Free Purse Pattern

Kate Miller-Wilson
Home made purses

Making your own purse or handbag doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, you can use free purse patterns, a little fabric, and some creative skills to make a simple shoulder bag or wristlet in a matter of hours. You don't even need to have a lot of sewing experience; all it takes is a little guidance and some imagination. If you need help downloading the patterns, check out these helpful tips.

Simple Zippered Wristlet Purse Pattern

This easy wristlet pattern is really versatile. You can use velvet or satin to make an evening bag perfect for prom or even a wedding, or you can create the wristlet out of a simple cotton print to complement your favorite summer outfit. Either way, this is a great pattern for beginners.

Things You'll Need

  • Quarter yard of fabric for exterior
  • Quarter yard of fabric for lining
  • 7-inch zipper
  • Half yard of ribbon in matching shade
  • Pins, scissors, and hand sewing needle
  • Sewing machine and thread to match
  • Iron

What to Do

  1. Print out the free wristlet pattern, and cut out the pattern piece. Cut two out of the lining fabric and two out of the exterior fabric.
  2. To keep things simple, you can sew the zipper in first. Place one piece of lining fabric and one piece of exterior fabric with the right sides together. Insert the zipper in the top seam, which is marked "zipper" on the pattern. Be sure the top of the zipper is facing the exterior fabric and that most of the zipper is inside the seam. Secure it with pins, and use a zipper foot on your sewing machine to sew the zipper in place.
  3. Use your iron to press the seam so that the fabric is folded back from the zipper. Repeat step 2 with the other two pieces of fabric on the other side of the zipper. Press this seam back as well. Open the zipper.
  4. Arrange the wristlet pieces so the lining pieces are stacked with the right sides together. Sew two of the three remaining sides, leaving the last short side open. Leave a quarter-inch seam allowance.
  5. Cut a piece of ribbon to the desired length for the strap, and arrange the ribbon so the raw edges are in the seam for the exterior of the wristlet. The remainder of the ribbon should be inside the wristlet pieces.
  6. Pin the exterior fabric, and sew all three seams, securing the ribbon strap as you go. Allow a quarter inch for the seams. The wristlet is now completely assembled except for a small opening on one side of the lining. Turn the wristlet right side out through this opening, and use your iron to press it.
  7. Hand sew the opening closed. Top stitch the wristlet on either side of the zipper.

Basic Front Flap Bag Pattern

This free pattern will help you make a basic shoulder purse that can take you from day to evening. Choose a bright, fun fabric to give your purse some extra style or embellish the outside with buttons, lace, ruffles, or anything that strikes your fancy.

Things You'll Need

  • Quarter yard of fabric for exterior
  • Quarter yard of fabric for lining
  • Magnetic snap, available at your local craft store
  • Button
  • Pins, scissors, and hand sewing needle
  • Sewing machine and thread to match
  • Iron

What to Do

  1. Print the free pattern for this purse design, and enlarge according to the instructions. Cut out the pieces as directed.
  2. First, sew the pocket for the inside of the purse. Stack the pocket pieces with their right sides together. Sew around three of the four sides, leaving the fourth side open. Use a quarter-inch seam allowance. Turn the pocket right side out and press it with the iron. Fold the raw edges on the open side in and secure them with pins. Top stitch one long side of the pocket.
  3. Place the pocket so that it is just below the stop-sewing line on the interior piece. Pin it in place. Top stitch the pocket to the interior of the handbag, leaving the side closest to the stop-sewing line open. If desired, sew a vertical line down the middle of the pocket to divide it into two separate compartments.
  4. Fold the interior piece according to the pattern instructions, matching the stop-sewing lines as directed. Pin and sew both side seams. Pinch the bottom corner of the purse so that it forms a triangle with points A and B. Sew a seam from point A to point B on both sides. This forms the bottom of the purse.
  5. Repeat step 4 with the exterior piece of the purse.
  6. Install one part of the magnetic snap on the interior of the purse flap as directed in the pattern. Use the snap manufacturer's instructions for installation.
  7. Place the right sides of the purse flap for the interior and exterior together. Sew a curved seam around the edge, stopping at the purse body on each side. Turn the flap right side out, and press with the iron. Top stitch around the edge of the flap. Nest the interior of the purse in the exterior of the purse, and fold and pin the raw edges in.
  8. Place the right sides of the strap pieces together, and sew a seam down each long side. Turn the strap right side out and press. Gather the ends of the strap. Insert the gathered strap ends on either side of the purse body. Secure with pins.
  9. Fold the flap down to figure out where to place the other part of the magnetic snap. Install this part on the exterior of the purse as directed in the snap manufacturer's instructions.
  10. Top stitch around the edge of the purse body, securing both sides of the strap. Sew the button on the front flap of the purse, near where the snap attaches.

No-Pattern Burlap Clutch

Burlap clutch

Use these instructions to create a cute and simple bag with no pattern at all. This clutch is ideal as a beginning project since it's very easy to make. You may even want to involve your pre-teen or teen daughter in this project for a fun and creative bonding experience.

Things You'll Need

  • Half a yard of burlap fabric
  • Half a yard of fun cotton fabric
  • Small piece of thin elastic
  • Antique button or other pretty button
  • Sewing machine and thread to match the fabric colors
  • Tape measure, scissors, hand sewing needle, and pins
  • Iron

What to Do

  1. For both the burlap and the cotton, you need a piece that is 16 inches long by 11 inches wide.
  2. Lay the cotton rectangle face-up in front of you. Line up the burlap rectangle directly over the cotton piece. Pin along all four edges to hold the two pieces together while you work.
  3. Use your sewing machine to sew along three of the four sides. Make the seam half an inch from the edge of the fabric. Leave one short side open. When you're done, turn the piece right-side out and iron it on the appropriate heat setting.
  4. On the unfinished side of the rectangle, tuck the raw edges in toward each other. Pin the edges, and insert a small loop of elastic into the seam. Topstitch this side of the rectangle, and iron the seam to give it a finished look.
  5. Hold the rectangle so the cotton side is facing up and one of the short edges with the elastic loop is facing away from you. Use your tape measure to fold six inches of the rectangle up on itself. Pin the edges to hold it, and then topstitch with your sewing machine.
  6. Fold the top part down to create a clutch. Use a pencil to mark the burlap where you'll attach the button, then hand sew the button in place. Thread the button through the elastic loop to close the bag.
  7. Decorate the outside of your clutch any way you like. You might consider adding fabric flowers, stenciling a design with paint, or attaching an appliqué.

Helpful Tips for Using Purse Patterns

Keep these tips in mind when making your own purses:

  • Keep a grab bag of random fabric bits and buttons, tassels, or other embellishments.
  • If you will be working with a vinyl type fabric or leather, it is important to use fabric weights rather than pins to hold the pattern in place for cutting. Pins will leave marks in the fabric that you may not be able to hide later on.
  • When you find a pattern you love, consider taking it to be laminated at your local craft shop. This will help it to stay in usable condition for project after project.
  • Always look for a free pattern that is compatible with your level of sewing experience. It is fun to challenge yourself with something new, but if you try something too difficult you can get frustrated and give up.

Add Your Stamp of Creativity

While free patterns can come in handy when you want to create your own handbag, don't forget that patterns are really just there to offer guidance about the basic construction. You don't have to follow all the instructions to the letter. Remember that you can alter any pattern to give it your own stamp of creativity. You can change the fabric or color, make the purse larger or smaller than specified, or embellish the design in a different way. No matter which pattern or fabric you choose, you'll be proud when people compliment your beautiful purse.

Free Purse Pattern