Sewing project: purse

For some time I’ve been carrying my money around in a small knitted pouch with a button to hold it closed. It’s not the most secure, in fact, when I place it in a bag that has plenty of empty space in it, I usually find that my spare change goes rolling around freed from its knitted prison. Some people don’t carry much change, but as a bus user I live off of it and for that reason, I needed somewhere more secure to keep my money.

A few weeks ago I decided that I would have a go at sewing one. I’ve sewed a few things over the years; a pair of pyjama bottoms, a bag, a phone pouch. They’re not always the neatest, I’m still quite amateur when it comes to using my sewing machine, but they’re definitely usable. I went as far as to cut up fabric to prepare my sewing project, for various reasons I left it unsewn.

Today I went back to my sewing project and realised that I couldn’t remember what the hell I was supposed to be doing with the pieces of fabric I’d cut up. So I went back to the drawing board, looked through a book, and found the perfect purse (wallet to those who call a bag a purse) to sew.

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It’s a very basic sew, really. The easier of the zip options, according to my book. I’m very rusty with zips, I’ve only used one once before and it wasn’t a very successful sew at all.

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As with most sewing projects, there are basic items needed and a few extra items too. The fabric – two different kinds; one for the exterior and one for the interior lining, pins to hold everything in place, a zip, a pair of scissors and of course, my book. I thought I would need some interfacing which strengthens the material – I didn’t use it on this occasion, nor did I use the buttons I was planning on using for decoration purposes.

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To begin I made a pattern, because it’s so basic and quite a small project I just used a sheet of lined paper. I measured out the shape and size I needed then I attached the pieces to the material.

I needed:

2 exterior pieces

2 interior pieces

2 zip end pieces

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Once I’d cut everything out then there was nothing stopping me from getting started. I attached the zip ends to the zip, which was quite fiddly because the zip is only small and so are the end pieces of fabric. I find that when I used my sewing machine I can often go a little too fast, which causes all sorts of trouble. To avoid that I actually sewed the zip ends manually, not by hand, but by using the sewing machine and turning the wheels until it had put a row of stitches into each zip end. I found it to be the most successful way of doing it, for me, as doing it using the electronic turn, I would have messed it all up.

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With the zip done, it was on to attaching the exterior and interior pieces. I found it really useful to have to secure the zip edge between the interior and exterior sheets of fabric. I’d never thought of doing it that way, but it makes sense to ensure that it’s secure enough. I had a couple of false starts, sewing along a straight line is difficult, sewing along a straight line when you have very little opportunity for movement is even harder. I had to make sure the stitches went through both the exterior and interior pieces and through the edge of the zip so there wasn’t a lot of wriggle room. I had to unstitch a row at least twice before I finally got it right.

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The final bit was probably the hardest to get my head around. I had to stitch the exterior pieces together and the interior pieces together – all while making sure I could still turn the purse “inside out” so that the right side was showing. I had a couple of false starts, but I got there in the end. I stitched it all up until there was just a small hole in which to twisted the fabric back on itself. It was fiddly to close the hole, but definitely worth it.

It may not be the neatest of purses, or my best attempt at sewing, it may also not be very sturdy. But for a first attempt at a purse, and a first successful attempt at using a zip, it’s not a bad effort. Now my money will be a lot safer than it’s been recently.

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8(The finished product!)

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