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Project

Reversible Purse

This simple reversible purse is a wonderful project for beginning and advanced sewers alike.

Materials

  • Bag template
  • Heavy paper or cardstock
  • 1/2 yard of patterned fabric
  • 1/2 yard of solid fabric
  • Pencil
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating machine-sewing thread
  • Iron
  • Needle and thread for basting stitch

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Download, enlarge, and print template on heavy paper or card stock. Trace template twice on each fabric and cut out.

  2. Step 2

    Align and pin the two solid pieces together, right sides facing. Do the same with the two patterned pieces.

  3. Step 3

    Using 1/4-inch seam allowance, sew along the top of each handle and along the bottom curve of each pinned piece, leaving both sides of both handles open.

  4. Step 4

    Turn the solid piece right side out, and insert the solid piece into the inside-out patterned piece. Line up seams, raw edges, and handles.

  5. Step 5

    Pin the edges of the "neckline" of the bag and sew with a 1/4-inch seam.

  6. Step 6

    Going through the longer handle, turn the entire bag right side out (patterned fabric on the outside). Press all seams.

  7. Step 7

    Fold raw edges of "armholes" in 1/4 inch and press. Baste together. Topstitch 1/8 inch around bag handles to finish.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, May 2008

Reviews (96)

  • 4 Jun, 2013

    Made this purse today. Cute!! I did have a little problem with the armholes. I ironed a fusible interfacing to the inside of the printed pieces. It gave it a little more sturdiness. I bought the pattern and it has 3 sizes (S-M-L) to this purse along with 3 other styles of bags. I will definitely make this purse again.

  • 14 Aug, 2012

    Hello Ladies,
    I just joined Martha Stewart, I love to sew..But .. I haven't done much in years. Because of my health. But I'm going to try and get my hand into sewing again. This little bag is so sweet. I like the idea, about taken the pattern to staples. It be nice to have 2 diffrent purses in one.

  • 6 Aug, 2012

    This is a stunning cloth purse idea. The directions are clear and can help those of us who are trying to sew a little better. I would like to use this activity to make a geometric pattern as a design.

  • 28 May, 2011

    I blew it up 200% and extended the other "arm" as well. (I took the pattern to Staples and they enlarged it for about $2. If you don't have photoshop or a real image modification program you won't be able to do it on your computer). The most challenging was the armholes - getting it to turn back seemed impossible (nevermind getting it to stay to iron it!) I wish I had blown in up bigger though. I need to put bags around my shoulder and this does not make it. I will blow it up 400% next time

  • 29 Mar, 2011

    Cute bag. Definitely iron the hem on the 'armholes' before sewing together. Also, had a hard time topstitching the smaller armhole as it was a bit too small to fit around the arm of my machine. Finished it by hand. I think I may make another with both handles long and a flap in the middle. The one thing the pattern left out was to flip the pattern for second cutout for each fabric, so you can get right sides together. Everyone probably figures that out, but could trip up a new sewer.

  • 10 Feb, 2011

    A really adorable little bag. This is the very first sewing project I've ever tackled. My brother bought me a Singer Sewing Machine for Xmas and I just jumped right in. The instructions as well as the video are pretty clear, though I would also recommend ironing A LOT and certainly the last 2 seams beforehand. It took me about 2 hours total to make and I thought it was really simple!!!

  • 3 Feb, 2011

    Can anyone explain how to go about enlarging the reversible bag template. Also, which sewing machine would be best for someone who can sew at least using a pattern? I have an old Sears sewing machine but would like to find another machine that makes buttonholes in various sizes.

  • 18 Dec, 2010

    This was simple and very cute! I only have one suggestion: Press the arm [filtered word] seams before you put the two pieces together, it makes the top stitching easier and more precise. I made three of these for Christmas presents. I added some pockets to the lining as well. Then I stuffed with a travel mug, hot cocoa mix and biscuits. So cute!!

