Saturday 23 August 2008

Soft Heart Purse Tutorial

I had a lot of fun making this purse for my friend Jackie, for her birthday. Purple is her favourite colour, and I had this lovely soft purple corduroy in my fabric stash which was ideal to use. This purse/pouch is just the right size for small items of make-up or an MP3 player or any other small items you want to keep together, as it's a bit bigger than you'd usually find for a coin purse. I've used the zip-insertion method I've used here for internal pockets in bags, but not quite like this before. This is also the first time i've made a purse shaped like anything other than a rectangle, so I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, given it was a first attempt. I hope you find these instructions useful and easy enough to follow, to go ahead and make your own. However if you get stuck on anything, just leave a comment and i'll try to help!

It is advisable to read through all these instructions fully before you plan your own project - this way you will know what to expect right at the beginning, and hopefully your sewing will go smoothly.

For a heart purse measuring approx. 12cm high, 15cm wide, you will need:

  • paper heart templates and letter(s) printed out and enlarged to desired size. I don't provide the letters here, so open a new Word document (or whatever word processing program you use), type the letter(s) you want and then experiment with different fonts. Alternatively, you can draw your own letter from scratch. Or cut one out from text on a cereal packet or a magazine etc.

  • outer fabric (I used cotton corduroy), 2 pieces about 20cm x 16cm

  • lining fabric (I used polyester lining fabric), 2 pieces same size as outer fabric

  • felt in two colours (I used pink and lilac felt), heart piece 9cm x 8cm, the size of the letter piece will depend on the letter used. You could use woven or other fabric in place of felt if you wish, but bear in mind that these could fray if you don't finish the edges in some way. Should be fine if you edge with ric-rac or ribbon etc as shown in this tutorial.

  • Vilene, the iron-on type, either heavyweight or mediumweight (or both), 4 pieces 20cm x 16cm. Note: if you use Vilene, your purse will be more sturdy and will feel more substantial, however if you prefer, you don't need to use it. If you do use it, match the weight of the Vilene to the fabric you're ironing to, because you want the Vilene to give adequate support and strength to the fabric, but not so much that it makes it oddly stiff, and/or cause the fabric to take on an unsightly rippled, 'cockled' appearance. I used heavyweight Vilene for the outer fabric and mediumweight vilene for the polyester lining fabric. If you're not sure which to use, iron a small piece of vilene of a small swatch of fabric to test it.

  • Bondaweb, same size as felt applique pieces

  • zip, up to 16cm long, but you can use a shorter one. Remember you can shorten a long nylon zip if that's all you've got. Read Lisa Lam's instructions on her Handblog site on how to do this: handblog intructions on shortening a zip

  • ric-rac

  • cottons in colours to match your fabrics

  • embroidery silks/floss for the embroidery on the applique

  • sewing machine with normal and zipper feet

  • pen, pencil, ruler, and tailor's chalk if not using Vilene

  • embroidery needle

  • scissors

  • pinking shears, if you have them

The Patterns - click on the image below, this will take you to the A4 size picture which you can then print onto A4 paper and it should be the right size. Hopefully... After printing, cut the hearts out around the solid black line.

Step 1: preparing the fabric

You'll need the outer and lining fabrics and Vilene.

Start by drawing around the large heart template onto the non-glossy side of the vilene. If you don't want to use vilene, draw around the template directly onto the wrong side of the fabric with a pencil or tailor's chalk.

Cut around the vilene hearts, leaving a margin of around 1cm all around.

Iron the Vilene hearts to the wrong side of the outer and lining fabrics.

Cut out the heart shapes on the pencil line. You will notice that the Vilene helps to stop the fabric from fraying, as well as giving the fabric a nice weighty feel.

Repeat this for all 4 pieces of fabric...

Step 2: making the zip opening and inserting the zip
First, measure the length of your zip teeth (shown by the blue line under the zip in the picture below - from the end of the zip pull to the metal tack on the other end of the teeth). This is how long the opening for the zip will be.

Place one lining piece and one outer fabric piece right sides together, so that the wrong side of the lining piece is facing up, as in the picture below.

Draw a rectangle on the back of the lining piece as shown in the picture with a blue box. This needs to be the same length as your zip's teeth which you measured before, by about 1cm - it needs to be just a tiny bit wider than your zip.

As in the picture, draw a line along the middle of the rectangle, ending in two v-shapes. This will be your cutting line. But don't cut anything just yet! Pin the two fabric pieces together along the rectangle as shown. Then stitch on your machine with a straight stitch, on the rectangle you've drawn, unpinning as you go (be careful not to let your machine bash any pins). You should end up with something that looks like this, in the picture below.

