I’ve been working on these since June. I bought some frames, but you have to make your own pattern and I used some excellent tutorials from U-Handbag for that, and then browsed several other online tutorials for advice on sewing the purse into the frame.
I had to make a prototype to test the pattern and practice sewing into the frame. I also practiced some embroidery for the motifs I was using for the purses. I used the Bewitching Botanicals patterns from Kate & Rose which are so wonderful for mixing and matching.
After practicing I realized that I would need more frames so bought more from Willie at SugarCarousel on Etsy. She has a nice selection and good prices and shipping which is so rare when you want to buy supplies in Canada.
I thread basted the purse into the frame and found this really helped to keep it from slipping while sewing it in.
For the gift, I used a modified section of the front motif as an accent on the back of the bag. The lining fabric is a beautiful red fabric from IKEA.
My initial prototype is on the left in this image and the “good” bag I made for a birthday gift is on the right. I raised the seam slightly on the blue one, since I found the gap showed below the purse hinge on the first one. I also used a lighter interfacing as the first one was very stiff.
As well as sew-in interfacing, I used thin cotton quilt batting to give the bag some body and padding between the main fabric and the lining.
These were both embroidered with 2 plies of DMC floss and I used red Conso thread, which is a twisted nylon upholstery thread, for sewing them into the frames. You can buy this thread on small bobbins from jewellery supply stores in different colours. Many people use embroidery floss to sew them in but I was worried about that fraying or wearing with use so I used a stronger nylon twist.
Here is the blue purse opened up; I love the pop of red when you open it. While boxing the corners on handbags is usually easy, I found I really needed to line up the seams with several pins through the centres and sideways before sewing. On my first one the thick layers shifted a lot, which made the bag a bit crooked. With lighter interfacing on the second one I was careful to pin well to line the seams up for boxing the corners.
The embroidery stitches I used were chain stitch, stem stitch, fishbone stitch, fly stitch, and French knots.
Years ago I wanted to make a purse in a frame with crazy patchwork. Now that I have some frames and know the technique for drawing my own patterns to fit, I hope to do up some small gems to go into some regular handbags I am making.