Found this great idea in episode 107 Quilting Arts TV. They have some instructions on their website to go with the video. I made a couple of purses over the weekend to try out the simple design.
Step 1: Cut and Piece the Fabrics Together
You are basically only using two squares of fabric, matching, contrasting or complementary. One of my purses I used a square of batting with it and it will probably add more protection to the contents of the purse, but was much more difficult to sew due to the thickness then the one I am showing for instructions without the batting. I chose this size purse so I could just square off one side of 44" wide fabric. It must be square, 22" x 22", sew rightsides together, leaving about 3" open near a corner to turn rightside out. Once turned rightside out, turn the hem inside that 3" opening, stitch together and press the entire piece. I chose a pretty grapevine pattern and a purple to complement shades of the grapes.
You can use any size square, a little smaller or larger to make a backpack like purse. You would just need to use wider handle straps to use it like this. This size makes a medium size purse.
Step 2: Construction
Once pressed, fold two corners over-lapping in the center to make a diamond shape. Make sure to square each corner before sewing in place so the purse is even. You would measure the edges sticking out from the bottom (print fabric corners) to be sure that each of the four edges were the same size. Then you will sew the center square or diamond, however you see it, through all the layers of the fabric in the middle to form the base of the purse bottom.
Once that is done, you simply fold up the remaining corners like an envelope and sew up each side as in the photographs, stopping when you reach the end of the contrast fabric.
Step 3: Turn the Purse Inside Out
Once you stitch up each side, turn the purse inside out. Once inside out, you will need to stitch up the "ears" sticking out on either side to create the gusset effect that gives the purse further stability. Once you sew straight up the corners, turn the purse back right side out and you will see the gussetted corners on either end.
The loose corners will then be folded down and stitched across to allow for the handles of your choice. With this style you are free to use plastic purse handles that can be purchased at various craft and fabric stores. You can use additional fabric or trim for straps of varying sizes. I chose to use twisted rope trim for a simple drawstring effect.
The last picture I tried to show how the folds produced inside cubbies to stick stuff in, but not a very good view even after multi attempts.
Step 4: Finished Product
I produced the purse with plain fabric as liner and then reversed the effect for the next one. I used the same type braided trim for the straps, in different colors and added buttons on this style and Metal grape leaves that I happened to have on hand for the other style. They were found years ago on clearance and I knew one day I would find a use for them. They match really well.
I will try to have another style soon.
Happy Purse Making!