How to Make Purses | Wallets | Pouches | Cases
Craft Tutorials and Sewing How-Tos
If you would like to show off your creative and crafty side, why not start making your own purses? You can still follow the fashion trends, but you can create whatever style and size that suits you, and it'll be totally unique!
There are all sorts of different styles of purse you can make including small clutch bags, coin purses, wallets, eyeglasses cases and camera pouches - In fact there is a tutorial for every requirement, taste, sewing ability level and pocket!
I hope you find the below roundup of projects useful, and I hope it inspires you to let your imagination run wild :-)
Leather Drawstring Purse
Useful Purse-Making Tools & Materials
You're only as good as your tools, so make sure you buy good quality basic tools to help you to create awesome purses!
Purse Making Intro & Tips
There are many fabrics out there which can make for a confusing choice, however if you're a beginner I would definitely recommend cotton or linen first. Nothing too thin or flimsy, unless you are doing to add interfacing to stiffen it, or batting to bulk it up. Quilt weight cotton is most common. Home décor and upholstery fabrics are often used too as they're quite sturdy and durable. Other fabrics you can use are leather (or faux leather), vinyl, canvas, silk, wool, calico or denim. You can also reuse other materials such as vintage tablecloths, or even sweaters (however watch out for sweaters as they stretch unless you felt them first in hot water). Purses are hardly ever made with stretch fabric so don't make life difficult for yourself by choosing a stretchy material!
- For linings, a thinner material than the outside is used and it is often smooth and slippery such as polyester or nylon. Cotton is also a popular choice, especially if you want the lining to be patterned. Fabrics made specifically for lining will be labelled as such, and if it's polyester then try to go for an anti-static option.
- There are various fastenings and closures you can use for purses, with the most common being zippers, button flaps, velcro and magnetic snaps.
- Interfacing (also called interlining or stabilizer) is used to firm up the walls of your purses, making them stiffer without completely losing flexibility. For instance if you are using thin cotton and it's too flimsy for you, then you can add interfacing to the inside of the fabric, and perhaps a lining too (in order to hide the interfacing on the inside). Or maybe you want a purse to stand upright when put down? Interfacing is not usually necessary for small purses but is more more often used for larger designs. The important thing is to not fear it because it is an extra stage in the project and because you may not have heard of it before.
There are different 'weights' of interfacing (lightweight to extra heavyweight), and the heavier the 'weight', the stiffer the resulting fabric will be. Medium-lightweight is usually enough for a purse project, but it's a useful product so I would suggest experimenting first before you use it in a final project. Interfacing is available as either 'fusible' (also called 'iron-on'), or 'sew-in'. The fusible type is ironed directly onto your purse fabric so that it sticks, and you should use a fusible interfacing that is a lighter weight than your purse fabric. On the other hand, the sew-in type can be a higher weight than your purse fabric and is often used with the fusible type.
- Wadding/batting is a material used in a similar way to interfacing but is there to add bulk rather than stiffness. You will find it used in quilted bags, and it is basically a cushioning layer you add to the inside of your purse fabric (and is also good for handles/straps). Wadding is also available as either fusible/iron-on or sew-in.
Tutorials List - A Varied Selection to Get You Started
- Make-Up Pouch
Useful boxy purse.
- Zippered Wristlet
Cute purse with wrist strap.
- Water Bottle Carrier
With quilted exterior.
- Pinch Pouch
A purse with a flex frame top; perfect for your sunglasses.
- Quilted Fabric Wallets
With a smart professional finish.
- Change Purse
With a zipper.
- Receipt Wallet
Made from cleanable, waterproof oilcloth.
- Purse Organizer
Keep your things neat and tidy in your handbag.
- Zippered Wallet
With separate coin compartment.
- Handmade Bunny Purse
Adorable rabbit face purse with a strap.
Recycled Fabric Pouch
More Sewing How-Tos
- Piggy Bank Purse
Adorable and unusual purse shape.
- Mini Wallet
In an envelope style.
- Lip Balm Cozy
So you won't lost another one!
- Triangular Prism Purse
Sturdy cosmetics container.
- Stripey Pen Case
With squishy felt sides.
- Super Simple Camera Case
Quilted, with bias tape edges.
- Felted Camera Case
Made by knitting simple rectangles - but you could use an old sweater instead.
- Reversible Purse
To be carried on the wrist.
- Drawstring Pouches
Great for a storage and a travel solution.
Duct Tape Purses
Wallet Making Video Tutorials
Purse Tutorials Galore!
- Framed Purse
Fab tute on how to add metal frames.
- Zippered Pouch with Pocket
And clear plastic section.
- Loop Handle Purse
With pleats and a metal handle.
- Pleated & Darted Silk Purse
Pretty purse with wooden handles.
- Wristlet Clutch Purse
With added ruffle embellishment, snap and eyelet.
- Linen Tissue Case
Made from yummy fabric.
- Mini Wallet
Made from some cute Japanese fabric.
- Summer Wallet
With button closure.
- Pop Bottle Purse
Recycle plastic bottles into a fun coin purse.
- Clutch Purse
Wth button closure.
