Today’s National Sewing Month Project is brought to you by Deby Coles from So Sew Easy.
I’m a sucker for shiny bag hardware. Any time I see something new, my mind starts to turn over with the possibilities for how to use it and this unusual little piece was no exception. It’s called an expandable gate-fold purse frame and lends itself perfectly to making a cute little round bag. I started out by making one for the little daughter of a friend, decorated it with lace and ric-rac, and it was so pretty. When we asked what she was going to keep in her little bag, she replied “All my sweeties” and so the name “Such a Sweetie” bag came about. It truly is a sweetie too, and looks great as an evening bag, fabulous in a sequin, beaded or embroidered fabric too. Make one in a luxurious silk with hand beading perhaps?
I’ll be delighted to show you how to make one using a basic cotton then you can go wild with your own designs and fabrics.
Materials for the Such a Sweetie Gate-Fold Bag pattern
- 1 fat quarter of fabric in total, or mix and match smaller pieces
- Light-weight interfacing
- Plastic canvas 11 x 4 inches
- 4.5 inch expandable gate-fold purse frame
- Silver-tone chain with clips
- Little beads/pearls of your choice
- Optional – trim or lace of your choice
- Optional – invisible thread
How to sew your Such a Sweetie Bag
Apply a light-weight interfacing to the two circular pieces, and the lower section on the outer and the lining of the bag. The circular template is designed so the outer circle is the bottom of the outside of the bag and the inner circle in the bottom of the lining.
Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance and with right sides together, sew the three rectangular pieces together along the long sides, with the piece without interfacing in the middle. If you are using a fabric with a directional print, the top of the print should both face inwards towards the center. Press seams towards the center piece.
You can decide to use 1, 2 or 3 different fabrics, depending on the look you are going for.
Top stitch on the center piece, close to both seam lines, and catching the seam allowances on the underneath side.
If you want to add any embellishment, beading, embroidery, lace or trims to your bag, add these now. I added a beaded trim and sewed it with a zipper foot and a zig-zag stitch. If you are using something with beads then take care to stop them before your seam allowance or you could break your needle when sewing the seam later.
Make sure you are sewing any embellishments on the outside of the bag. The slightly larger of the two outside panels is the outside of the bag.
Now sew the three pieces together to make a tube, with right sides together. Sew with a 1/4 inch seam. IMPORTANT – leave a gap unsewn in the lower lining section for 3 inches, to turn the bag right side out later. Press the seam open.
Using plenty of pins, fit the circular base into the bottom of the tube, matching right sides together. Match the bottom of the bag with the slightly larger of the outer pieces that will form the outside of the bag.
Carefully sew around the circle with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, avoiding little puckers and gathers as best you can. Take it nice and slow.
Repeat the same at the other end of the tube for the lining base. The lining base is cut a little smaller, so ease the two together. If you have to add a little gathering or pleats to the base of the lining to get it to fit the circle, that’s OK. The inside of the bag is always going to be smaller than the outside, or we’ll get too much loose fabric.
Clip into the seam allowances around both circles, but don’t snip your line of stitches.
Turn the bag the right side out. Cut your piece of plastic canvas 10.5 x 4 inches and slide it inside the bag to make sure its a good fit. Adjust if you need to. Sew the two short ends together with some thread or floss. Slide this into the gap in the lining and down into the outer part of the bag below the seam for the center piece. Neatly close the gap in the lining with a ladder stitch.
Push the lining down into the bag, so that you fold the middle section exactly in half. Match the seam line on the outside to the seam line on the inside to get it even and level. Carefully press around the top of the bag.
Open up your gate-fold frame to match the circumference of the fabric. Clips are easier to use than pins at this stage to keep everything nicely lined up.
Now carefully sew the frame to the purse, just catching the top of the fabric. You can use an invisible thread or one that matches your fabric. Adding beads here is a nice touch. Bring your needle through the hole in the frame from the back, add a bead, and then thread back through the hole in the frame.
I then sew a stitch to the center between the holes, bring the needle through to the front, then to the back in almost the same place so to make a tiny stitch on the front. Then up through the next hole in the frame, add a bead, down through the hole, and carry on all the way around until the frame is sewn in place. My pearls here are quite large, you can use tiny seed beads if you like too.
Add your chain, close up your purse frame and admire your new bag.
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