Introduction: Reversible Patchwork Purse/Tote

This is a fun purse/tote to make since the two sides are made exactly the same which makes it reversible. I’ve used drapery fabric in this example but it can be made out of most types of fabrics. I have used batiks, cotton, upholstery fabric and knits but the knits need to be lined with fusible interfacing. I’ve also made it so that the opposite sides are made with entirely different colors or you can have each square a different color for a really patchwork looking purse. It’s very easy to change the size of this purse since all the squares are the same size.

I decided to use 6½" squares and 1¼” wide finished straps for this Instructable. You need 32 – 6½" squares total for body of purse plus 2 - 3” X 40” strips for straps. (I like long straps on my purses so length can be adjusted for shorter strips depending on your preference)

This project is perfect for using Charm packs (Pre-cut 5” squares) or using up those fat quarters (18” X 22”)


1/5 yard of 8 fabrics for body of purse and 1/5 yard for straps. (This amount gives you extra leeway for cutting)


Sewing machine



*All seams are ¼ inch*

Step 1: Cut Fabric

Cut: 4 – 6½“ squares out of each of the 8 fabrics and 2 – 3½“ X 40” strips.

Step 2: Layout Each Side

This is where you play around with the order of the fabrics. place the 16 squares on point, diagonally and offset. Decide what fabrics you want in each row.

Step 3: Pin to Sew

Flip each top square onto 2nd square, pin. Flip 3rd row squares onto the 4th row squares, pin. (Right sides are together)

Step 4: Sew Squares

Stitch all pairs together, it’s easy to chain stitch while sewing.

Step 5: Finish Rows

Layout squares again and then flip top 2 squares over bottom 2 squares, pin. Do for both sides of purse.

Sew, so that each row of 4 squares are sewn together.

Step 6: Pin and Sew Rows Together

Layout rows again with squares offset. Flip 1st row over 2nd, pin matching seams and matching ¼” from top and bottom edge to seamlines. Flip 3rd row over 4th, pinning the same way. I then flipped the 2nd row over the 3rd and pinned that also. Sew rows together, starting ¼” from bottom edge and stopping ¼” from other edge (Start and stop on seam lines).

Step 7: Join Rows to Form Tube

This is the tricky part, bring the bottom corner on the left side to the bottom seam on right side. Pin, matching seams, starting and stopping ¼” from start and finish of seam.

Step 8: Part 1 - Bottom Seams

Pin outside edges of bottom squares together, sew across the sides of squares all the way to edge.

Step 9: Part 2 - Finish Bottom Seams

I like to zigzag edges where I leave the opening for turning. Then pull bottom edge straight across and pin edges together leaving a 3-4” opening in one bag for turning. Stitch, back-stitching on each edge of opening.

Step 10: Make Straps

Sew long edges of straps. Turn right side out. (I just used a safety pin) Topstitch on each edge.

Step 11: Pin Straps in Place

Pin ends of straps to points at top of bag with straps running down, making sure straps aren’t twisted. Baste straps in place.

Step 12: Join the 2 Bags Together

Mark a line 1” down from peak. Have one bag, right side out and the other wrong side out, insert right side out bag into the other bag. (Right sides should be together.) Pin along top, matching seams and peaks. Sew along top edge stitching straight across at straps along drawn line and pivoting at valleys at seam junctures.

Step 13: Finish Top of Purse

Turn purse through opening. Topstitch around top of purse.

Step 14: Stitch Opening

Hand sew opening at bottom of bag.

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