Cute Felt Purses
Purse Making Video Tutorials
Another Tutorial List
- Open Pocket Pouch
Ideal for packed lunches.
- Zippered Flat Purse
Lined case with a zip.
- Single Pleat Clutch
Straightforward slimline purse with a pleat in the center.
- Sketch Wallet
To keep your pencils organised with your sketchbook when travelling.
- Reusable Snack Bag
Perfect for keeping your dry snack in.
- Oilcloth Makeup Pouches
Oilcloth is very useful if you want a wipe-clean surface.
- Mini Keyring Pouch
Perfect size to hold your lippy in!
- Bleach Dot Clutch
Envelope style purse with a bleach dyed pattern.
- Kitty Pencil Case
A sweet design for cat lovers.
Pleated & Framed Purse
More Purse/Wallet/Pouch How-Tos
- Patchwork Purse
Pretty case with zip.
- Ms. Lipsie Pocket Girl
A purse with a girl's face design.
- Clasp Frame Purse
Classy rectangular template.
- Japanese Coin Purse
With a clasp top.
- Zipped Purse
In polkadot material.
- Hip Pocket Purse
With little tassels and a cord strap.
- Quilted Pouch
Perfect for keeping your (sun)glasses in.
Polka Dot Wallet
A Further Tutorials List
- Puffy Pouch
With fabric stripes.
- Purse Pouch
In Cath Kidston fabric.
- Laptop Sleeve
Quilted for protection.
- Ipod / Camera Cozy
Quilted, with a simple flap top.
- Phone / Camera Cozy
Quick 'n' easy case.
- Patchwork Pouch
Easy zippered purse.
- Cylindrical Pencil Cases
With piping around the edges.
- Triangular Pouch
Little linen and cotton purses.
- Heart Shaped Pouches
Learn how to insert a zipper on a curved shape.
- Manly Wallet
With a cool metal eyelet feature.
- Necktie Glasses Case
Easy-to-sew pouch from an old tie.
There are many different pleating patterns you can try to incorporate into purses if you want to add an interesting design accent; including box pleats, pintucks and diagonal pleats. The above diagram shows 3 different ideas to get you started; I've tried to show how the pleats in each picture are formed and what they look like both from the top and from the front.
1) This is a pleating design where the middle section is furthest forward. The vertical line on the diagram represents how much of the pleats are pressed with an iron; not usually more than 1/3 of the way down the purse. A lot of the time you will see bags and purses that have the pleats formed and sewn in place at the top and not at the bottom so that the pleats disappear as they go down to the base, giving a flared effect.
2) This is a repeating pleat pattern, with the back-and-forth folding being the same going across the top. Again, this one is only sewn at the top, with a short amount of the pleats being iron pressed, so that the pleats disappear about midway. The pressed section of the pleat folds can also be sewn if you want to keep them in place permanently.
3) This is an all-over pattern of parallel pintucks. The thin pleats are folded and pressed all of the way down, and therefore they must be secured with stitches at the top and the bottom. You can also sew vertically along each pleat too if you like, especially if the surface you are pleating is large.
You can be creative with pleating so don't be afraid to experiment :)
Scrappy Phone Case
Even More Instructionals
- Craftster Collection
Huge number of purse tutorials from forum users.
- House Pouch
Fun design with button embellishments.
- Organiser Wallet
- Gathered Clutch Tutorial
Stylish creased design.
- Cord Wallet
With card and zip compartments.
- Recycled Sandwich Bag
Made from khaki pant pockets.
- Make-Up Pouches
Handy for general use.
- Lil Cutie Pouches
In fun fabrics.
- Keyboard Wallets
Made using a computer keyboard.
- Zippy Wallet
Fab everyday purse.
- Scrap Ribbon Wallet
Funky clutch wallet.
- Zakka Inspired Pencil Pouch
With cute car embellishment.
- Vinyl Wallet
See through sections keep you organised.
Pocket House Purse
D12 Dice Handbag
Pretty Purse Projects
- 5 Handbag Accessories
A set of pouches for eyeglasses, tissues aand more.
- iPod Clutch & More
A variety of purse, pouch and bag how-tos.
- 3D Padded Pear
Really unusual and cute pear coin purse.
- Hip Pouch Sew-Along
A 3-part walkthrough for making a zippered pouch.
- Simple Foldover Clutch
Cute, functional and really easy to make.
- Pencil Pouch
Classic pencil designs with a zipper. Perfect for school or college.
- Wool Camera Wrap
Beautiful camera case made using wool blanket fabric.
- DIY Geometric Pouch
Make your own funky fabric with fabric marker pens.
- Upcycled Menswear Pouch
Use quality thrift store jackets to make luxury pouches.
Purse Projects to Impress
- Craft Passion Collection
A list of awesome purse tutorials including macaron shapes and pencil cases.
- Kiwi Wristlet
A summery and fresh purse in a novelty shape.
- Double Flap Pouch
With clever compartments isnide.
- Sophisticated Bow Clutch
Simple and stylish clutch purse with bow embellishment.
- Tartan Wool Purse
With silver chain embellishment.
- Rotary Phone Purse
Retro vinyl handbag making great use of real phone parts.
- Textured Leather Clutch
Clever sewing technique for making stripe accents.