  • 9 Aug, 2010

    I just finished this project, with 2 modifications. I enlarged to 400%, and made both handles long. I will use it as a diaper bag to carry on the shoulder. Love it!.

  • 8 Aug, 2010

    Make me one.....Pretty please! ( Purple hues would be fine.lol )
    I don't really sew....I would if I owned a 'state of the art' sewing machine. The only sewing machine I own ( and haven't used in quite some time) is one of those old fashion push pedal types. :o(

  • 14 Jul, 2010

    Made this cute little purse today, very easy.. makeing a much larger one tomorrow... My 24 yr old and 20 yr old girls love it.. I had a hard time getting the template but once I got it. It took me only about an hour to make.

  • 1 Jun, 2010

    I have made several and they have all turned out great. I increase the pattern to 100% for a child and 200% for an adult. Sail cloth holds its shape well. Great for gifts. Do clip the curves!

  • 28 Apr, 2010

    I found this pattern (larger than Martha's) in a quilting magazine. I made one for my 3rd grader. She's using it for her lunch bag. I've washed it several times, line dried then ironed it, good as new. Her friends are eager to have one. I'm an experienced sewer..... anyone can make one though. Hmmmm, Christmas gifts!

  • 23 Apr, 2010

    Very flimsy. I added a lightweight interfacing. This pattern is available for free and paid for through other companies. I paid for. Make sure both fabrics are the same type or things get stretched out of shape. I tried to use an antique linen with cotton lining and things didn't tuirn out too well. Try adding trim around the "armholes.: it looks really cute.

  • 13 Apr, 2010

    I made this bag, turned out very cute. I didn't get it from MS though. I got the full size pattern from http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/projects-ideas/bags-pillows/free-bag-patte.... Hope this helps others.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    I plan on making this bag, and after reading all of the comments I think that watching the video (click on the picture of the bag in the instructions) clarifies the instructions immensely. This bag is so cute! Thanks Martha!

  • 7 Jan, 2010

    This is really cute but I am going to make the long shoulder strap longer so that I can carry it over my shoulders.

    Also, I made a cute vintage apron for the kids. You should try that on your show.

  • 24 Feb, 2009

    My Adobe 8 doesn't have any option for "page scaling" under Page Handling. So, I folded the printed 8 x11.5 paper I printed out from the website and quartered it, and enlarged each sheet by 150%. This gave me something big enough for a first try. If I want bigger I will slash and spread the pattern, and add to the tops of the handles. I saw this made up in a fabric store and fell in love with it. I was thrilled to not have to look far for the pattern here.

  • 5 Feb, 2009

    Duh!!! Thanks for the info. I have now made several for my granddaughter who loves them. I think she wants to share w/ her friends - that's why she requested several.

  • 1 Feb, 2009

    Close the video and the template appears. Print off the pattern and place it on the printer and enlarge. If you notice you can't get the whole purse on the printer then enlarge sections and cut and tape it together to get the size you want.

    Martha said, "Clip the corners". This means where the bag has curves, clip perpendicular to the seam so it can lay flatter.

  • 30 Jan, 2009

    I love this reversible purse. I first saw it in Italy in September 08 but it was smaller like for a cellphone and ID. I can find the video, but cannot find where on the website is the pattern and instructions. Please help. I would like to make this for several friends.

  • 29 Jan, 2009

    Can some please one walk me though how to enlarge this on the printer? I am new to sewing and have trouble with it. ALso on the video Martha say to " clip the coners" what is that?

  • 18 Dec, 2008

    This purse is great. I actually had the pattern increased larger and made the handles equal sizes. My daughter uses it for her school bag and now her friends all want one. We used fun fabrics and gave it a "young girl look".

  • 2 Dec, 2008

    This is a great little gift idea! The "armholes" can be tricky, but if you square off the bottom curve, you'll probably find it easier to turn in. Just remember to clip the corner at 45 deg!

