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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Teeny Tiny Purses for Important "Small Stuff"

Teeny Tiny Purses crafted by eSheep Designs
Teeny tiny purses with even teeny, tinier openings!
Popped over to Janelle's blog over at Emmaline Bags one morning back in March and found a tutorial for the cutest little coin purses ever (link provided at the end of this post).

Okay, so the practical side of me initially thought that these things are so small as to be useless, but they were just too sweet to pass up! And of course, Janelle's right — they are perfect for carrying that "always necessary" shopping cart coin or a lip stick. Or things like sticks of gum... or antihistamines... or antacids... or those emergency low dose ASA tablets that may save someone's life... you know, small stuff that needs to be accessible.

And with this accessibility taking the form of something cute hanging from your purse or backpack (yes, this is actually bag bling you can make), what's not to like?

So yes, small as they are, they are not projects without merit.

Which is why — after careful consideration of course — I ended up making several of them!

A correspondingly teeny tiny note of caution (LOL), however: these aren't necessarily easy to sew. You have to deal with a small, multi-layered, occasionally three dimensional curvy item with small seam allowances. (Goodness, there are at least three things in that one sentence alone that aren't easy!) Then you have to glue on a teeny metal purse frame in order to complete the project. Not particularly difficult, but keep in mind that — though a small project — it may be challenging for an absolute beginner.

However, I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from tackling it; it's just that if you do, be patient and go slowly. The sewing part will not take up even ten minutes of your time, but if you go in determined to whip it up in five, you may not be pleased with the result.

Teeny Tiny Purses crafted by eSheep Designs
There is not a whole lot of room to play with when sewing these up!

Love this project for the fact that it's something you can make with fabric scraps. And yes, if you follow the instructions about fusing the fleece onto the exterior fabric first before cutting, it will be easier to prep; but I'm probably not the only one who has bits and pieces of fusible fleece scraps just begging to be used for something like this. Hence...

Teeny Tiny Purses crafted by eSheep Designs
The fleece side showing here is probably the neatest looking one of the bunch!

TIP: If you do choose to use fusible fleece scraps like I did, pin them in "puzzle piece" fashion onto the backs of your fabric and make a quick pass with your iron to start the fusing process. Then remove the pins and continue.

For the first time ever, I took the assembly line approach to crank out my little purses. Since I knew I'd have to wait about a month for my teeny tiny purse frames to arrive, I thought I'd get a head start on the sewing part. I dug through my box of fabric scraps to see what would fit, then I cut everything and constructed the "bodies" per my steps below.

Teeny Tiny Purses crafted by eSheep Designs
The larger one here is from a template that I made myself...

My exterior fabrics are Robert Kaufman, with the exception of the "P&P"... that's one of my Pride & Prejudice themed fabrics from Spoonflower. It was left over after another small project: the Amy Butler Key Keeper Coin Purses.

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Janelle made a "video" of how to construct this little bitty purse, but I will summarize the steps that I took for you. (It's a charming and instructive video, but at some point, you're going to find yourself taking notes or trying to play and pause the video repeatedly.)

So, assuming you've downloaded the templates to cut (and prepare) your pieces of fabric...
  1. Pin exterior pieces right sides together and sew together from one corner mark to the other using a 3/16" seam allowance.
  2. Do the same with the lining pieces... you can probably safely go to a 1/4" seam allowance here to make it fit easier later.
  3. Very carefully clip/notch the curved edge on both pieces.
  4. Turn the lining right side out and insert into the completed exterior (so that right sides are now facing one another) and pin or clip the top opening, taking care to match the side seams. 
  5. Free Mini Coin Purse Tutorial by Emmaline Bags
    Image courtesy of Emmaline Bags...
  6. Sew the top opening closed almost all the way around; leave a turning gap along the middle of one side. (I think the recommendation was for about 1.25"... in any case, you don't have a lot of room to make it much bigger.)
  7. Carefully turn everything right side out through the opening. (This will likely be confusing when you do it for the first time.)
  8. Once turned, use your fingers to poke out the inside edges of all of the seams as best as you can. (You might want to give it a press at this point.)
  9. Pin the gap closed (and press again) and then topstitch close to the edge to finish up.
Keep in mind that this top seam (in step 8, where you have to close the gap after turning everything right side out) is ultimately covered up by the metal frame. Don't fret over what your sewing looks like, 'cause you're never going to see it. (And chances are, it won't be that pretty!)

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I won't go into the steps of how to attach the frame, as once you see the video, you'll understand what the process involves. Just ensure that you apply enough — but not too much — glue, give it time to dry a bit before jamming in the fabric, and then take care to protect the frame when you squeeze it together to secure.

By the way, I went the eBay route for my mini purse frames, preferring silver tone and liking the inclusion of the split key ring. (Then I waited for seven and a half weeks — an exceptionally and unusually long delivery time!) I was able to get a set of five for $5.69 US, but they are a centimetre smaller than called for in Janelle's specs. I figured I'd be able to make them work and I did, but boy, that opening is small!

Teeny Tiny Purses crafted by eSheep Designs
This was the only one that needed to be significantly re-vamped to fit my smaller purse frames...

Ready to make? Here is the link to her blog post. Thanks, Janelle, for a quick and fun project! (Oh, and for that small handful of you who don't know, Janelle also runs a great online shop for purse hardware, so everything you need to make and personalize your bag projects can be sourced there.)

Any other ideas as to what one might carry in this teeny tiny purse? I thought of USB sticks, memory cards, earphones...


  1. These are the cutest and clipping them to a strap connector is a great idea! Thanks for your post. :)

    1. And thank you very much for stopping by, Verna. Glad you found something to inspire!

  2. Very pretty little purses, Rochelle. They'd be the perfect size for carrying bandaids or eye drops. I've only ever made one framed purse, but it was a sewn in one - fiddly, but I liked the end result.


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