Objects old, vintage, hand made or upcyled, and old techniques with a modern twist

Small Zipped Purse

This is only a small project, but a nice and easy make that can be finished in an evening- I hope you like it!

Small Zip Purse


The finished item measures 5.5 x 3 inches (14 x 8cm), and is the ideal size to use as a purse, as a small pencil-case to keep in your handbag, or as a container to keep jewellery safe and clean when travelling. This is an ideal stash-busting project, as only small amounts of fabric are required- which also means that you could use a piece of vintage fabric, or up-cycle material from a previous incarnation!

Zip purse materials

As you can see from the above picture, the materials needed are:

  • Fabric for the purse outer layer
  • Fabric for the purse lining
  • 1 x zipper
  • Thread
  • Two lengths of fabric piping trim (optional)

The purse can be made in any size, but don’t forget to add a seam allowance. The purse shown here required a 5inch (15cm) long zipper, and I also added a 3inch (8cm) length of piping to each end (which was attached when the seams were being sewn).

zip purse making

The lining and outer were each made from one piece of fabric, with the bottom edge (the side opposite the zipper) being where the fabric was folded in half. Folding a single piece of fabric cuts down on the sewing time an produces a smooth finish, but doesn’t work so well if the pattern on your fabric has a ‘right way up’!

First I sewed together the side seams of the lining fabric; I then did the same with the outer fabric, inserting the flat side of the piping between the two layers of fabric as I sewed. I cut notches along the raw edges to stop fraying (this can be done quickly with pinking shears).

I then turned the outer piece the correct way out, and after ironing the seam allowances back, I inserted the lining into the outer purse layer, with the ‘wrong’ side of one layer lying against the ‘wrong’ side of the other layer.

The final task was to insert the zipper, pin it in position, and then sew it in place- I did this by hand (I actually sewed the whole project by hand, but a sewing machine would make faster work of the side seams) as the purse has quite a small opening.

I have one last thing to do: I want to make a ‘pull’ to attach to the zipper, but haven’t yet decided whether I want to make a red leather one, or attach a large coloured bead. Decisions, decisions…!

Small Zip Purse

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