Purse Organizer: Sewn by Hand

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on sewing my own camera bag. It reminded me of how much I enjoy sewing. I don’t have a sewing machine, so I do all my projects by hand. It takes long, but it’s such a good feeling. It kind of empties my head. And helps me focus. I guess it the same as some people with puzzles. It takes you a long time, but once it’s done it’s a great feeling of accomplishment.

I finally finished the strap I was working on when I wrote that post, and then, I started my new project: A purse organizer for my camera bag. Firstly, I must say that I think all women should have a purse organizer. I’ve had the same one for the last 10 years or so, and it’s still in great shape and super helpful when it comes to the black hole that are my purses. Also, if you want to jump on and start sewing, it’s a good project to start, since it’s something that you can actually use, as opposed to pajama pants, which is normally where most people start.

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Before I start with how I did it, let me remind you that I sew by hand. For the projects I’ve done, a sewing machine isn’t necessary. It would just be faster. But here are a few tips if you’d like to start a project like this:

  • Start by sewing with felt. It’s an easy to use fabric and relatively cheap. So if you want to explore sewing it’s a good one to start. Personally, I like the look; especially gray felt. Also, it doesn’t any finishing, so it’s one less thing to worry about.
  • Use hand quilting thread. Its thickness makes it easier to sew by hand.
  • Learn basic hand sewing stitches. I mentioned this on the last post, but there’s a great article on Apartment Therapy that  teaches 6 basic hand stitches. You should definitely take a look. It makes sewing by hand less impossible. Also, all the stitches I’ll mention are based on the ones from the article.
  • Don’t give up! It takes a lot of time to sew a project by hand but is so worth it. Plus you get to impress people when you tell them you don’t own a sewing machine.

Ok! Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s start.

Cutting the Fabric

As I mentioned before, I used felt for this project. I also had some leftovers from the fabric I used for my camera bag, which gave a little more texture to the project. But you can do it with only felt. You’ll need 7 pieces of the fabric of your choice as described bellow:

  • 1 – 20cm x 42cm. This will be the main body of your organizer.
  • 4 – 17cm x 11cm. These will be the sides and the side pockets.
  • 2 – 17cm x 23cm. These will also be pockets.

Here’s what it should look like once you’ve cut all the pieces:

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Body of the organizer.
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Body of the organizer with pockets.

Notice that there’s an elastic band on one of the sides. I sew that into one of the sides as a pen holder. But I’m not going into details about that now.

Sewing the pieces together

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    Side and side pockets.

    Sew the side pockets. Fold a cm of the ends and sew them together using the slip stitch. You can see the picture to the right that there’s a small fold in the center of the fabric. That is because I used some extra fabric for the side pockets. However, it is not necessary.

  2. Sew larger pockets to the body. I used the same procedures for the side pockets with the larger ones. The only difference is that I needed that center fold to make the pocket open wider. To find where to sew it, just place the pocket to the top of the fabric, and then fold. I used pins to help me keep the fabrics in place. Notice that the pink goes on the inside and the blue on the outside.

3. Sew the sides to the body. For this part, I used the blanket stitch. IMPORTANT: For you to have a nice finish to this project you MUST sew inside out.

 4.  Turn it inside out, and voila! If you feel like it, you can also use the blanket stitch as a finish.

It took me around 4 hours to finish this project, but I believe that I was very successful after all. I took my camera bag with its organizer out a few times now and I have to admit that I was very proud of what I did. I’m actually considering retiring the organizer I have now and just use this one I’ve made.

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I’m thinking about starting a new sewing project. You can take a look at the ideas I have on one of my Pinterest Boards: Purse and Purse Making. I strongly believe that I can do pretty much of what’s there without a sewing machine.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope I have encouraged you to start a sewing project of your own. Maybe not sewing itself, but perhaps there’s something you’ve always thought about D.I.Y.-ing and never had the guts to start. I’d love for you to share your D.I.Y. projects with me. Use the comment section bellow to tell me what it is. See you guys next time.

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