ends (the red line on my pattern in the picture above).
Cut two pieces of sew-in interfacing (and/or fusible interfacing depending on what you have chosen). Again mark where the hinge ends.

Next I pin the sew-in interfacing to the outer fabric and roughly cut out the fabric. Then baste the outer fabric to the interfacing within the seam line so that the holes you are making in the fabric will not be seen. Cut fabric to match interfacing.

It is important to cut the fabric as exact as possible.  So it is well worth it to spend a bit of time. (Which I did not do in the beginning, resulting in crooked purses)

2x lining, 2x outer fabric basted to interfacing

seam running from one hinge-end mark to the other

Step 2.

With right sides together sew the two basted fabric-interfacing pieces together. Sew from the hinge-end mark on one side all the way around the bottom and up the other side to the hinge-end mark.  The seam allowance is 1cm/0.39”.

Step 3.

Side and bottom seams are aligned and pinned in place

To create a flat bottom:  Put your fingers into one of the triangular corners to open it out.  With the other hand push the side seam and bottom seam together so that they are aligned.  Press it flat with your hand and pin.

 Step 4.

This bit depends on the size and style of the purse you are making.  For the yellow purse I’m making I measured  3.5cm/1.37” from the tip of the “triangle”, (where the pencil in the photo is pointing) . Draw a line perpendicular to the seam line.

3.5cm from point

Step 5.
Sew along the line you just made and trim away the excess “triangle” to reduce bulk.
Turn your purse the right way round.

Step 6.
Sew the lining pieces together in the same way.

 Step 7.
With right sides together place the outer purse into the purse lining.  Align all the raw  edges neatly.  The openings may not match exactly, don’t worry if the difference is only small (1-2 mm).  Somehow I have never managed to sew the two exactly the same.

placing purse into lining

Step 8.

Sew together the lining and outer fabric, using a 1cm/0.39” seam allowance.
On one side sew all the way from one hinge-end mark around the top and to the other hinge-end mark.
On the other side leave a 6cm/2.36” opening as shown in the photo below.  If you are making a larger purse leave a bigger opening. This is where you turn the bag the right side out. 
Take your time – it’s important to get this right and equal on both sides.

6.5cm opening

Step 9.

Turn your purse the right way round.  It may seem like the opening is too small but it will work.

Before you sew the opening closed get your frame and check that the purse fits it.  You want the hinge of the frame to meet where the opening of the purse begins, or thereabouts, it’s not so exact.  If the frame is too long or short for the purse you can turn the it inside out again and fix it where you have sewn the lining pieces together and the outer fabric pieces together.

Hopefully it fits !

Then sew the opening closed.
Now press the seams a little.  I prefer not to press the area which will be glued into the frame.

right side out, the opening sewed closed

Step 10.

Gluing the frame to the purse.
I always find this a bit tricky.

I use gutterman HT2 fabric glue, which instructs that you put glue on both surfaces which you want to stick together. 
Glue first one side into the frame and then the other.
It is helpful to pin the side you are not gluing down and out of the way.
Only put a small bit of glue onto the outer rim of fabric.
You can put a bit more into the frame, making sure to get into the corners.

Slowly and carefully ease the fabric into the frame.  Push the fabric right in to the corners.  This is quite fiddly so take your time.

one side glued into the frame

Let the glue dry for a bit and then go and do the same with the other side.

I like to crimp the frame just above the hinges using a jewellery pliers over a piece of cloth to protect the metal.   This helps secure the edges which may come lose with wear and tear.

crimped edge

Step 11

Close your purse and admire!


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