how to make a super easy beautiful handmade bag …
I think I’ve figured out a super cute holiday gift idea for my sisters and girlfriends this year. I’ll be creating some more versions of this fun handmade bag. And here’s the MOST quirky cool part…
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This handmade bag was made out of a placemat. Yep, a $4.99 (and I think it was even on SALE 🙂 placemat.
Then I found a couple more fun placemats…these even had tassels!
You can use any woven-type of placemat for this project. I linked a couple options below.
Supplies needed for handmade bag:
- placemat of your choice (try to find one with tassels if you like that look. you can make them yourself, but it’s much easier if they come with your placemat!) Sources for the ones used in this post:
- magnetic bag closure
- fusible interfacing (I’d recommend a medium to heavy weight)
- liner fabric (I used a white denim)
- contrasting fabric of choice (or upcycled denim pocket) for interior pocket
- seam ripper (if you’re anything like me ??
- sewing machine (and I used a denim needle)
- knitting needle for hand stitching
Before you dive into this tutorial, please be aware that I am NOT a seamstress. I just barely know how to turn on my sewing machine and stitch a straight line. In fact, a straight line is kind of a pipe dream, really. So I will NOT be using professional-sewing-type words. Or, if I do use a lofty sewing-type word, I will most likely be using it incorrectly.
But here’s the thing…I was STILL able to make these handmade bags…and so can you 😉 So let’s get started.
handmade bag how to:
1). cut and stitch your liner.
Choose the fabric that will line the interior of your bag. I chose an inexpensive, but heavy duty white denim. Typically, I think when people sew, they try to cut fabric neatly…with straight lines and all that. I don’t. I just eyeball how much I’ll need and rough cut so that the piece I’m cutting is at least 2-3″ larger than the placemat in all directions. We’ll use the iron to make our lines “straight.”
“Straight” is in quotes because if your placemat turns out to be anything like the ones I was using, there is nothing square or straight about them, so we will need our liner to adapt to the wonkiness of the placemat. For this, I use my iron to fold my liner back so that it will fit perfectly inside the placemat’s perimeter.
Straight stitch around each side of the liner so that the edges are finished in preparation to attach to the placemat.
2). attach interfusing to liner.
To stiffen our bag a bit and give it some structure, we will iron on some interfacing. You can choose any weight that you’d like for this. I’d suggest to err on the heavier side since we are using a placemat that is pretty flimsy for the body of our bag.
Interfusing is a beautiful thing. No stitching required if you purchase the iron-on type, which is what I always use. Iron the interfacing fabric to the wrong-side/back-side of your liner fabric.
3). affix magnetic closure (ONLY the interior half) to the placemat.
Fold your placemat in thirds, or roughly in thirds. You can really do this however you choose…make the exterior flap of your clutch a little shorter or longer…whatever floats your boat. But the important thing is to determine WHERE on the front face of your bag you desire your closure to sit.
Affix the male side of the magnetic closure to the front of your bag. If you are using a closure similar to the type I used, it functions like a brad. You simply push the arms through the placemat, place a washer type ring on the inside of the bag, then open the arms of the brad to close. Done.
You are welcome to use a snap, button, or even go sans a closing device if you like.
4). sew tassel, if desired.
If you plan to use a tassel/tassel(s) to your handmade bag, now is the time to sew those to what will be the inside of the front flap of your clutch. There is probably a really good seamstress-y way to sew these on, but I simply straight stitched over top of the threads on top of the tassel, doing a couple forward stitches and a couple backwards stitches.
5). stitch liner into placemat on the two sides and bottom of bag. Leave top unstitched for the moment.
It’s time to attach the liner to your placemat. I had some trouble with my machine during this process because of the thickness of the fabrics being used, so make sure to adjust your thread and bobbin tension properly before you get too far into the stitching.
Again, I simply ran straight stitches along each of the edges, save the top edge.
6). attach female side of magnetic closure to the interior of the top flap.
Before you stitch that top edge of your bag, you’ll need to attach the other side of your magnetic closure. Before you push the brad arms through the liner and interfacing, make sure that this side of the closure will be properly aligned with the other half.
Push brad arms through the liner fabric and interfacing. Place washer on flip side of fabric, then open brad arms.
7). Stitch top edge of liner to placemat.
Time to sew the last edge of your liner into the placemat with another simple, straight stitch.
8). Hand stitch sides of clutch together.
The last step of this project is to use a large darning? (I think?) type of needle to hand stitch the sides of your clutch together.
And that’s it! A fun, boho-chic style handmade bag for a song!