Minimalist Purse




Introduction: Minimalist Purse

About: I am a landscape designer and advocate for native plant-focused and sustainable landscaping, but in the past I have worked in costume production and clothing alteration. I taught myself to hand-tailor, draft...

Summer weather stirs my minimalist side. I find myself wanting what basically amounts to a roomy pocket, but I don't necessarily want to wear something with pockets, or deal with pocket-bulge.

I want a purse that I can wear hands-free, and that will (securely) hold my phone, a couple of cards and some cash, my chapstick, and a tampon. One that will also take care of a single key (or two, maximum), so that I can avoid carrying around my heavy keychain with a bunch of stuff I don't need.

This is it. It's a fairly simple project, but the goal isn't for the purse to be as simple as possible -- the goal is for the purse to make your life as a simple as possible while you're using it. That's why there are a few features I took the time to install, and which required a little extra hardware.

I made this purse in about 3 hours.

Step 1: Materials

For the pattern

Paper (I used my favorite pattern paper, a cut-up grocery bag)
A pen, a ruler, and an idea of what it's going to carry

For the purse

1/4 yard each of:
- an exterior fabric (choose something on the sturdy side; I recommend linen or cotton)
  NB: you may need more than 1/4 yard if you use this fabric to make the strap as well. My exterior fabric is a 1.25 yd remnant.
- an interior fabric (I recommend cotton)
- heavy-weight fusible interfacing


2 D-rings
an S-biner or something similar
some sew-on velcro
grosgrain ribbon (I bought 1/2 yard)

Step 2: Prep Work and Pattern Design

As always, wash and dry your fabric first with hot water and a hot dryer to shrink everything as much as possible. Then iron.
(*Do not wash/dry fusible interfacing, for obvious reasons.)

The pattern is simply a long rectangle, with two fold lines: one at the bottom and one at the top where the flap will be. The flap edge is very slightly rounded. My finished purse will be about 5"x6", which will accommodate my phone and the other things I need.

Step 3: Cutting & Pre-Assembly

Cut your fabric. Cut the bag fabric according to the pattern, with seam allowances. Cut an extra piece of bag fabric in the shape of the flap only, plus an extra inch. Cut the lining fabric without the flap. On the wrong side, mark all seam and fold lines. Cut the interfacing according to the pattern, with no seam allowances.

If you want to put a double pocket inside, cut small pieces of interfacing (the size of the pockets you want) and arrange them as shown in the photo on a piece of lining material. You can then fold the material over them and fold the two pocktes together so that the interfacing is covered on all sides.

Cut a piece of grosgrain to hold your S-biner. Pin it into the seam as you pin the lining to the bag fabric flap piece and sew them together. Press the seam open and then fuse the interfacing to the wrong side. Pin your pockets in place where you want them, and topstich them to the lining.

Step 4: Pre-Assembly Part II

I reinforced the bottom of the exterior, because that's the part may take some abuse. I cut an exra rectangle, pressed the edges under, pinned it to my bag fabric, and topstiched it in place.

If you want to add an elastic loop for a pen or chapstick, pin it in place on the lining now.

Step 5: Assembly

With the wrong sides together, sew the bag together at the flap, leaving the rest open.

Sew separately the lining side seams and the outside side seams.

Trim seam allowances and corners.

Turn the lining into the bag.

Step 6: Finishing

Fold the top edges to the inside towards each other. Straighten out this edge until it lies flat and looks even. Cut two pieces of grosgrain and insert them in between the lining and bag fabric at each side, with the D-rings on them. Pin carefully, then topstitch the opening. Also topstitch the edge of the flap.

Cut your velcro and pin it in place where you want it. Sew it in place. The piece on the body is a bit of a pain -- go slowly, taking care to avoid catching anything else in the seam. On the flap, take care to sew straight lines, as you will see this stitching from the right side. (You can avoid this, if you like, by sewing the velcro to the inside flap piece before the inside and outside are sewn together.)

Make a strap by cutting a length of fabric 4x the width you want and at least 2" longer than your desired strap length. Press it in half, then fold each half toward the inside and press again. Topstitch both edges. Loop it through your D-rings and sew each end in place at the position you like.

Step 7: Pack & Go

It was hard to get a photo of the inside since the bag is so small, but you can see my cards inside and I've attached a key on an S-biner to the ribbon loop.

The elastic loop that's meant to hold my chapstick is the only thing that doesn't quite work how I intended, but apart from that I'm quite pleased with how the mini bag turned out. I could have made it even smaller, but I rather like the 5"x6" size -- if I really needed to, I could fit something else inside, like a friend's phone.

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    5 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Will have to show this to my daughter, her favourite minimalist purse wore out, and she hasn't been able to find anything she really likes. This might be what she is looking for!