DIY Ruffled Purse in One Hour




About: Army Vet. I love learning & being creative.

This Instructable will guide you in making this adorable ruffled purse. I had all my nieces over the other day - one 8 year old and 3 other girls all age 5 (triplets). And it's a handful with them all visiting at once - but we managed to make a couple purses. This adorable ruffled purse was the first one we made! This is also an excellent project to do while teaching a kid how to sew. I used it to teach my nieces some basic sewing machine skills - and I only did parts of it as they sewed the rest! We had a great time. But, with so many kids over and wanting to make their own things, we had to make this cute purse pretty fast! It took about an hour for this one. If you have more time and know how to sew, you can always use this basic template and build onto it - add pockets, a square bottom, or whatever else you want to add!

If you have any questions, please ask!

Step 1: Required Materials & Cutting the Fabric

  • 1/2 yard of fabric for main material
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for lining (lining is optional but recommended)
  • sewing machine
  • scissors and/or cutting board and rotary cutter
  • measuring tape
  • iron
  • pins
  • Narrow Hem Presser Foot for sewing machine (optional)
Cutting Out the Material:
  • Main Piece
    • Cut out one piece that is 11 x 11 inches (on the fold) = if unfolded it would be 11 inches wide by 22 inches
    • Cut out one piece of lining material which is the same 11 x 11 on the fold
  • Strips for Ruffles
    • I cut my 3 pieces of material for ruffles at 3 inches by 21 1/2 inches long on the fold or 3 x 43 inches long
    • The length truly needed will vary based on how the material is gathered in the following steps as machines are different and will gather at different rates
    • We will measure and trim off excess material later
  • Strap for Purse
    • Cut out a piece of material that is 2 1/2 inches high by 21 1/2 inches long on the fold again (or 2 1/2 x 43 unfolded)

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Step 2: Ruffled Purse Strap

We're going to start out by sewing the strap - to get this step out of the way. First, turn your iron on and get it ready. Then, take the strap and be sure that there are no major creases in it - you can iron it flat to start if you like.

Then, fold the strap material in half the long way - or as kids tell me - the "long hot dog" way! Iron it down so there is a nice strong crease going along the long way. Once that is done, you can open it up and then fold one side in so it is flush with the center crease line. If you can manage to do this to both sides at the same time, and iron those sides down meeting in the middle fold line - that would be great. Please see the second image in this step to really understand what I mean.

Once that's done, fold those inward and iron it all flat. You'll then have a nice long strap which just needs to be sewn to be completed. There will be no frayed edges as it's all sewed into the material and hidden away.

Head on over to the sewing machine and top stitch over the strap about a quarter of an inch from the edge. Then, turn it over and do the same along the other edge so you have two stitches running down it. Then, you can set the strap aside until later.

Step 3: Sew Edge Seams of Purse & Lining

Now you can sew the edge seams for both the purse and the lining. Turn the material inside out and you can use a serger or sewing machine - whatever you have will work just fine. No need to turn the top of the material under as you might see in some of my photos - you can leave it unsewn and unfinished for now. I didn't know if I had time originally to do a lining material, so that's why I did that.

Step 4: Ruffles for Girls Purse

Next, head on over to the sewing machine with your three straps of material for the ruffles. The first thing I did was use my narrow hem presser foot to sew a small seam along the bottom edge of the material for the ruffles. If you have material which doesn't fray, then no sewing is needed. If you don't have a narrow hem presser foot, you might want to iron a fold the long way along the material and then do your seam on it.

Next, if you are using a serger to create the gathers, you can skip this. To prevent fraying on the top of the gathered strips, you'll want to either do a zig zag stitch along the edge or iron it under and sew a seam across the long way on all pieces. That may take more time than doing a zig zag stitch though. It's up to you.

After this is done with all three piece, it's then time to create the gathers.

If you don't know how to do this, please refer to this wonderful instructable on creating gathers by JessyRatfink. Please try to do your gathering stitches as close to the edge as possible. Once you've created your ruffles or gathered material, you'll want to see how long it is. My ruffles I created were rather subtle - but you can create more dramatic ones by pulling them in tighter if you like. Whatever you do, you'll want the piece of material to be at least 22 inches long.

Now turn your main pattern piece of material right-side out. You can use measuring tape to measure all the way around the sewn purse - and it should be about 21 inches around. You'll then want to measure your piece of ruffled material. You'll want to cut it down to about 21 1/2 to 22 inches in length. The extra 1/2 an inch to 1 inch is for the seam allowance. You'll then need to sew it together at the ends (inside out) to form a ruffled loop. Then turn the ruffled loops right-side out.

Step 5: Pin & Sew Ruffles

Now it's time to pin the ruffles to the main piece of material. Take the ruffle and find the seam & pin it to the back of the main piece of material near the bottom. Since the main piece of material is already sewn at the edges, you can't place this ruffle too close to the bottom or overhanging too much as you won't be able to sew it on as you need space to do so. So, you can place it up high enough so the bottom part of the ruffle is hanging past the bottom of the main piece by a little bit. Pin it onto the main piece of material in the front, back and two sides.

Sew it on with a regular straight stitch onto the right-side of the fabric. Go slow when and try to keep it fairly straight. If it's not perfectly straight though, no one will know as it will be covered by more ruffles. Do the same thing for the other ruffles. Place them where you like them, pin them and sew them on.

If you want to create some type of bow or embellishment, you need to do this now. I had excess strap material and created a bow. I pulled it by hand so it was really tight. I then hand-sewed it onto the front of the bag. You must do this now before adding the lining.

Step 6: Lining the Ruffled Purse

This step always confuses me with bags and purses. So please forgive me that there is one error in the photos you see. The strap!!! You'll see the main material and lining pinned together and the strap material hanging on the outside. The strap should be pinned downward and into the middle of the lining and main material - sort of in the opposite of how it is shown in the pictures. If you are worried about messing this up, as I was, you can do the strap last. I'll explain this step so that the readers can do it this way to be safe.

Now take your main piece of material which is right side out. Then take your lining material and put it inside out so the seams is showing on the outside. Put the main purse material into the lining part. The right side of the main material is now facing the right side of the lining material. Pin it together but leave the space where you will sew on the strap alone. Do not stitch there. Leave about 3-4 inches unsewn on the two sides where you will later sew the straps on.

Once sewn together, use one of those holes to pull the material through so it is right side out and you'll see that in my picture. Then push the lining material into the main piece.

Then, iron it down along the edges where the main piece and the lining meet at the top.

Step 7: Finishing It Up With the Straps

After ironing the top of the purse edges, then you'll want to figure out how long you want the strap to be for the child. Once you know that, you'll want to trim off excess material & pin the edges of it into the purse between the lining and main material where you still have an opening on both edges there. Pin it in place and fold the material in which will need to sewn down.

Then, use your sewing machine to topstich over those straps and then all the way around the top of the edge where the lining and main material meet. This is your final step!

You are done!

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    15 Discussions

    eoz dralla

    5 years ago

    I thought it was a dress.....


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice project and well explained. great photography as well. Thanks for following my Instructables.
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    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is so pretty! I thought it was a little dress when I first saw the picture! It's such a nice idea! :)

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Linda! My niece sort of chose this style and I love it too - it would be a cute skirt and my brother thought it was when he picked up his kids! :)