Let's get started!
Step 1: Pick Your Fabric!
Gather your fabric and measure out about how large you want your bag to be. I chose to do it as 14x30 in size (if doing in alternating patterns/colors, you will need to cut a total of 4 pieces - 2 for lining and 2 for outside)! Cut your fabric accordingly.
I flipped the fabric over so that half of my purse is pink and the other is green. Sew together. This creates the 'center' of the purse! (Do so with each set of pieces)
For the braided effect on the handle I cut out 3 long strips about 4 inches wide and 60 in length. Set aside.
*Note that you'll be doing each step twice for the inside and outside of the purse!*
Step 2: Basic Shape
Fold fabric in half, your purse should now start to be taking some shape :-)
Pin and sew side seams together.
Step 3: Boxing the Corners
Take the bottom corner of the bag and open it up opposite of how you just stitched the edges. You'll be creating a triangular 'roof' shape. You can either press open the seams or not, I liked them open. Pin.
Measure down about 2 inches and mark a line for reference. Stitch across this line. Backstitching is a good idea ;-)
Remove pins. (Do this to the other 3 corners).
It should look like this...
Step 4: A Nice Crease and Sturdy Bottom
At the top, it's a good idea to press down about 5/8" around the whole top of the purse. This will come in handy later when lining up the inside and the shell! You're not stitching anything yet, you just want to have a nice and visible crease. Do this on both pieces.
To help give the bottom a strong base and also add even more shape, I took a piece of cardboard and cut it to fit the bottom of the purse. I used the casing of a calendar folded in half- about 5" wide and about 27" long. This will fit inside of the shell but under the lining!
Step 5: Pleats, Pleats and More Pleats
Take your first pleat mark and match it to the next marking. Do this with each line until there are no more left. Do this with all markings, both sides for shell and lining. Pin. Sew all around. The lining the pleats will actually be on the 'wrong' side of the fabric.*
Step 6: Adding the Handle
Fold that crease that you made earlier and match up the pleats and seams. Pin. Place aside.
Now it's time to make the handle of your purse. There are tons of ways to make a handle, I was going for a braided effect...
Take the 3 (4"x60") long strips you already cut out.
One at a time, fold the outside edges to the center (left to center, right to center) and press.
Fold over one more time. Pin. Sew to close seam. Do this with all 3 pieces.
Once all strips are sewn with clean edges... you can either braid or knot the fabric. I chose to do knots. Do this until you have only a small amount left. Tuck the end of the handles in between the shell and the lining of the purse on the side seams. Pin in place, and sew all around the top.
Step 7: Finished!
Put everything and anything inside and Enjoy!
If you did different fabrics, you can turn your purse inside out and use the other side. It's totally reversible!