  • 25 Oct, 2008

    This pattern was printed in the Winter 2006 issue of Quilts and More, published by Better Homes and Gardens. It has a full size pattern and complete instructions for making the bag. The purse can be made with any type of fabric. I made my niece a bag using "cat" fabric. She loved it.

  • 20 Oct, 2008

    the purse is very easy to make till it comes to the armholes

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    yes, the instructions are SO vague! and i know how to sew!also, the video streaming keeps breaking all the time and buffering.
    it was a project by itself to understand how should it be done.....
    for future reference: please add screen shots to the instructions.
    thank
    ps: the purse is a great idea!!

  • 7 Oct, 2008

    yes, the instructions are SO vague! and i know how to sew!also, the video streaming keeps breaking all the time and buffering.
    it was a project by itself to understand how should it be done.....
    for future reference: please add screen shots to the instructions.
    thank
    ps: the purse is a great idea!!

  • 21 Sep, 2008

    it's a great bag! Who wrote the instructions?! They are very vague. I've been sewing for many,many years so I didn't have much trouble figuring it out. But it surely inhibits new sewers!!! Martha, rethink this problem for the next project!!

  • 21 Sep, 2008

    it's a great bag! Who wrote the instructions?! They are very vague. I've been sewing for many,many years so I didn't have much trouble figuring it out. But it surely inhibits new sewers!!! Martha, rethink this problem for the next project!!

  • 21 Sep, 2008

    it's a great bag! Who wrote the instructions?! They are very vague. I've been sewing for many,many years so I didn't have much trouble figuring it out. But it surely inhibits new sewers!!! Martha, rethink this problem for the next project!!

  • 21 Sep, 2008

    it's a great bag! Who wrote the instructions?! They are very vague. I've been sewing for many,many years so I didn't have much trouble figuring it out. But it surely inhibits new sewers!!! Martha, rethink this problem for the next project!!

  • 10 Sep, 2008

    You have to have Adobe reader to open the pattern. You can dowload it free at their web site. BTW thanks Martha for a great fun pattern. Guess what my granddaughters are getting for Christmas?

  • 10 Sep, 2008

    You have to have Adobe reader to open the pattern. You can dowload it free at their web site. BTW thanks Martha for a great fun pattern. Guess what my granddaughters are getting for Christmas?

  • 10 Sep, 2008

    You have to have Adobe reader to open the pattern. You can dowload it free at their web site. BTW thanks Martha for a great fun pattern. Guess what my granddaughtrs are getting for Christmas?

  • 5 Sep, 2008

    I too was unable to open the template. Just right click on the template link, select "save target as" and save it on your desktop. I had no problem opening the template from my desktop.

  • 4 Sep, 2008

    I am always looking for purses to go with evening dresses. What an awesome and simple pattern. I can't wait to find some pretty silks and satins to make bags to go with my favorite dresses.

  • 3 Sep, 2008

    Please fix the bag template so that it can be printed out. Thank you.

  • 3 Sep, 2008

    I made this purse! I purchased the "Fast and Fabulous Quilting Ideas" book (2008) for $12.95 and the instructions and full size pattern were in it! I should have checked out this website first and saved myself the $12.95.

  • 3 Sep, 2008

    I have been making these bags for years for my retail business!!!!! Made up the design myself. Wonder where she got the design?

  • 3 Sep, 2008

    I haven't made one yet but plan on making many and of various sizes for a craft fair. Thank you for yet another creative project.

  • 1 Sep, 2008

    Made this in denim. Turned out so cute. I embroidered a 70's retro flower design on front and a decorative stitch around neckline and armholes. I basted each side of outside armhole (last step) separately then pinned and sewed. Also put pockets on inside-so organized!

  • 26 Aug, 2008

    I LOVE this purse! It only takes about 20 minutes to make one, so it's great for teaching my sewing students how to sew a basic bag. I enlarged the pattern 300% instead of 200%- the 200% pattern was just too small to be of any real use as a purse!
    3cheeks-- I made one of these for myself at 400%- and it is an awesome, quick diaper bag. I put a couple pockets in it that have zipeprs, though- for keys and lipstick, small things like that. But yeah, it makes a great diaper bag!

