Completed: Haute Handbag


Remember this pile of materials I dragged home from the expo? They are now my dream handbag!


This is my own pattern/design as I have scoured the world for a purse pattern that meets my needs and come up empty handed. I wanted something roughly the size of a sheet of printer paper, a few inches deep, a zipper on top, front zipper pocket, and tons of interior pockets for organization. Plus it needed to have sturdy handles just long enough to throw over my shoulder. Picky, picky.


Both the exterior and lining are linen. I fused the exterior to a very firm single-sided fusible craft interfacing to give it this much body. The sides and bottom are folded rather than separate pieces so that they are more sturdy. There is also a second piece of interfacing in the bottom so that it keeps it’s shape and doesn’t fold down at the seam line.


The front zipper pocket, which I sized perfectly for my phone, is created much like a welt pocket but instead of welt flaps it has a zipper. I used the technique from the Thurlow trousers’ back pockets to attach the lining bag so it is actually suspended from the upper edge of the purse. And of course I used those adorable zippers with the antique sewing machine and little girl.


The inside pockets are made-to-measure for all of the items I reach for most in my purse. From left to right we have Chap Stick, most-used credit card, keys, sunglasses, and pen. Since I have my new push-button start car the “key” remote just lives in my purse and never leaves so I added a little Velcro closure on the top of that pocket (see the white?) so that it doesn’t flop around. If you are a keen observer you may have noticed a “hidden” pocket in the bottom seam. This is an actual pocket to stow away items that I don’t want falling out or exposed when I open my purse at the store or when the security guys at museums and big events probe your bags for explosives and weapons. Not that I’m carrying bombs or switch blades around, but I don’t need some 300 pound security guard muscle man handling my tampons (sorry male readers!).

With all of that neatly organized I still have tons of room for my wallet and any other assorted stuff that hangs out in my purse. I often carry papers which get rumpled and mashed, specifically fabric store fliers and my personal patterns spreadsheet with pictures and yardage for each pattern I own. I have plenty of leftover fabric to create a wallet of sorts for these papers. I’m currently scouring the internet for more of these zippers so I can make it. I’ve found the pulls but not the right zippers. Please let me know if you see them anywhere!


I did a ton of hand stitching on this thing because I changed the design at the last minute. I had the top zipper already sewn to a gusset with lining but didn’t like how boxy it looked when I started to pin the gusset to the bag. I ripped the zipper off the gusset and hand stitched it directly to the top edges of the purse, folding in the sides rather than stitching across them squarely. Then I hand stitched the handles on and the lining to the zipper & folded sides to close it up. All that ripping and hand stitching left me with a slightly wavy zipper but it’s secure and works.

Wavy zipper aside, I think this purse looks like a designer handbag that’s customized for me without leaving the wallet that goes inside empty!


8 thoughts on “Completed: Haute Handbag

  1. That “perfect purse” search is what got me started making purses. 😆 Hubby got so tired of waiting for me as I pawed through every. single. purse in every. single. store in a radius of 25 miles. He finally asked me why I didn’t just make one to suit myself. Duh. Why didn’t I think of that first??? 😀 I love this bag – it’s very close to what I’ve been trying to perfect over the last few years. My tastes are a little different in shape, but this has what I want and always add: POCKETS!

  2. Pingback: Completed: wallet | Vint Hill Vintage

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