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The next step is to pick a fabric for the body and strap of your purse. I like to use wool but usually something heavier than my hooking wool just to give the purse more body. So for this one I dyed a piece of camel coat weight wool the same dark navy as my background. I also dyed a piece for the strap. So the steps for making the body of the purse and lining are as follows:

Cut out your template from freezer paper for the purse body. My purse flap measures 10 wide by 9.5 long so the body of my purse will measure 11 by 11.5 inches. This makes the body of my purse wide enough to accommodate a strap that is about 1 inch wide (oh by the way, I am old – all my measurements are in inches 🙂 ). Now lay out the wool for your purse body – as I mentioned, I am a tad lazy so I double my wool right sides together which means I cut ONCE. Fuse the freezer paper waxed side down, to your wool with your iron set on the highest setting and then cut out along the edge of the freezer paper – do not add a seam allowance.

Repeat the same process with the lining i.e. fold it in 2 layers right sides together, fuse the freezer paper on with your iron and cut out along the edge. You now have the body for your purse and the lining.

It’s now time to head over to the sewing machine. Leave your pieces right sides together and stitch using a short stitch and a half inch seam allowance, sides and bottom only – leave the top open. Now!!! normally I would stitch with a matching thread but so that you can see where I have stitched I have done it in contrasting thread.


Next, set aside the lining – you won’t do anything more with it for now. However, the purse body needs to be turned right side out. Before doing that I always press open the seam so that when I turn my body right side out the edges don’t curl. Press open the sides and bottom and then trim around the “corners” to about 1/4 inch – if you are using wool there is no need to clip into the stitch line.

Seam pressed open or flat…

all seams pressed open and corners trimmed…

Now turn your body right side out. I like to “block” my purse body once it is turned rightside out – basically this means giving it the proper shape. To do this I pin around the outside – if you have flat or headless pins these are better as they don’t leave an indentation in your wool once you have steamed it. I use my steamer iron – if you don’t have one use a damp towel on your wool with your iron set on high.

Steam your purse, remove the pins and while the wool is still moist and malleable you can adjust the “corners” into nice round curves.

The final step is turning under about 1 inch at the top of the purse. I eyeball this – it is an approximate amount. And I don’t measure all the way around – I start at the seam and turn down about an inch – move across to the other seam and turn under the same amount and then stretch across the front of the body of the purse and pin and then stretch across the back and pin.

Your fabric will automatically fold along that one inch line – put in a couple more pins and steam press from the inside of the purse body and then remove the pins and give it one shot of steam on the outside front and back and  you are done this step.

The next step will be making the strap and attaching it to your purse body.

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