I've been in the full swing of holiday-theme sewing & crafts lately and one thing on my list was to make myself a festive little handbag. Something cute, but simple and useful. So I whipped up this Dainty Handbag Tote.
It's petite size and whimsical ribbon bow makes it quite dainty.
The bag is a basic tote shape, but has a handy partitioned side pocket and magnetic snap closure. It can hold my phone, wallet, keys and other critical purse contents just as well as my bigger bags too.
For my festive look I did a jolly red lining and the fun Gnome For The Holidays by Michael Miller for the outer fabric. I was buying some laminated cotton for another bag project at Laminates and saw this gnome print and thought it would be perfect for my seasonal purse idea, so I bought a 20in x 20in cut of it too. The best bit is while it's cotton, it's also got a PUL coating on the back side to make it water resistant - ideal for snowy days out and about:
- 1/2yd each of outer fabric, lining
- 1/2yd each ultra firm sew-in stabilizer and fusible fleece
- Magnetic snap
- Optional - 10 inch piece of double fold bias tape
- Basic notions: rotary cutter/shears, iron, marking pen/chalk, pins, hand sewing needle
Cut the following pieces from the outer & lining fabrics, as well as fusible fleece and ultra firm sew-in stabilizer:
Bottom: 9.5 in wide by 4 high
Side: (2) 4 in wide by 8 in high
Front/Back: (2) 9.5 in wide by 8 high
For the straps cut (4) 2 1/4 in wide by 12 in high pieces from the outer fabric and (2) from fusible fleece and for the pocket a 9.5 in wide by 10 in high piece plus a 9.5 in wide by 5 in high piece of fusible fleece.
Baste the ultra firm stabilizer to the wrong size of all the outer fabric pieces and fusing the fleece to the wrong sides of the lining pieces.
For the inner pocket, the stabilizer goes on one half of its wrong side and then the fabric is folded over. This makes the pocket lined. I added some silver bias tape along the top of the pocket, then layered the pocket over one of the lining sides. Totally optional, but it adds a nice finish.
Let's start with the lining pieces. Using marker/chalk, measure out the desired pocket widths with a ruler. I made sure my center pocket was wide enough for my phone. Layer pocket over a main lining piece, pin, then stitch down the markings. Baste along the bottom edge.
Stitch together a short end of each of the side pieces to the short sides of the bottom, right sides together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I start and stop about 1/4 inch from the top and bottom to make it easier to do the remaining sides later.
Stitch the lower side of the piece with the pocket along an open side of the bottom and repeat with the remaining sides, again starting & stopping 1/4 inch from either end. Leave a 3 inch gap for turning on that last bottom side.
Pull together the side and main pieces, pin and then stitch together, but this time start and stop at the very ends.
Trim raw edges and corners down, close to the seams.
To add an inner magnetic snap, use the washer piece included with the snap to mark the prong placement on the front and back side of the bag lining. I centered them and made with a few inches below the top. Use a seam ripper or thread scissors to make small slits. Insert the snaps through the right sides and add a small piece of the ultra firm stabilizer around the back for added strength.
Slip on the washer and fold down the prongs.
Repeat the sewing steps for the outer pieces, except don't leave a gap along the bottom edge. To avoid making loads of pin holes or shifting while sewing the stiff ultra firm stabilizer, I like to use small metal clips instead of pins. After completing all stitching, turn the outer bag right side out.
To do the handles, put right sides together and place them over a strip of the fleece. Stitch along the length on both sides and one end.
Turn right side out with the help of a knitting needle or pencil. Press gently & quickly with iron. The fleece will help keep things from getting too hot on the laminate coating. Topstitch along edges.
Place handle ends 1 1/2 inches from ends on either side and pin. Baste together.
Insert outer bag into lining, right sides facing.
Tie some grosgrain ribbon in a bow on one handle and add a couple of hand stitches through the center to keep it from untying. Melt the cut edges of the ribbon with a lighter so they won't fray too.
Now this dainty bag is ready to tote around town this season:)