Framed Purse Tutorial…

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Welcome to my first “share it Saturday” post, where I will endeavour to share my knowledge on something sewing/quilting related with you…

By far the most requested tutorial I’ve had recently has been for a framed purse tutorial so that is where we will start.

Ingredients required:

**  1 purse frame of the glue-in variety
**  A scrap of paper/card at least size A4 in size
**  1 fat 1/4 or fat 1/8th fabric for the outside (it depends how big your frame is)
**  1 fat 1/4 or fat 1/8th fabric for the lining
**  1 fat 1/4 or fat 1/8th of iron on pellon/fleece/felt or wadding.
{Special note: don’t get too carried away worrying about whether you have the “right” stuff for this – just use what you have! The main purpose is to give the fabric a bit of bulk and stability.}
**  1 tube of glue (obviously you won’t use all of it). I use “u-hu” but I’ll talk more about glue in a minute.
Please read through this tutorial in it’s entirety prior to starting.
{I should also note here that in this tutorial I don’t go into details of how to make “boxed corners” which I’ve used on all my purses. So if you are unsure how to make those I would probably recommend you round the corners of your template so that it is less pointy looking. 
(Or if you want them you could always buy either my zipper pouch or all-in-one bag pattern where I give full details on how to make them 😉 }

Step 1: Making your template…

This step is why there are few patterns available for purse frames – because frames differ so much and each style requires a different template. Once you have a few under your belt though you’ll work out what style you like and be able to make a template to suit. It’s quite liberating once  you get over the initial fear…
1. Take your piece of scrap paper and fold it into half widthways then place your purse frame so that the clasp is centred on the fold.
2. Draw around the top of the frame end to end, also marking where the end of the frame and the end of the hinges each are.
Draw around it again on the outside of the line using a distance of whatever seem allowance you will use. I use 1/4 of an inch.
Using your ruler draw a line out from outside line at your desired angle to the length you would like the pouch to finish…
Lets break for a minute to talk about angles, as this is the area I struggled and panicked the most when first trying it.
The main thing that you need to know is that the “bigger” your angle, the more “poofy” your purse will end up.
Here are a few examples to help you out…
See the difference the wider angle makes?
Here’s another example of the template I used on the smaller enamel frames and using a slight angle again.
I personally find the more slight angle suits me better. I like the look of it better as well as I find them slightly less fiddly to glue into the frame.
however, now you should be able to pick which look you like better and hopefully know how much of an angle to draw.
Ok back to our template making:
3. Fold your template in half on the fold and cut out around the outer line you just drew.
Great, you’ve just made your pattern. Nice job!

Step 2: Preparing your fabric…

Using the template you just made, cut out 2 pieces for your outer purse, 2 pieces for the lining and 2 pieces of the iron on pellon/fleece.
Following the manufacturers instructions, attach the iron on wadding to the wrong side of your outer purse fabric.
Transfer the marks showing where your hinges finish off your pattern piece and on to one piece of our outer purse and one piece of your lining. These will become your sewing start and finish marks.

Step 3: Sewing the layers together…

Lets pause for a minute to talk about the hinge indicator marks that we made on our pattern. These form our beginning and ending sew lines…I like to make my marks and start/stop sewing exactly where the hinges end. This is where my instructions differ from the several other tutorials I’ve read on how to sew a purse frame before and where most of my frustration with my first attempts lied.
Because in those tutorials they instructed me to make my marks 1/4 inch below where the hinge stopped. For some reason I find that this leaves an unslightly and unnecessarily large gap once the purse frame is all glued together. It took me a lot of playing around and experimentation to find out what affected what, but I definitely like the results better when I don’t leave that 1/4 inch gap.
I’ll show you what I mean:

In the photo above the top purse had the start/stop sew marks 1/4 inch below where the hinges stopped and the bottom one had them level with the end of the frame rather than the hinge.
See how much difference it makes?
So use your discretion but I prefer to have less of a gap. Some of the gaps in my purses before I realised this were waaaaay too big and I was not happy at all.

Anyway, back to it…

Take your two pieces of outer purse fabric and place them right sides together.

Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance and beginning at the hinge indicator mark to the right hand side of your purse, sew around your purse until you get to the other mark.
So you should be leaving what will the top of your purse unsewn.
Repeat for your lining pieces.
Box off your corners if necessary…
Turn your outer purse piece in the other way so that the right sides are facing out.
Push it inside the lining piece so that the right sides are facing inwards…
Pin the layers together…
Not all four at once (just in case that’s unclear from my photo) but just two layers at once – the lining and outer bag, then the other side of the lining and outer bag.

Starting at the top edge of your purse, sew together the lining and outer bag layers. Go the entire way around the tops of the bag, but leave about a 3 inch gap for turning…

Go slowly when you get to the join part because you must make sure that you stitch in far enough so that there isn’t a whole when you turn the bag, but you don’t want to stitch in too far because this again affects that gap I was talking about above.
It’s a little awkward at that point. I usually find it easiest to sew down then stop, put my presser foot up and swivel that bag a little.

It should look like this once you’ve sewn round it.

Pull your bag in the right way through the turning hole you left.
Press the seams on the turning hole under ready for sewing.

