How to make a zip-up purse
Turn leftover fabric into a neat little purse. It’s quick, easy and economical, says Perri Lewis
Sometimes I just want to whip something up in half an hour, rather than slave over a project for weeks on end. So what’s the best thing to make? For me, it’s those little fabric purses that you’d pay a tenner for if you bought one from Accessorize. It puts small and otherwise useless fabric pieces to good use, and it’s a brilliant stand-by gift for a lovely lady of any age.
You’ve got plenty of variations on the standard instructions all over the interweb: this one on the CRAFT blog has a zip on the side; this one on Skip To My Lou is lined; and U Handbag’s tutorial has a rather neat travel card pouch on the side.
However, I reckon this method is the quickest and easiest. Using upholstery fabric means that your purse will be sturdier and more hardwearing than if you used cotton (although, of course, you can use whatever non-stretchy fabric you fancy), and cutting it with pinking shears means you don’t have to worry about hemming and neat seams and all that fiddly stuff. And if you’ve never had the confidence to sew in a zip before, this is a cracking little project to start off with.
What it costs
I forked out £30 for my pinking shears because I wanted to invest in a decent pair, but you can pick them up for £9.99 in Argos. A short plastic zip can be bought for about a pound if you go to a market stall, or around £2.50 from a high-street haberdashery. I used scraps of upholstery fabric, left over from some bunting I made for my mum, usingone of my last tutorials. It was originally £7 a metre from John Lewis.
What you need
Sewing machine, zipper foot and thread/needle and thread
Embellishments: buttons, sequins etc to decorate (optional)
What to do
1. Buy a zip that is as long as you want your purse to be wide, or a little longer (you can shorten a zip easily using this tutorial).
2. Cut your fabric using pinking shears. You need two pieces that are the same size. The width should be 2cm longer than the zip, and the height 2cm longer than you want the final purse to be.
3. On one piece of fabric, fold one long side over 1cm and iron the fold in place.
4. Pin one long side of the zip to the edge you just folded. The fabric should be about 2mm from the zip’s teeth.
5. Sew the zip in place (using a zipper foot if you have a machine, or using a strong needle and thread and a backstitch if you don’t).
6. Repeat steps three, four and five with the other piece of fabric. When laid flat, your purse will look like a zip with a piece of fabric sewn on either side.
7. Do the zip up. Position the purse so the right sides of the fabric are facing. Pin them together. Make sure the tops of the two pieces of fabric are aligned so the purse is nice and neat when you sew it up.
8. Sew down each side of the fabric, 1cm from the edge. Unzip the zip.
9. Sew the long bottom shut, again, 1cm from the edge.
10. Turn the purse the right way round. Use a chopstick or pencil to poke the corners out (if they don’t make a nice right angle, chop the corner off the inside seam).
11. Decorate if you fancy (and have the time).
• Perri blogs about making stuff at makeanddowithperri.wordpress.com.