Patternless handbag instructions

These free instructions are for making a small pouch style bag. It is a very simple design that lends itself to a variety of interesting fabrics. Quilted fabrics, tapestry fabrics, and other fabric remnants may be used. They are quick to sew and make great gifts.

Step 1: Gather your materials

Fabric for outside of bag

Lining for bag

Cording for handle/strap

Button for closure

Tassel for closure


Needle or sewing machine (This project may be hand-sewn if necessary.)


Step 2: Cut & Sew

Cut a rectangle of fabric about 18" x 7" from the fabric for the outside of the bag. Cut a rectangle of fabric the same size for the lining.

Place the lining on top of the outside fabric, right sides together. Sew around the entire perimeter of the rectangle leaving a small opening in the side.

Trim away the corners being careful not to cut through the stitching.


Step 3: Turn and Press

Turn the whole thing right side out through the small hole in the side.

Using a chopstick, end of a paintbrush, or other non-sharp pointed object (DO NOT USE SCISSORS!), gently work the corners until they are precise.

Press the seam flat making sure the lining does not show on the front side.


Step 4: Making the Bag

Fold the rectangle into approximate thirds so that 2/3 will make up the bag and 1/3 will be the flap. Play with it until the flap is in the right proportion to the bag.

Slip stitch both of the sides closed leaving a tiny opening at the bottom of each side to hide the ends of the strap in.


Step 5: Finishing

Cut the cording the length you want the strap to be plus twice the length of side of the bag.

Place one end of the cording into one of the holes at the side. Stitch in place. Slip stitch the cording up the side of the bag adding some reinforcement stitching at the top.

Do the same on the other side.


Step 6: Closure

Add an interesting button and a tassel for closing and you are all done!

Variations may be done with the shape of the flap by making it pointed or rounded. The drapery department offers many interesting items. Drapery tie-backs with tassels on each end may be used instead of regular cording. Use your imagination and have fun!

Step 7: This looks too complicated!

Can I just buy this bag instead?


Nope, sorry, I decided I liked it too much so I'm keeping it. If you want another one, let me know and if you ask me nicely, I might make you one.
Did you find these instructions useful? Were any of the instructions confusing? Would you like to see more pictures? What other projects would you like to see instructions for?

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And below is the obligatory copyright stuff...

2003 Loretta Alvarado
All Rights Reserved

Feel free to print out the instructions on this page for your personal use. And send your friends here too! They might find something they will enjoy. However, no fair reproducing or distributing your copy without my permission, that is a violation of my copyright. If you wish to make these bags to sell, please contact me at I am happy to allow the use of my ideas as long as I know who is using them. Thanks!

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