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How to Make a Handbag Out of Suede or Canvas

Updated on February 21, 2014
Suede Handbag Shown on Right
Suede Handbag Shown on Right | Source

How to Make the Suede Handbag

You Will Need:

  • About 1 Yard of Suede
  • Suede for appliqued designs
  • Strong thread for sewing
  • Machine leather needle for applique
  • Snap fastener
  • Board and craft knife
  • Rubber cement
  • Cardboard - Paper - Pencil

Draw up the pattern in Figure 1 to size on cardboard.

Draw around the shapes with a pencil on the suede.

Using leather shears or sharp scissors, cut out the pieces allowing ¼ inch extra all around for seams.

Cut one of pieces 2 and 3 and two of piece 1.

Rough out a design on paper for the applique decoration on the flap front, make a cardboard template and cut it out in suede.

For a tricky pattern like the bird, lay the suede on a piece of hardboard, and cut along the pencil lines with a craft knife, or a razor blade in a holder. This will give you good clean outlines.

Figure 1: Pattern for Suede Handbag

All Measurements are in Inches.
All Measurements are in Inches. | Source

Assembling the Suede Handbag

  • Take the two back and flap pieces and baste them right sides facing.
  • Either pin them near the edge to avoid holes that may show, or hold them together with sticky tape or paper clips.
  • Sew them together across the bottom of the flap edge and 6 inches down either long side, curing the corners.
  • Trim and clip the corners, then turn the flap right side out.
  • Fix the top half of the snap fastener to the flap lining.
  • Take the front of the bag and turn over a ½ inch hem on one long edge.
  • Lightly stick it down with rubber cement, then stitch.
  • Turn over ¼ inch on the two short edges of the gusset, stick and stitch.
  • With right sides facing, baste one long edge of the gusset to the unstiched edges of the back and flap piece.
  • Stitch together, curving corners.
  • Trim and clip the corners.
  • Baste and stitch the other long side of the gusset to the unstitched edges of the front, right sides together.
  • Turn the bag right side out.

To make the handle:

  • Cut a piece of suede 20 inches by 3½ inches and fold it lengthwise to make a thick strip 1½ to 2 inches wide.
  • Stick the overlapping edges together, cut the ends to curves and run a few lines of stitching around the entire outline to secure.
  • Machine stitch either end to a gusset side.
  • Fix the bottom half of the snap fastener to the front of the bag.

Canvas Handbag Shown on Left
Canvas Handbag Shown on Left | Source

How to Make the Canvas Handbag

You Will Need:

  • 1 yard 36 inches canvas
  • 1/2 yard 36 inches lining fabric
  • Suede for appliqued designs
  • Strong thread for sewing
  • Machine leather needle for applique
  • Snap fastener
  • Board and craft knife
  • Rubber cement
  • Cardboard - Paper - Pencil

Draw up the pattern pieces on Figure 2 to size on paper, following the solid line for the canvas pieces and the broken line for the lining pieces.

  • Cut one of pieces 1 and 2 and two of piece 3 in canvas.
  • From lining fabric, cut one of piece 1 and two of pieces 4 and 5. Cut all pieces ¼ inch larger all around to allow for seams.
  • Join the canvas 'handle and gusset' pieces at the narrow end.
  • Turn under and press the seam allowances on the canvas and lining handle, pin and stitch together.
  • Cut out and applique a design in suede on the right side of the canvas flap (the narrow end of the bag body) as for the handbag.
  • With right sides facing, sew the canvas and lining bag flaps together around the line ABCD and turn the flap right side out.
  • Fold over ¼ inch then another ¼ inch along the edge EF of the canvas bag body and stitch.

Figure 2: Pattern for Canvas Bag

Figure 2: Each Square Equals 1 Inch.
Figure 2: Each Square Equals 1 Inch. | Source

Figure 3: Stitch Pocket and Bag Body

Figure 3
Figure 3 | Source

Assembling the Canvas Handbag

  • Pin the wrong side of the bag body to the right side of the pocket, matching points E and F and stitch together along the line GH (Figure 3). The bag body lining is not included in this seam.
  • Turn over ¼ inch on the upper edge of the pocket and stitch.
  • Fold the edge of the pocket up to the line AD to determine the center bottom of the bag.
  • Pin the center of the wide end of one canvas gusset to the center bottom of the canvas bag, right sides facing, and stitch across, stopping ¼ inch from edges.
  • Sew the side of this gusset to the sides of the canvas bag and pocket, right side facing.
  • Repeat for the other side.
  • Sew in the gusset linings to the bag lining right sides together, slip the lining inside the bag, turn under all remaining raw edges of the canvas bag.

Thanks for stopping by & Happy Crafting!

© 2013 Eccentric-Lhee

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      Lorene 2 years ago

      Your post captures the issue peetcrfly!