  • 20 Aug, 2008

    I am a very new to sewing (taking my second class this weekend) and was hoping to make this bag a little bigger so that I can carry my boys things in it, like snacks, diapers, etc. I purcahsed 1 yard of fabric instead of the half yard, will that be enough? And if I enlarge the whole template to 300 or 400% will I also need to enlarge the handles more? Thanks for any help! :)

  • 7 Aug, 2008

    This is GREAT! Thank you. The Reversible Purse video is fun to watch, and the instructions and template are very good. When I printed the pattern, I had to set the printer setting to "Fit to printer margins."

  • 4 Aug, 2008

    This printed fine for me in Firefox.

  • 2 Aug, 2008

    I couldn't print this in the Firefox browser, but it printed fine in Internet Explorer.

  • 30 Jul, 2008

    200 x enlargement is i think too small. 300 would have been better. i also suggest ironing the outside edges in before sewing it together because trying to get a 1/4 inch seam right side out is just ridiculouis! I found this project could have been made much much simpler with better instructions.

  • 22 Jul, 2008

    I made this bag with the long handle longer to hang it on my shoulder... Perfect to take along when taking a walk...

  • 19 Jul, 2008

    I love projects that help me use up large scrap pieces. I've made three and will give two to a couple of friends. Easy to make,and the only difficulty is pulling the bag through the handle, but that's probably based on the heaviness of the fabric you use. The more scraps I find, the more I'll make and the more favric will be in use and out of landfills. Of course, I'm keeping the most interesting best one for me. ;-}

  • 16 Jun, 2008

    I don't know why everyone is having such a hard time printing this pattern, I went straight to my computer and printed it out after resizing it. Of course I do not have a Mac, maybe that is the reason you are having such a hard time printint it out. Of course when I printed mine by 200% it came out in parts of four sheets of printing paper, cut and align the pattern is all I had to do. It is going to be a great pattern just as soon as I get it cut and sewn together.

  • 10 Jun, 2008

    Watch the video, then read the instructions before you begin. They match except the written say to baste before topstitching the "armholes". This is helpfull. no pins needed. The video is too rushed for begginers. Keep fabrics light to medium weight. I highly suggest going larger than 200%, makes larger armholes, therefore, easier to top stitch.Video does not show difficulty of top stitching of their small armholes. Beware, no way around topstitching. I tried every trick in the book :-(

  • 2 Jun, 2008

    I made this purse (cute) going by the written instructions and then after watched the video. My mom told me about this purse, I didn't see it made on tv. After I watched the video it tells you to leave the outside ends of the purse handles opened. On the written instructions it tells you to leave "both" sides of "both" handles opened. So then you would turn it and have to top stitch 4 sides. The written instructions makes the handles hard to do.

  • 30 May, 2008

    I took my pattern to Staples to have it enlarged and they charged me $6.46.
    I won't go there again. I will do it on the computer and tape it together. Hope
    I like it when I'm done.
    Ila S

  • 29 May, 2008

    I was having difficulty finishing the "armhole" parts of this purse. Someone had previously suggested sewing the armholes and necklines of the solid and patterned fabrics while right sides together - leaving the tops of the handles unstitched. This works great! You turn the purse right side out through the top of one handle

  • 29 May, 2008

    I was having difficulty finishing the "armhole" parts of this purse. Someone had previously suggested sewing the armholes and necklines of the solid and patterned fabrics while right sides together - leaving the tops of the handles unstitched. This works great! You turn the purse right side out through the top of one handle

  • 28 May, 2008

    I took it to Office Depot and they enlarged it to 200% for me. Charge was $1.50.

    Not sure about the question regarding turning the pattern upside down. Anyone else have this problem? I made one from 2 old dresses I bought at Goodwill. I didn't have any issues with the pattern.

