How to Make Homemade Handbags

Written by deborah harding
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How to Make Homemade Handbags
Rectangular fabric place mats make great homemade purses. (green and red mat image by OMKAR A.V from

Patterns for making homemade handbags are many and include those made of leather, fabric and yarn. Most require a sewing machine and a bit of sewing skill. There is an easier way to crate homemade handbags that reflect personality and style. Use place mats that come in a wide variety of colours and fabrics and are so simple to make, even a beginner that knows just a little bit about sewing can make them.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Pins
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Place mat
  • 1 yard of lining fabric
  • Pencil
  • Purse handles
  • Magnetised snap enclosure
  • Decorative trim

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  1. 1

    Cut lining material that same size as the place mat by laying it on top and pining it down in several places. Cut with scissors around the place mat.

  2. 2

    Lay the place mat right side up on a table. Lay the lining right side down on top. The right sides of each fabric should face each other. Pin around the edges and stitch with sewing machine around 3/4 inches from the edge. Leave a 1-1/2-inch opening at one side.

  3. 3

    Pull the handbag right side out through the opening. Poke corners out by inserting a pencil, then press flat with an iron.

  4. 4

    Fold handbag in half with right sides together. Lining will be on the outside. Pin sides together and stitch sides 1/2-inch from the edge. Turn right side out and press.

  5. 5

    Purchase handles at a craft store and attach them per their instructions.

  1. 1

    Follow steps 1 and 2 for satchel handbag.

  2. 2

    Fold the mat in thirds, with lining on inside, by folding bottom a little further than the middle. Pin sides together.

  3. 3

    Hand sew the sides with a whipstitch from bottom to the fold for upper flap. (ref 3) A Whipstitch is made by inserting needle in front and coming out back, then bringing the needle back to the front and inserting again.

  4. 4

    Fold the top flap down.

  5. 5

    Secure flap with magnetised purse snap, hand sewn on per package instructions.

Tips and warnings

  • Decorate with lace, cording, buttons and other decorative trim. Place a layer of stiff iron on interfacing to make the handbag stiffer or purchase a stiff place mat that is still able to bend. Use fabric cut to the same size as a place mat if no suitable place mat is found. Make handles by sewing on belting and making sure to centre the handbag properly.
  • When using a machine, always back stitch when beginning to sew a line and at the end. This makes the stitching much stronger and less likely to break.

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