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Three Designer Handbags (Digest 31) pattern available
Three Designer Handbags (Digest 31)

Created by: Michele Mishler

Be sure to give us feedback on this project below.

Level: Intermediate - Advanced

The perfect accessory for that special outfit, designer handbags have become a hot item for a home business, and the 1600 Professional makes it easy. From heavy decorator fabrics to garment weight leather and suede, the 1600P has the power to handle any fabric.

The 6mm stitch length creates durable seams without stressing the fabric, and the pressure adjustment provides perfect feed for what used to be onsidered 'difficult' fabrics.

Designer handbags are all about embellishment. Here is a collection of projects that show some of the possibilities, all created with the 1600P.

Pattern Pieces For Download Each of the purses has a pattern piece that must be downloaded and printed out. You can download all pieces at once using the link at the top of this page. Or download individual patterns using the link at the beginning of each purse's instructions.

Janome Supplies Required:

  • 1600P High Speed Sewing & Quilting Machine
  • Adjustable Zipper foot (1600P series)
  • Even Feed foot (1600 series)
  • Ultraglide foot (optional)
  • Organ Needles HL System Size 16 (1600P only)
Reverse Bobbin Work Clutch:

Fabric and Notions Required:

  • McCall's Pattern 4533, View C
  • 24" x 15" Garment weight leather
  • 5/8 yd. lining fabric
  • 5/8 yd. medium weight fusible interfacing
  • Magnetic snap closure
  • 7" zipper to match lining
  • All purpose sewing thread to match lining fabric
  • Upholstery thread to match leather
  • Assortment of decorative threads (Featured handbag uses Candlelight metallic, Halo metallic and upholstery thread)
  • Seam sealant
  • Assorted decorative buttons
  • Jeweler's glue
  • Rubber cement
  • Hammer

Download Reverse Bobbin Work Clutch pattern as a PDF


  1. Cut out the pattern pieces for View C. Cut out the pieces for the handbag and lining according to the pattern instructions. From the interfacing, cut pieces to match the lining fabric, and fuse in place.
  2. In preparation for Reverse Bobbin Work, wind two or three bobbins with decorative thread. It may be necessary to hand wind the thread.
  3. Adjust the tension spring on the bobbin case to accommodate the heavier threads.
    Hint: When adjusting the tension, turn the adjustment screw 1/4 turn at a time in a counter clockwise direction. Write down the amount of adjustment, so that you can return the tension to its original setting.
  4. Thread the 1600 Pro with upholstery thread. Place one of the bobbins of decorative thread in the machine.
  5. Adjust the stitch length to 4.
  6. Embellish the handbag back: From the wrong side of leather, stitch random wavy lines, overlapping some of the lines as you sew.
    Hint: The featured handbag has a 3" wide band of decorative embellishment, using 3-5 lines of stitching in each of three decorative threads.)
  7. Trim the thread ends even with the leather, and apply seam sealant.
  8. Complete the handbag and the lining according to the pattern instructions, making sure to leave an opening in the lining.
  9. Trim all seams to 1/4".
  10. Finger press the side seams of the leather handbag open from the top edge to the dot. Use rubber cement to glue the opened seam in place.
  11. Pad the seam to protect the leather and pound the open seams using a hammer.
  12. Pound the side seams of the handbag lining along the leather facing.
  13. Sew the handbag and lining together along the top edge according to the pattern, and turn the handbag right sides out. Hand stitch the opening closed.
  14. Finger press the top edge in place, rolling slightly toward the inside. Topstitch in place.
  15. Snip off the shanks from the decorative buttons. Glue buttons to the completed handbag randomly, using jeweler's glue.

Quilted Handbag
Fabric and Notions Required:
  • 2 pieces 9 1/2" x 12" plus scrap 1 1/2" x 4" Cabretta leather
  • 3/8 yd. lining fabric
  • 3/8 yd. craft fleece
  • 3 strips of leather lacing or substitute 30" strips of cabretta leather cut 1/4" wide
  • 14" zipper to match leather
  • All purpose sewing thread to match lining fabric
  • Upholstery thread to match leather
  • Chalk pencil
  • Rubber cement
  • Craft glue
  • 2 brass rivets (optional)
  • Zipper pull (optional)
Download Diamond Quilt Handbag pattern as a PDF
Download lining pattern as a PDF

