Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gathered Flower Leather Purse

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Remember last month when I didn't get my purse done in time for Purse Week at A Lemon Squeezy Home? I still promised you guys a tutorial. In case you missed me guest posting at Ucreate where I posted the tutorial, here it is now - the gathered flower leather purse. Just to show you a better idea of the size, here's me holding it. I love the bold, turquoise color. My camera is not the best and my sewing room is in the basement (which means bad lighting), so the color doesn't quite come through in these pictures.

It's a big, spacious bag with a side pocket to hold those items you don't want to dig around for (i.e. cell phone, keys, etc.).
Let's get started.

Materials needed:
- Bag pattern piece (click to download)
- Leather ** (1 1/2 yds cotton or vinyl)
- 1 yd lining fabric
- 1 yd fusible interfacing
- Sew-on or magnetic snap
- 2 D-rings (1 1/4")
- Coordinating thread
- Upholstery thread
- Leather sewing machine needle (Not necessary but I recommend it for leather/vinyl)

* All seams 1/4" unless otherwise noted.

** If you don't want to use leather, you may use cotton, since I explain how to use either in this tutorial. Leather doesn't fray. You can also use vinyl instead, which is sold by the yard. I wanted a brighter color than what was offered in vinyl, so I went to Beck Leather and Crafts and bought a remnant piece (with a 40% off coupon). Leather is sold in hides, so take your pattern piece with you to make sure the piece you like will work. You could also check your local thrift store for a leather jacket and cut that up.

1. Print the bag pattern piece. Place the edge on the fold and cut out two pieces of your exterior fabric. So when you unfold the fabric, you'll get your piece. Cut out two pieces from your interior fabric and fusible interfacing as well. To make my fabric go further, I folded it like so before cutting. You'll also want to cut:
- (2) 1" x 20" pieces from leather or vinyl for the strap. OR if using cotton, cut (1) 2 1/2" x 20" piece.
- (2) 6" x 12" pocket piece: 1 from exterior, 1 from lining
- (2) 2" x 1 1/4" pieces leather/vinyl for loops or (2) 2" x 3" pieces cotton

2. Iron fusible interfacing to the two lining bag pieces and pocket piece. If using cotton, also iron to strap piece.

3. We are going to start with the rosette (Layer 1). I used cotton for mine because I didn't have enough leather, and it's easier to gather into a tight flower. Cut a 3 1/4" strip. If you want your whole flower in leather/vinyl, cut a 1 1/4" strip and proceed to below, "Cut a piece of upholstery thread...".

Fold RST (right sides together) lengthwise and sew along the short raw ends and long raw edge, but leave about a 10" opening in the middle of the long raw edge. Clip the corners and turn right-side out. Press.

Cut a piece of upholstery thread about 10" longer than the strip. Zig-zag stitch over it on the same edge as your seam, like so. Now hold both ends of the upholstery thread and slide the fabric along it to gather. Use a needle and thread and handstitch the layers together as you roll the rosette to hold it together. You should end up with this.
4. For the rest of the flower I alternated fabric***, so we will need to cut:
- 2" x 19" piece leather/vinyl OR 4 1/2" x 19" cotton (Layer 2)
- 3" x 40" piece leather/vinyl OR 6 1/4" strip cotton (Layer 3)
- 3" x 38" piece leather/vinyl OR 6 1/2" strip cotton (Layer 4)

***If you are using the same fabric for the entire flower, cut (3) 3" x 40" pieces leather/vinyl OR (3) 6 1/4" strips cotton, and sew short ends together to create one really long strip.

Repeat the process in step 3 to gather. I recommend pinning all 4 layers to get an idea of where you want them on the bag, then pin one layer at a time, starting with layer 4, to one of your exterior bag pieces and stitch down. Layers 4 and 3 are shown below. Handstitch the rosette (layer 1) to the bag piece.
5. Sew both exterior bag pieces RST along the side and bottom edges. Turn inside out and set aside.

6. Grab your two pocket pieces and sew RST, leaving about a 4-5" opening. Clip corners and turn inside out. Press. Position on top of one of your lining pieces and stitch down along sides and bottom.
7. Position one piece of your snap on one side of the lining and sew on. Then position the other piece of the snap in the same spot on the other lining piece.
8. Sew lining pieces RST along sides and bottom, but leave about a 12" opening in the bottom and set aside.
9. Edgestitch the (2) loop pieces.
Loop a D-ring over one piece and pin to the top, side of the exterior bag, lining up raw edges and centering. Repeat on the other side.
10. Place the exterior bag inside the interior so they are RST. Line up all the seams and raw edges. Pin in place. Sew along the top of the bag. Turn inside out through the opening of the lining. Topstitch along the top of the bag.

11.Sew the opening in the lining shut. You can use a blindstitch, but I just used my machine because it's faster and no one is going to see the inside of the bottom of my purse.

12. Last we need to make our strap. Take the two strap pieces and edgestitch WST (wrong sides together) along long edges if using leather/vinyl. If using cotton, fold RST lengthwise and sew along short raw edges and the long edge, but leave an opening to turn out. Clip corners and turn inside out. Blindstitch the opening shut, then press with seam in the center of the strap. Topstitch along the long sides.

13. Fold one end of the strap through the D-ring and stitch down to the underside of the strap. Repeat on the other end and you are done!!!


  1. The purse is adorable, but I could never pull it off. I'd love to try a really neutral toned one and see if it still pops. Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. LOVE! I always like a fun and big purse and this definitley darn cute!

  3. Thank you soooo much for the great tutorial! I just made one out of leather and LOVE,LOVE it! So much so that I am starting another out of fabric!. I have been looking for a tutorial for just this kind of bag! And so simple it only took me abt. 4 hrs to make. Thanks again!


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