After a couple tries at making structured purses (and consulting with professionals) I have put together this little tutorial to show how to make a structured purse.
Front View. I didn't fully push out all the corners and edges when I took this photo - sorry for the sloppiness! I was a little bit braindead from sewing for hours on end
The shape I am making is a piano, but it can also be done with any other motif you want! Strawberries, Carriages, Crowns, etc. It is best not to have too many sharp turns or too many small curves though!
All photos are clickable to make larger. I used crazy prints for my lining so you can see the difference easily.
Bag Strap Length Adjuster Pieces (optional)
Bag Binding Strips (this is thicker and sturdier than regular bias strips)
1) Cut out all your pieces and fuse the interfacing to the pieces.
POINT! Interfacing should NOT have the seam allowance added! It will create too much bulk in your seams
2) Sew the zipper pieces to the zipper tape. Sew the fashion fabric side fist like this (right side of fabric to right side of zipper):
Then fold it over and iron to expose the zipper teeth. You will topstitch it in the next step.
3) Pin your lining piece right side UP to the wrong side of the zipper tape like the picture below:
Topstitch 1/4" from the fold, catching the lining fabric with your stitching line as you do so
4) Iron both the fashion fabric and lining pieces to the side to expose the zipper teeth. Sewing the lining separately from the fashion fabric ensures that it will never get caught in the zipper teeth:
Repeat on the other side.
5) Iron down your seam allowance at the top of your side pieces (fashion fabric AND lining) and sandwich the ends of the zipper piece between the fashion fabric and lining. Instead of stitching and then topstitching, I just topstitched to hold everything in place.
If you are going to add straps, now is a good time to sew them on to the fashion fabric side. This way, the stitching will not show on the inside! I forgot and added mine after I already had one Face attached.... it was REALLY difficult!!
6) Sew the fashion fabric base to the fashion fabric sides, and the lining base to the lining sides. Remember to keep RIGHT SIDES together
Fashion Fabric base attached
Both attached and flipped right side out
You have essentially made a big loop out of the zip, sides, and base pieces
7) Now turn your loop inside out and pin to your Face pieces (both Fashion Fabric and lining, which will be treated as ONE piece). Make sure the Fashion Fabric is facing to the inside. Your purse will end up being inside out at first!
All the piano-y goodness on the inside
8) Stitch around
9) Trim the seam allowance to allow your binding to fit around it and stitch the binding down (just like a Hong Kong seam finish)
10) Repeat on the other side
POINT! Unzip your zipper first to allow more flexibility while sewing. Also, you will need to turn your purse right side out through the zipper
11) Turn your purse right side out through the open zipper on top, push out all the corners and edges, and you are done!
I hope this helps some of you out. I am not an expert in making purses (this is only my 3rd one) but I haven't found any tutorials for standalone purses, so I thought I would share what I have learned!
If you have any questions, ideas, comments, want to buy a purse (this fabric is out of print though!), etc. please leave me a comment below!