  1. Print out patterns for Quilted Handbag. Cut 2 handbags from the leather, lining fabric and craft fleece. Cut 1 pocket from the lining fabric.
  2. Mark diagonal lines on each piece of leather to form a diamond quilting pattern. Space the lines 1" apart.
  3. Place the leather over the matching craft fleece.
  4. Attach the Even Feed foot. Adjust the stitch length to 4.
  5. Quilt the leather, stitching on the marked lines.
  6. Attach the Adjustable Zipper foot and sew one side of the zipper to the curved edge of the quilted leather, with a 1/4" seam. Finger press the seam allowance toward the quilted leather, and topstitch.
  7. Sew the second side of the zipper to the remaining piece of quilted leather, finger press and topstitch.
  8. With the zipper closed, fold the handbag right sides together.
  9. Stitch the side seams with a 1/4" seam. Open the zipper.
  10. Cut a scrap of leather 1 1/2" by 4". Fold the sides to the center to create a strip 3/4" by 4". Rubber cement in place.
  11. Topstitch the edges. Cut the strip into two 2" lengths.
  12. Fold each strip into thirds, around a D ring. Secure each D ring to the handbag at the side seams, 1" below the zipper. If using a brass rivet, punch holes through the folded leather, and use an awl to create an opening between stitches in the side seam. Place the rivet through the holes and insert the other end of the rivet from the wrong side. Secure. Or, stitch across the folded leather, attaching the D ring to the handbag at the side seams, 1" below the zipper.
  13. Sew the bottom seam.
  14. Fold the corners so that the seams match in the center. Stitch across the corners. Turn the handbag right sides out.
  15. Fold the pocket in half and stitch around the pocket, leaving a 3" opening at the bottom edge. Turn the pocket right sides out. Press the pocket, tucking the edges inside as you press.
  16. Position the pocket on the lining, and stitch the sides and bottom in place.
  17. Fold under the curved edge of the lining pieces 1/4", and press in place.
  18. Sew the side seams and the bottom seam with a 1/4" seam. Fold and stitch the corners to match the handbag.
  19. Place the lining inside the handbag, and slipstitch the upper edge in place along the zipper.
  20. Braid the leather lacing, keeping the braid flat with the leather right side up. Secure the ends temporarily with a paper clip.
  21. Slip the ends through the D rings to create a strap. Adjust the length as desired.
  22. Remove the paper clip and weave the ends into the back side of the braid. Secure with craft glue. When the glue is dry, trim the ends.
  23. Attach a decorative zipper pull.

Pockets, Pockets, Pockets Handbag With Bamboo Handles

Fabric and Notions Required for:
  • McCall's 4323, View D
  • 1/2 yd. outdoor canvas
  • 3/4 yd. lining fabric
  • 3/4 yd. heavy weight fusible interfacing
  • 1/2 yd. craft fleece
  • 3 1/2" x 7 1/2" Timtex
  • Magnetic snap closure
  • 1 pair Bamboo handles
  • 7" zipper to match lining
  • 3/4 yd. 1/4" elastic
  • 2" of Velcro
  • 2 decorative buttons (optional)
  • Jeweler's glue (optional)
  • All purpose sewing thread to match lining fabric
  • Upholstery thread to match canvas
  • Card stock
  • Double faced tape

Download Pockets, Pockets, Pockets pattern as a PDF Instructions:
  1. Print out patterns and templates for Pockets, Pockets, Pockets!
  2. Cut out the pattern pieces from the McCall's pattern for tote bag, View D.
  3. Make the following adjustments to the pattern:
    * Eliminate the curved cut-out by drawing a straight line across the top of the pattern for the Front and Back.
    * Draw a matching line across the pattern piece for the Front and Back Facing.
    * Create a center panel for the tote by marking the bottom center of the Front and Back. Measure 2 1/2" from the center on each side and make a mark. Draw a line from each mark to the 'dot' at the top of the tote. Cut apart the pattern piece along these lines, and add a 1/2" seam allowance to both cut edges.
  4. Cut out 2 center panels, 2 pairs of side panels, 2 Front and Back Facings, and 1 Bottom from the canvas. Cut lining as directed, and cut matching pieces from the heavy weight interfacing. Iron in place. Additional pieces for the pockets will be cut during construction.
  5. Add an elasticized pocket to the lining:
    * Cut a 13" by 22" rectangle from lining fabric.
    * Press in half lengthwise. Stitch a 3/8" casing along the fold.
    * Crease to mark the center.
    * Use the template pattern to mark additional creases, and trim ends to match the template.
    * Thread the 1/4" elastic through the casing, with excess elastic extending beyond each end of the pocket.
    * On one lining panel, crease to mark the center, and add additional creases at each 'dot' on the lower edge.
    * Place the pocket panel over the lining panel, matching the bottom edges, and aligning the center creases. Stitch along the center crease from the bottom edge to the top of the pocket.
    * Align the next set of creases, and pin in place.
    * Match the edge of the pocket with the edge of the lining, and pin in place.
    Pull the elastic until the top edge of the pocket lies flat against the lining. Pin the ends of the elastic and distribute the gathers evenly along the top edge.
    * Stitch along the crease marks from the bottom edge to the top edge of the pocket. Baste along the outside edge, securing the elastic and keeping the basting within the seam allowance.
    * Pleat the additional fullness along the bottom edge, forming box pleats at the crease lines. Baste across the bottom edge.
  6. Add a zippered pocket to the lining:
    * Draw a rectangle 7/8" by 7 1/2" on card stock. Cut out the rectangle. This is your zipper template.
    * From lining fabric, cut a rectangle 8 1/2" by 13" for the pocket.
    * Mark the center of one of the 8 1/2" sides. Place the pocket over the second lining panel with right sides together, aligning the top edges and the center marks. Pin in place.
    * Center the template along the upper edge of the pocket. Secure using double faced tape.

