Making the pattern is the hardest part, but by digitizing it and then laser cutting it, I ensured that both the pieces were identical, would fit perfectly into the frame, and the cut-out pattern was just for grins. You could just as easily make a pattern on paper and cut it out of paper, however I use felt because I don't have to bind the edges. Felt won't fray.
The yellow felt is extra thick, bought online at TheFeltPeople.com (fitting name, huh) , the gray is just generic stuff from any old hobby store. I prefer acrylic felt for laser cutting because the edges melt slightly and don't turn black or stink like wool felt.
Step 1: Tracing the Frame
Step 2: Draw the Rest of the Purse
I decided to add some small gussets just to give it a little extra pouf.
Step 3: Digitizing the Pattern
I prefer hand-drawing the pattern just as a hands-on experience, I usually get good ideas when I scribble around, but technically I could have gone with a ruler to the frame and drawn up my pattern directly on the computer because now that I have a rough draft of the pattern, I use a ruler to measure the frame and ensure I am within a milimeter of the desired size. I also of course use geometric shapes to ensure the pattern is perfect.
The decorative cutouts are just little flower shapes I copied and pasted. Next you can cut out your pieces, two for the inside in one color and two for the outside in another color. I use CorelDraw for graphic design.
Step 4: Assembling the Cut Pieces
To ensure they don't wiggle around as I sew the gussets I dab some fabric glue onto the gray and press it down on the yellow.
Then I get to work on the gussets, hand sewing them up until they are connected. You can see how the gussets added a little shape to the bag, poofing it out so more things can fit into the purse without it looking swollen.
Once you get the gussets sewn, sew the front and back together up the sides, but just below where the hinge goes on the frame.
Now you're ready to attach the frame (it's so easy!)
Step 5: Attaching the Frame
The important part is to squeeze the glue into the frame, do NOT try to glue the edge of the fabric and shove it in, that will be a sticky mess.
I use good ol' E6000 with a narrow tip (surprisingly hard to find, I buy mine by the dozen whenever I can find it) I wouldn't use craft glue or fabric glue for this part because you need it to be super sticky and hold together while it dries. I fill the frame part up about 1/3 with the glue and then slowly shove the edge of the purse into the frame. You can use a flat-head screw driver to help with this part. Make sure you've got the frame with the hinges going the right way or you'll again end up with a sticky mess from having to undo it.
Double check inside and outside of the frame, close it, open it, shove the edges in again...you do not want them to slip out!
Once you're satisfied the edges are shoved into the frame as much as they will go, let the purse sit for a few hours to completely dry.
Then you can add the chain. Don't go trying to add the chain before the glue dries or the purse will probably slip out of the frame (sticky mess!)
Step 6: Adding the Strap
You can use snap-clips if you like for easier on/off of the chain but I like the continuous look of split rings.
Step 7: That's It! You're Done.
Now go show off...