May 30, 2011

Rochelle's Clasp Coin Purse

This is less of a tutorial than a "this is what I did--this is what worked and what didn't work!" post. It was my first coin purse and I'm pretty proud of it . . . even though it looks lopsided in this picture. : (

I made this coin purse for my friend Rochelle's birthday. She had mentioned in the past she wanted a coin purse but couldn't find one that fit her specifications. Rochelle is an extremely cool, unique gal and so I put a bunch of pressure on myself to make something awesome enough for her.

I kind of skipped back and forth between two different tutorials for my project. The first is this pdf pattern on a UK-based site called Cotton and Cloud. I saw the purses and thought they'd be perfect . . . until I tried the pattern. First of all, I couldn't find the right size of purse frame. Secondly, I soon realized that this specific coin purse was just freakishly too small. This is one half of the INSIDE of the coin purse BEFORE the seam:

Uhhh . . . what kind of currency can fit in this size purse? The pattern is very nice and uber-precise but very hard to do. They say on the pattern that making the purse can be a bit "fiddly." I think that is British for "impossible unless you have elf-sized hands." A 5 mm seam allowance is asking a lot if you ask me! Now I'm not the best seamstress, but they sort of talk the pattern up as being super easy. It's not.

Not to mention, as I got into the pattern I quickly realized that the pattern was a ploy to sell their purse-making products. Their site is lovely as are their products. But I really didn't want to have to order a bunch of stuff from the U.K. just to make a so-called "simple" coin purse.

Conclusion: too precise, too small, too sales-pitchy.

The other pattern I used was on a blog called "I Like Orange, Too!" I immediately liked the name and I liked the fact that this pattern used the exact same kind of coin purse frame I had (there's not a lot of selection at JoAnn for some reason . . . and Etsy is sort of hit or miss with purse materials). I gained two great tips from this blog: 1) Use old cereal boxes to cut out your own patterns. I use scrap paper but cardboard is much easier, especially if you're using a circular blade. 2) When sketching out your pattern, wind a rubber band around two pencils and the outer line will be 1/4 inch, which is the perfect amount of seam allowance. Cool, huh?

Now, for my dislikes: This pattern called for hand-stitching. Hand, WHAT? I don't stitch ANYTHING by hand! Nooooo way.

Secondly, I wasn't crazy about the triangular shape of this one. Hers was adorable but I wasn't sure if it fit with the bird fabric I had picked. I also worried coins would get stuck in the corners making it hard to get them out.

Conclusion: too much hand work, didn't like triangle shape.

So, feeling a little like Goldilocks, I decided to use what I liked from each pattern and make my own. Here's what I used:

Interior Fabric
Exterior Fabric
Fusible Fleece
Coin purse frame
E-6000 adhesive

First, I readied my fabric by fusing the fleece to the WRONG SIDE of the interior fabric and fusing interfacing to the WRONG SIDE of the exterior fabric BEFORE cutting out your pattern. I goofed in that I used twill for the interior fabric and then fused fleece to it. That made it extremely thick and hard to sew on the machine. It worked out fine but I would suggest using a lightweight quilting fabric instead.

For my pattern, I used a tupperware top as my base and sketched out the handle on top as you can see. MISTAKE: a complete circle. I found out later, a round coin purse is really a half circle with handles on top. Once I cut the pattern out, I added notches in the middle on the top and bottom and two more at an angle, like the Cotton Cloud pattern. See the interior pieces below to get an idea of the notches:

These notches will help everything line up correctly. I wanted a pleat at the bottom of the purse like the puffy Cotton Cloud purses. Starting with one interior piece, I folded the circle in half at one of the side notches and sewed about an inch. Repeat for the other side. (Refer to the Cotton Cloud file for some nice illustrations that clear this all up)

One pleat seam.
Both seam pleats sewn.

Next, fold the sewn edges inward and pin them down. Be sure to line up the fabric as best you can.
Finished pleat.