Now this is the best bit! You need to cut along the central pencil line, through both layers of fabric. At the ends where the V shapes are, you will need to be ultra-careful not to cut the stitches in the corners! You should end up with a nice long 'slot', as shown in the picture below. Now take the lining fabric and pull it through the slot, all the way so that outer fabric and lining are facing right-sides out. Smooth the lining down, then press it with a medium-hot iron. You will find that it creases a bit at the ends of the slot, so take it steady and carefully press the creases out as much as possible. What you then have is a nicely finished, neat opening to which you'll sew the zip!

Now pin the zip to the back of the slot, so the zipper and teeth can be seen through the slot, as shown in the picture below. Make sure the zip is nicely central in the slot - you may have to spend a little careful time to ensure its lined up properly. Don't rush this, take your time and pin every bit of the zip as shown below.

Then with the zipper foot attached to your machine, place the fabric under the needle, outer fabric facing upwards, and sew around the opening, about 4mm from the edge of the opening and unpinning as you go. You'll be sewing through both layers of fabric and the zip behind, as shown below (actually I cheated with this picture a bit, I'd forgotten to take the photo so here you see the zip already sewn in). You've now completed the 'back' of the purse.

Step 3: sewing the lining pieces together
Place the back piece with the zip, lining face-up. Then place the other lining piece on top, right-side down. Pin just the two lining pieces together, around the top of the heart but not the bottom. This is so that you can turn the purse right-sides out later on.

Then sew the lining pieces together with a 1 cm seam allowance, unpinning as you go. It's a good idea, I found, to use your zipper foot to do this, because there's very little space near the ends of the zip opening to maneouvre the foot around. Look at the picture below for an idea of how I did it. It was tricky, so I had to take my time.

Step 4: applying and embellishing the applique
Trace the small heart shape onto the Bondaweb with a pencil, and cut out, leaving a small margin around the shape. Then iron the Bondaweb shape onto the felt for the applique and cut out along the pencil line. Then peel the paper backing off, place the applique Bondaweb side-down onto right side of the other outer fabric heart, (carefully position it to where you want it to be because there's no going back once you've ironed it!) and iron on (following instructions on the Bondaweb packet). Repeat this for the letter you've chosen. Remember to trace your letter onto the Bondaweb in reverse if applicable, otherwise your letter will turn out back-to-front! You should end up with something like the picture below.

Now, it's time to embellish your applique in whatever way you choose. I decided to sew ric-rac around the edge of the heart, so I carefully pinned the ric-rac around the edge then slowly sewed on with my machine. You could hand-sew the ric-rac on if you wished.

I also chose to use a variety of embroidery stitches to decorate the heart; daisy chain-stitch flowers; french knots on and around the letter J and for the flower centres; and backstitch very close to the edge of the letter to emphasise it's shape.

This is what the finished embroidery looked like:

Step 5: sewing the outer pieces together
With the wrong sides of the outer pieces facing out, pin all round the edge. Then with a normal straight stitch and a zipper foot attached, sew the two outer pieces together, carefully avoiding catching the lining fabric. This is where the zipper foot comes in handy, because at some sections, you won't have a lot of room to maneouvre. When you've sewn all round, use the pinking shears to clip the seams to reduce bulk, being careful to not cut any stitches! If you don't have pinking shears, just use your usual scissors, it doesn't matter, but I find that pinking shears remove a bit more fabric and therefore you get a flatter seam. And I find its quicker than cutting V-shaped notches all round.

Step 6: sewing up the gap in the lining

Turn the purse right-sides out, so that you have the lining sticking out of the zipped opening. Now carefully pin the gap in the lining, turning the edge in so that you have a seam allowance of about 1 cm. Then sew the gap up, unpinning as you go.

Your sewn-up lining should look something like this, but i'm sure yours will be a lot neater! I'm not setting a great example here, am I? But anyway, it was securely sewn-up ...

Tuck the lining back into the purse, give it all a quick press if it needs it, and there you have it! below you can see inside the purse, you see there's plenty of room for all sorts of bits and bobs in there!

I hope you've had fun in making this purse! If you do make one, i'd be really keen to see it, so please leave a comment if you have.

Cheers for reading!

Joey x

1 comment:

  1. oh a nicely detailed tutorial! I really hate sewing zippers and welt pockets, incredibly impatient on those! Anyhow please be sure to check out my blog today ;)


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