Vintage Embroidered Woodland Handbag – Free sewing patterns


Fabric: wool coating, 25cm; lining, 25cmInterfacing: sew-in, 50cmEmbroidery thread: light green (256), mid green (258), leaf green (266)Purse frame: 29cmLeather handles: 45cmTextile glue, heavy duty

Dimensions List

22cm x 30cm

Stitch a bag

Carefully iron the wool coating fabric and secure it into an embroidery hoop. Locate the oak branch motif on page 85 and transfer it onto the fabric. Carefully stitch the design into place using embroidery threads, and remove the fabric from the hoop.

Create a pattern to use with your chosen purse frame. To do this, lay the frame on a piece of paper and trace around the outside, marking the bottom of the hinges on either side. Draw the shape you’d like your finished bag to be, ensuring the sides of it are wider than the purse frame and adding a 1cm seam allowance around the entire shape (including the purse frame outline).

Place a corner of the frame onto a corner of the pattern, and turn the frame so that the side of it lines up with the edge of the pattern. Mark the pattern 1.5cm in from the bottom of the hinge. Repeat on the other side.

Using the pattern as a guide, cut two pieces each from the wool, lining fabric, and the sew-in interfacing. Mark the lining and interfacing in the same place as for the pattern, 1.5cm from the bottom of the hinge on the bag sides.

Sandwich the wool fabric pieces (with right sides facing) between the two pieces of interfacing and pin. Sew together, starting at one of the hinge markings, working down one side, along the bottom and up the other edge to the second hinge marking.

To make a flat base, flatten one corner of the bag, to form a triangle shape, so that the side one meets the seam running along the base of the bag. Pin and sew a perpendicular seam 4cm from the tip of the triangle, then trim. Repeat on the opposite side, then turn the bag right sides out.

With right sides facing, sew the sides of the lining together, as in step 5, starting at the hinge mark and working downwards, leaving a large gap along the bottom. Using the same technique as in step 6, create a flat base by sewing perpendicular seams, this time 5cm from the tips of the corner triangles. Slip the bag into the lining with right sides facing outwards. The right sides of the bag and the lining should be touching.

Sew the top of the bag. Pin the lining to the wool fabric along the top and sides, and machine stitch from the point at which the seam starts on the lining, along and across to where it starts on the opposite side. Repeat on the other flap. Slip the bag through the open bottom of the lining, and tuck the lining into the bag.

Carefully apply a line of glue into the frame, and along the flap edges of the bag. Insert a flat tool, such as a rounded knife, under the lining and push the corners of the bag into the frame, working along to the top of the bag. Check both the wool side and the lining are evenly inserted into the frame – this can be tricky and might take some time. Leave to dry, then repeat with the other flap.

Decide where you would like the handles and stitch them into place, working through the layers of wool and interfacing (but avoid sewing through the lining). Neatly tuck the open edges of the lining under, pin and sew together close to the interior of the bag.