    * Using a stitch length of 2, stitch around the template, pivoting at the corners. Trim the seam to 1/4", clipping the corners. Turn right sides out and press.
    * Place the pocket unit over the zipper. Pin in place. Edge stitch the secure the zipper in place.

    * Fold the pocket in half so that the top edge of the pocket matches the top edge of the lining panel, with right sides together. Stitch the side seams.
    * Baste across the top of the pocket and zipper.
  7. Sew the Front and Back Facings to the lining panels. Edge stitch the facing.
  8. Cut a strip 2 1/2" by 12" from the canvas.
  9. Fold the long edges to meet in the center and press. Fold the strip in half and edge stitch along both edges. Cut into 3" sections. These will be the straps that hold the handles in place.
  10. Slip each section though the ends of the bamboo handles. Match the ends and pin together.
  11. Place each handle at the top edge of a lining panel. Match the raw edges of the straps to the top edge of the lining panel, centering the handle. Baste each strap in place.
  12. Cut out the closure flap and cut a matching piece from craft fleece.
  13. Place one of the pieces on top of the fleece, and attach the magnetic fastener at the X, through both layers.
  14. Place the second piece on top with right sides together, and stitch around the flap, leaving the top open.
  15. Turn right sides out, and edge stitch.
  16. Center the top edge of the flap between the handle on the lining panel with the elasticized pocket. Baste.
  17. Sew the side seams, and sew in the bottom, leaving an opening as directed by the pattern instructions. This completes the lining for the tote bag.
  18. Cut out the pocket flap as directed and cut a matching piece of craft fleece.
  19. Cut a 2" piece from the hook side of the Velcro.
  20. Place one of the pocket flaps on top of the craft fleece and stitch the Velcro in place at the X.
  21. Place the second piece on top with right sides together and stitch around the flap, leaving the top open.
  22. Turn right sides out and edge stitch.
  23. Create the pleated pocket:
    * Cut out the pleated pocket as directed.
    * Sew the pocket to the pocket lining across the top (widest) edge. Fold right sides out and edge stitch.
    * Cut a 1" piece from the loop side of the Velcro.
    * Position the Velcro at the X, and stitch in place. The matching piece of Velcro on the pocket flap is larger than the Velcro on the pocket. This allows for adjustment, depending on the how much is in the pocket!
    * Fold along the marked lines, wrong sides together, and edge stitch.
    * Match the pocket side edges to the center panel, starting at the bottom edge. Baste in place.
    * Flatten the lower edge of the pocket, creating pleats at the corners. The edge stitching should be 1/2" from the side edges. Baste.
    * Position the pocket flap 1" above the top edge of the pocket. The point should be pointing up, and the Velcro side should be facing you.
    * Stitch in place, a scant 1/4" from the unfinished edge.
    * Fold the pocket flap down and topstitch in place, enclosing the unfinished edge.
  24. Sew the side panels to each center panel with a 1/2" seam. Finger press the seam allowances toward the side panels, and topstitch in place.
  25. Cut a piece of craft fleece to match each completed panel. Baste in place.
  26. Attach the second half of the magnetic snap closure to the plain panel, centering it at the top edge of the center panel, 1" from the top edge.
  27. Cut a piece of craft fleece to match the bottom, and baste in place.
  28. Sew the side seams and sew in the bottom as directed by the pattern instructions.
  29. With the tote bag inside out, cut a slit at one end of the bottom panel, in the craft fleece only. Insert the Timtex, and whipstitch the slit closed. Turn the bag right sides out.
  30. Place the tote bag inside the bag lining, with right sides together. The closure flap should be sandwiched between the lining and the center panel with the pocket. Match the side seams and pin in place.
  31. Sew the bag to the lining at the top edge. Trim away the excess craft fleece from the seam allowance. Turn the bag right sides out through the opening in the bag lining.
  32. Slipstitch the opening closed. Smooth the lining into the tote bag. Topstitch the upper edge to complete the bag. If desired, snip off the shanks from the decorative buttons. Glue buttons to the completed tote on each flap, using jeweler's glue.

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