I have rarely ventured into the bag-making arena, but recently I made a very simple faux fur purse. I thought I would share it with you in case you know anyone who needs one…or if you do. 😉
This little purse was my inspiration:
It’s really an envelope without the flap. Seemed simple enough, despite the lining (I’m a little bit afraid of lining, but I think it’s got to be one of the next things on my “to learn” list.).
Here are the materials I used:
- pink faux fur 0.5 yard (this is the amount I bought, but you could probably get away with 0.25 yard)
- lighter pink lining 0.5 yard (this is the amount I bought, but you could probably get away with 0.25 yard)
- 1 yard of trim for a strap
- 1 magnetic snap (This is the first time I’ve used magnetic clasps, and I found the one I bought to be a little strong. You may want to try the smallest/weakest option if your fabric is thin and flexible, like mine.)
- 1 decorative button (optional)
- scrap pieces of interfacing and felt or something similar (maybe 1″ by 1″ or 1.5″ by 1.5″ squares)
- hand-sewing needle
- needlenose pliers
- general equipment like scissors, rotary cutter, self-healing mat, clear lipped ruler, sewing machine, pins, your vacuum for all the fur bits, and maybe some Kevlar gloves* for safety
Other important information:
- Total time: about 3 hours to set everything up, cut, sew, figure out measurements, and clean up. If you have a dedicated sewing space so that you can skip set-up and clean-up, this should take under 2 hours, especially if you are a fast sewer.
- Seam allowance: 0.5″
- Skill level: beginner who knows how to use all the tools (like sewing machine and rotary cutter, although you can use scissors to cut if that is your preference)
Here’s a look at the finished purse…then we’ll go into the details of how it got made.
How to make your own:
1. Lay out your outer fabric (the pink faux fur, in this case) and cut a piece that is 8″ by 5″ with your rotary cutter. You will also need a piece of the outer fabric that is 1.5″ by 8″. The faux fur that I used was really thin and flexible. If you are using a thicker or furrier piece, it might help you to read about cutting and sewing with faux fur here first. It doesn’t hurt to keep your vacuum handy, either. That faux fur really sheds!
*After hearing stories about my aunt cutting off the tip of her finger, a former employer cutting into her hand and almost needing reparative surgery, and some quilters with bad rotary cutter injuries (and consequent infections) from my Mom’s emergency room nursing days, I finally moved the Kevlar gloves from the kitchen drawer to my sewing drawer. I bought them for shucking oysters, which I’ve only done once, but I use the rotary cutter pretty regularly. Seemed like maybe they should live with their new buddy, the rotary cutter. You can see them in the picture above.
2. Cut a piece of your inner lining that is 7.5″ by 4″ with your rotary cutter.
3. Lay out your larger piece of faux fur so it is wider than it is tall. Position your strap material so that the ends extend just a bit above the fur. Make sure the trim isn’t twisted and that it is placed a little bit more than half an inch from the right side and just to the right of middle. I laid mine with the back side of the trim facing up. Then lay your smaller fur piece on top, with right sides of the fur together, so that the two fur pieces line up on top. Pin them along the top.
4. Sew along your pinned edge with a straight stitch and 0.5″ seam allowance. When you are finished and flip up the short piece, it should look something like this:
5. With the shorter piece still up, as in the picture above, match your lining up with the top of the smaller fur piece, right sides together, and pin along the top, as shown below.
6. Sew along your pinned edge with a straight stitch and 0.5″ seam allowance.
7. After you’ve done that, go back and do a small zigzag stitch inside the seam allowance along the edges of the two seams you’ve just sewn.
When you flip the lining and smaller piece of fur down, it should look like this:
8. Before going on, you’ll want to insert your magnetic clasps, if you are using them. I used this tutorial to learn how to insert a magnetic snap, since mine didn’t have directions. I laid out the fabric and folded it in half as it would be when finished to figure out where I wanted the snaps to go so they would snap together when the purse was finished. Then, I marked where I wanted them to be with a marker on the wrong side of the fabric, and cut little slits along the marks so that I could push the prongs of the snaps through and fold them down. Before folding them down, though, I also cut slits in a square of interfacing and one of felt and put them over the prongs of each, per the tutorial I mentioned. I think it gives it a little extra stability. Make sure the snaps are oriented so that the correct sides are facing one another! You should be able to see the snaps on the right side of the fabric, and the prongs should be on the wrong (back) side of the fabric. The scraps of interfacing and felt are also on the side where they won’t be seen once the purse is finished. I used needlenose pliers to bend the prongs down. Hopefully this picture will clarify what I’m trying to say (the interfacing is the white square and the felt is the gray square).
Here it is from the right side:
8.5. If you want to be smarter than I was, go ahead and do a little zigzag stitch along the long end of the lining fabric so it doesn’t fray later. Then you won’t have to do it in step 10.
9. Next fold your purse with right sides together, snapping the snap shut and making sure your strap/trim is away from the edges, so you don’t sew it into a seam by accident. Pin all around, leaving most of the end of the lining open so you’ll be able to turn it right side out. I sewed about an inch in from each side on the end of the lining and left the rest open.
10. Sew around the edges, except for the opening in the lining with a straight stitch and 0.5″ seam allowance. Then go back and zigzag in the seam allowance to keep your fabric from fraying. I also zigzagged the open lining fabric (If you already did this in step 8.5, you can skip it now. You are ahead of the game!).
11. Now turn it right side out. Don’t forget to unsnap your snap.
12. Fold the very edge of your lining in about 0.5″ and either do a straight stitch (0.25″ seam) or handsew with an invisible stitch to close the lining. I was impatient, so I just used my machine. (I’m still working on the patience part of sewing…)
13. Push your lining and the top piece of faux fur to the inside and snap your snap.
14. Last, but not least, sew on your decorative button, if you are using one.
You did it! You made a purse! Congratulations!