  • 24 May, 2008

    Every Kinko's must be different. My Kinko's worker trimmed around the entire bag pattern (cut off all the outer edges) and printed that on the oversize machine. She tried to help me zoom it to 200% on the regular copier on an 11x17 paper, but couldn't. If your KInko's won't do it for "copyright" reasons, trim it and mount it on a plain piece of paper and try again.

  • 22 May, 2008

    I had trouble printing from my Mac-way too small. But it printed correctly on my PC at work.

  • 22 May, 2008

    I loved this project. It was a lot of fun. The video that was posted was very helpful.

  • 21 May, 2008

    this is wierd that there is no video to this craft because it was on tv, could u please upload it. thanks

  • 21 May, 2008

    Wonderful pattern idea. Had it copied down to 165% and worked fine....but I do need an answer ASAP regarding the following: New at sewing and just wonder if one should cut one of each (plain and printed fabric) upside down so the long handles meet the short handles. Can anyone help me on this???

  • 21 May, 2008

    New at sewing. Does one cut the patterns of each the plain and patterned with one upside down so the handles (long match at top and short match at top? Please respond ASAP.... whirleybird

  • 20 May, 2008

    To make template larger at home ... save the template to your desktop as a PDF. Open file in Adobe. Go to "File" "Print". In the 'Page Handling' Section go to 'Page Scaling'. In the drop down field - choose Tile All Pages. Go to 'Tile Scale' and choose 200% (or what ever scale you want. This will enlarge the template over a number of pages that can be taped together. Good luck.

  • 20 May, 2008

    I butt taped 2 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 white paper together and taped it to the computer screen. Started at the top and traced the pattern, moving it up two times. It looks like a nice size to try the first time and if I want it bigger, will then go to the copy shop.

  • 20 May, 2008

    I think making a large bag shouldn't be a problem. Simply by quartering it through the center and moving it up an out a 1/4inch, 1/2 inch etc. until you get the bag size you desire, remembering whatever you add to the center of the bag also add to the handles. If you make the bag 1/2 inch wider and longer add a 1/2 inch to each handle, otherwise it might look distorted. Adding a pocket is a good idea.

  • 20 May, 2008

    I enjoyed making the project, too. I added a pocket on the inside. One could be added on the outside, too. I copied and cut in quarters as someone had suggested. Works great. However, I want a larger one and don't have Kinkos. I am going to use an overhead projector and make it the size I want. Thanks for all your great comments and tips.

  • 20 May, 2008

    I enjoyed making the project, too. I added a pocket on the inside. One could be added on the outside, too. I copied and cut in quarters as someone had suggested. Works great. However, I want a larger one and don't have Kinkos. I am going to use an overhead projector and make it the size I want. Thanks for all your great comments and tips.

  • 20 May, 2008

    What a fun sewing project. I have completed 3 full size purses,one of each of my adult daughters. So I thought I would tackle one for a grand niece. I copied the original pattern at 135%. I used the same fabrice for both sides adding an applique to one side. I also zig zag stitched the outside of the handle and along the "neckline" of the purse. This was a great way to clean out some of the stash of cotton fabrics in my sewingroom. Thanks for the pattern. Can't wait for another one!

  • 20 May, 2008

    Kinko's will not enlarge pattern. It is copyrighted they need written permission from Martha Stewart. How do I get permission to copy?

  • 20 May, 2008

    The reason why everyone is having a hard time printing it: whoever uploaded the image to the site hadn't noticed it's placed too far down on the page. When I read everyone's comments I just used Mac's Grab and created a new clip of the outline template of the purse, and now I'm going to do what SallyTh did: cut the 8.5x11 into quarters and enlarge quarters and tape together without having to run out to Kinkos.

  • 19 May, 2008

    Nope, only a tiny portion of the template prints out. Is this because I've got a Mac?

  • 19 May, 2008

    Try pinting half of the template at a time and then tape it together.