Stitch the hole closed 1/8th inch from the edge or as close as you can get to the edge.
{Because you don’t want to see your stitches later if you leave too much of a gap.}

Step 4: Gluing it all together…

Ahh the fun part… seeing it all come together!
Lets talk glue for a minute…
I use U-HU glue to stick mine together. I know other people who use different glues to that but that’s the only type I’ve ever used. It’s just what was sent to me when I ordered the “special” glue from the purse frame supplier but in actual fact you can buy it at any hardware store and most stationary stores.

I’ve used both the all purpose and the “power” one
and they both work fine!

I was a bit let down at first when I got delivered U-HU all purpose glue, because I was expecting more of a “specialty” product. But then I kicked myself because on days like today when I run out of glue in the middle of making my tutorial, it’s super handy being able to run down the road and pick up some more, rather than have to order it from a specialty online store and wait forever for the mail.

I find it works really well. It comes off the metal frames really easily if you are a bit too generous.
The only thing is that the coloured enamel frames I used didn’t like it particularly much. It didn’t scratch off those too easily and on some of them it made the colour run. I am assuming that all glues will do the same to them. So if you happen to have those they be veeeeery careful not to use too much.

Ok, back to the project at hand.

Take your purse frame and dab small dots of glue the entire way along one side of it.
Be sparing! Seriously, you really don’t need much. Otherwise it will ooze when you push  your fabric in and you will have a bit of a mess on your hands.

Now you get to push your purse piece into it. I find it easiest to start at one end and work to the other.
Use your scissors, a skewer or something else equally as pointy to push all that fabric right up snug into the frame…

Word to the wise – make sure you check you are gluing the right side of your purse to the right side of the frame… yes stupidly I’ve made that mistake before and had to pull it quickly back out again to save from disaster – doh!

This is the hardest part – once you have glued that first side leave it alone for a good 15-30 minutes minimum.
As tempting as it is to race on and glue the other side straight away so that you can finish it, don’t do it…
Go make yourself a cup of tea or something!

Then when it’s had a decent amount time to cure a bit, go back and glue the other side…

Wallah… you are done – you’ve made a professionally finished purse frame.

Nicely done you!!

I hope you have enjoyed that share it Saturday!
Next week we will look at how to do a basic applique.

As always, if you use my tutorial I’d love to hear about (and see) your results 🙂

 

 

41 COMMENTS

  1. You should be a teacher! What great instructions. I would love to enter your give-away but I’m in New Orleans and wasn’t sure if you’d mail to the USA. Love your blog and so glad you were able to get moved back home close to your family.

  2. OK…I’ve spent A WEEK reading a zillion online tutorials about this purse frame business and I could not visualize how it all came together – thanks to your post I finally get it. So clear, great photos. Thanks!

  3. Why did u order your coin purse frames from ? Saw this question alot but never an answer I have been looking for a coin purse for years that I like and not 15.00

  4. Your tutorials are really excellent. I had a go at a metal frame purse, but there was too much fabric to poke into the frame…and it was a failure. So I put it all away to try again another day. Now that I found your tutorials, I think I will have a go at it again. Thanks!

  5. Thank you SO MUCH for this great tutorial ! You are a natural teacher indeed – feeling quite confident now to venture into little purse making. Just perfect for all these wonderful fabric scraps languishing in my sewing room. x

  6. Your tutorial was the best I’ve found as I couldn’t find a pattern to match the square frames I have! Excellent step by step thank you 😀 x

  7. Thanks Kat for your fantastic, easy to follow instructions! I didn’t realize how quickly this would be to put together!

  8. I found your tutorial very easy to follow and successfully made my first coin purse in under 2 hours.
    I was going to post pictures, but I am not sure how!

  9. Hi there, Just wanted to let you know that I love your tutorial. I’ve been dying to try making purse frames and I’ve been searching for a good tutorial and this is it. I will get myself some Uhu glue and go to it.

  10. Thank you so much for your wonderful tutorial. What seemed daunting a couple of days ago now seems like a whole new opportunity for presents for friends this christmas. Your teaching style is amazing.

  11. Great tutorial! Too bad I messed it up anyway! LOL Note to self–follow your seam allowances so that you don’t end up with a tiny pouch that will not fit in the frame. 😉 Thanks for sharing your knowledge and time!

  12. Thank you for putting this out there. I have to say you make it look easy. One quick question, what was over all dimensions of the pattern you sketched out? I know I can customize my pattern to my frames and adjust it to whatever I want. I just want an idea of the overall pattern size so I don’t cut too short and with seams etc get a undersized purse. Your coin purses look perfect and I would want to approximate the same size, ratio etc. Thanks again

  13. Really clear instructions, i was never brave enough to try one of these but I think I’ll have a go now. I also am inspired by the fabrics you combine together like the example in your tutorial. Thanks Kat

  14. Fabulous and straightforward instructions, especially things like gettng the angle right and the gap, I bought a ‘kit’ the other day and it turned out wonky and not brill (and it was a sew in frame), but will get some glue in ones and also love the chat about glue too many thanks

  15. This is just what I was looking for! Can this be done with regular felt (sewing it onto the fabric instead of iron on ) ? I don’t have plenty of regular felt playing around tonight preferred to use it up.

  16. Thanks for he beat job on tutorial. I have seen a few but until I saw your official did I decide to work on my purse thanks again for the great job. Look forward to other guys. From you.

  17. Hi Kat,

    I really would like to know where I could purchase the coloured coin purse frames.
    It would be so good to be able to purchase them.
    Thank you so much for the directions on how to create the coin purse.
    I await your reply, and thank you in anticipation.
    regards
    Faye

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