Once you've done pleats for both interior pieces, it's time to sew them together. Match up the bottom notches (this is the middle) and pin the pieces together. Sew only about a half circle and be sure to back up your stitches at each stopping point.

Now for the exterior. I know this should go without saying but I've made some dumb sewing mistakes in my time so I'll say it anyway. When you are cutting out a patterned fabric make sure you are cutting it in the right direction. Since my fabric was lines of birds, I tried to make them as perpendicular to the edges as possible.

Repeat the pleating process as you did with the interior pieces.

This is what they should look like when you're done with the pleating. Kinda looks like a little bra! A bra that would probably still be too big for me . . .

Lining up the center notches, place the interior pieces WRONG SIDE together and sew a half circle like you did the interior. Yay, the pleats match up! The bottom should look like this.

Now, slide your interior piece inside your exterior to see if it fits. If not, you may need to sew a wider seam on the interior piece. Before the next step, lay the purse frame on top of the interior pouch and the exterior pouch separately. Make sure the seam you sewed earlier matches up to the frame . . . you want your seam to stop right where the hinge on the frame starts.

Okay, here's a tricky part. Again, for a clearer illustration for this step, see the Cotton Cloud pdf. Turn the exterior pouch inside out (so the interfacing is facing out). Leave the exterior fleece side out. Lining the top notches together, pin each side of each pouch to each other.

Now, you are sewing the sides to each other. I have no particular method for this . . . I just sort of sewed about an inch on all the seams and went over them a few times for strength. The I Like Orange Too! tutorial has a nice method on how to pull this off by hand. Do not sew all the way around . . . leave enough room for you to turn the pouch back out the right way.

Now, all that was left was to glue the frame--the part that freaked me out the most. I hate it when a project leaves the hardest part for last! I started the Cotton Cloud method of just sewing raw edges. I quickly realized that this was not a good idea for my frame. I had little holes in my frame and I didn't want fleece or stray threads showing. So, yes, I had to hand stitch the top.

I had to cut a lot of excess fabric from the top because of my circle design that should've been a half circle. I tried to match the frame's curves as best as possible, and whipstitched the top. It didn't take too long so I guess hand stitching isn't all that bad (though not my first choice).

Onto gluing the frame: my glue had a very wide mouth and my purse frame extremely deep and narrow. I thought smearing the glue inside the frame with a toothpick sounded too messy. Luckily, my mom is a cake decorator and I got a great idea. I got a pastry bag and squirted about one tablespoon of the glue into the bag.

I cut the bag down to about four inches and twisted the bag towards the top (that's where you hold it). I snipped off a tiny hole in the end. Perfect! It gave me a clean line in my frame and wasn't messy at all. I used a mini flathead screwdriver to push the fabric into the frame. One positive thing about using thick fabric and fleece was that I had no extra room in the frame. All of these tutorials talk about using paper cord or cardboard to stuff in there to make up for the gap. Mine had no gap so, yay!

Let your purse dry with the frame open for as long as the manufacturer's instructions say. I let mine dry for about 2 days.

After the glue was dry, I used a piece of scrap fabric and wrapped it around the frame close to the hinge. I took a pair of pliers and squeezed the frame closed. I did this on all four sides. I've read on a lot of blogs NOT to do this because it "ruins" the frame but I think mine looked great and gave it that extra bit of strength.

TA-DA! Finished! Rochelle was sooo happy with it and so I was very relieved.

Inside the purse, I put in a necklace I made for her from a Scrabble Tile. A plain old Scrabble tile "R" wasn't unique enough so I decided to add some resin flowers (purchased from EverLuxe and Pretty Lovelies on Etsy) and in her favorite colors to it. I thought it came out so cute I need to make my own!

Happy Rochelle! : )

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or convo me through my shop and I'll get right back to you.


Mediocre Renaissance Man said...

One comment. Who's your model? I need a name and phone number.

BiblioBags said...

Do you mean your wife or my hands? My hands are busy washing my hair.

dthneece said...

Just a huge thank you for this clear and excellent tutorial! Your pictures are sharp and taken at informative times--great visual cues! How helpful!