  • 19 May, 2008

    This is what I did. I printed the pattern out, scanned it and took the picture to Paint. Then went to print set up and typed in 400% into the zoom (after printed and made it looks about the right size.) The pattern then will print on four sheets of paper. I also printed one out at 500% very nice size, much larger. Takes 9 sheets of paper. From there just tape the pages together and cut the pattern out.

  • 19 May, 2008

    Kinko's wouldn't enlarge my dowloaded pattern because it was copyrighted. They said I needed permission from you in order for them to do it. How do I go about getting that permission?????

  • 19 May, 2008

    I agree, kathy, that the handle part is difficult to press and topstitch. I remember a dress I made a while back where the shoulders are left unstitched and the armholes and neckline is stitched. Turn it right side out and stitch only the outer part and then slipstitch the lining closed. I'm wondering if this would work. ;)

  • 19 May, 2008

    So sorry to those that cannot print the template pattern. It almost fills up an 8-1/2 by 11" sheet of paper. You have to take it to Kinko's or some copy center to have it enlarged as "oversized" because it wouldn't fit on an 11x17" paper. The people at Kinko's were very helpful and wanted to know how the bag came out.

  • 18 May, 2008

    Came out really cute, except for the handles (step 7). I'm going to figure out a way to make this step easier, and also for the outside edge of the handles to look better. I also took an extra few minutes to press as I went along, and also clip the curves. I will definitely make more of these cute bags.

  • 18 May, 2008

    I had a problem printing, too. Only a tiny fraction of the pattern showed up on the page. Really want to make this bag!

  • 18 May, 2008

    I cannot download the template and directions for the reversible bag. I installed flash player and I still can't download it.

  • 18 May, 2008

    I'm new on the site. Does she put the segments from her show online anywhere? That might be a big help to understand some of the directions. I was at the doctor's office when I saw this episode.

  • 18 May, 2008

    There has got to be a better way to do the handles. They are a real pain.
    But I do love the little bag. I

  • 18 May, 2008

    I've not made this yet, but plan to with some old scarves (or at least one side an old scarf). Seems like that would work as a funky and fun summer purse!

  • 17 May, 2008

    To get the pattern to 200% at home, cut the printed template into quarters, then enlarge each one to 200% on your copier, then tape them together. I did it, it worked perfectly.

  • 17 May, 2008

    Saw the show, printed out the template, took it to Kinko's, they enlarged it to 200%, bought some fabric and made the purse. It is sooooo cute! I did have problems sewing the smaller side of the handles but will definitely sew it again!
    Wish I could show you a pic....

  • 17 May, 2008

    Thank you "Bonnien" for the information about enlarging to 200%!! A huge help. I didn't get a chance to actually see the show and was at a loss as to how to get to 200%.

  • 17 May, 2008

    I LOVE THE IDEAS FROM THE SHOW, BUT FIND EVERYTHING I PRINT OUT IS VERY LIGHT THAT YOU CAN BARELY READ IT. IT DOESN'T HAPPEN WITH OTHER WEB SITES I COPY THINGS OFF.

  • 17 May, 2008

    Not able to print template. Came out blank page.

  • 16 May, 2008

    You print it as it is and take it to the copy center to have it enlarged 200%, they told that today! It turns out just darling!

  • 16 May, 2008

    I can not get the template to print out at 200%. Does anyone have any suggestions....I've tried everything

  • 16 May, 2008

    Bag template prints out showing the template as 4" hight and 2.75" wide.
    Is this correct?

    Sally

  • 16 May, 2008

    Bag template prints out showing the template as 4" hight and 2.75" wide.
    Is this correct?

    Sally

  • 16 May, 2008

    Teedna -- Did you click on "Bag Template" under "Tools and Materials?"

  • 16 May, 2008

    Cute purse! I didn't have any problems printing.

  • 16 May, 2008

    print template : Unable to print the template, just come out as a plank page.

  • 16 May, 2008

    this would be a great flower girl's purse full of rose pedels.