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This is from the bag making series by Christine Down. Christine loves making bags and purses so much so that she used to run an on-line shop selling bag making supplies, she is now retired. 

Frame Bag Tutorial

Framed purse tutorial


If you missed the previous parts of this series find them here:

Tools and equipment used for bag making

Fabric, interfacing and patterns

Handles, frames and closures

Bag making techniques and tutorials



This pattern and tutorial is for a channel or “glue in” curved frame 8cm wide and 5cm high.

You will need a fat quarter (quarter of  metre) cotton for outside, fat quarter of cotton for lining, fat quarter iron on interfacing medium weight, fat quarter Thermolam fleece and half a metre piping cord.

You will also need Gutermann Creativ HT2, and a small pointy tool for applying purse body to frame.  Seam allowance is 1cm throughout.

Using the pattern cut out 2 of each of the following:  main bag body, lining, iron on interfacing and Thermolam fleece.


How to make a frame purse

Pieces needed for the purse with 2 frames - only 1 needed for purse


Iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of the main body pieces. Place the Thermolam onto the interfacing.  Secure in place using pins, clips or 505 spray fabric glue. Place the pattern back onto the Thermolam and transfer the markings.

Place the main body pieces right sides together and pin in place.  Stitch around the body pieces from side mark to side mark, leaving the top unsewn.


How to sew a purse with a metal frame


Unpin. Put your hand inside the main body and push the corners flat. The side seams and the bottom seam should be on top of each other.


Frame purse sewing project


Pin the seams flat. Measure from the corner along the seam for 3cm. Mark  Using a ruler draw a line across the corner at the 3cm mark.


Frame purse project


Stitch across this line, repeat for the side. Clip the corners off then turn to the right way around.


Bag making instructions Bag sewing techniques


Place the lining fabric wrong sides together. Stitch around the lining as you did for the main body, except this time leave a gap on the bottom of the lining.

How to sew a lined frame purse


Push the corners flat and stitch as you did for the main body.  Leave the lining inside out and place the main body inside it. Pin around the tops.


Bag making tutorials for beginners Learn how to sew a bag or purse


Stitch around both sides of the top starting and finishing where the previous stitching ends.


Bag making supplies and tutorials from Sew Christine


Using the gap in the bottom of the lining, pull the bag body through the gap. Keep pulling until all the main fabric is outside the lining. Push the corners into shape and push both sides of the top out. 


How to make a pretty lined purse Sewing for beginners


Stitch the gap closed. (You can either use your machine and topstitch or slipstitch by hand.)


Gluing a frame into a purse


Apply the glue into one channel of the frame and to the top seam of one side of the bag body.


How to make a glue frame purse or bag Using glue frames in purses

Once you have glued ONE SIDE ONLY of the frame and the bag body, leave until the glue is no longer tacky, about 10 minutes

As this is contact glue, the glue will “grab” when it touches even after it has lost its tackiness. Using the pointy tool (I use a metal grouting tool, but a small, flat screwdriver or embroidery scissors could be used).  Push the glued bag top into the glued channel. Make sure the corner of the bag top lines up with hinge on the frame.

Bag makng guides for beginners


Repeat for the other side. Again, wait until the glue is practically dry before pushing into the frame. Check the front and the back sides of the frame to make sure the lining and the main fabric are both pushed in properly. Try not to get glue onto the fabric as it is very hard to remove. Glue on the metal frame, on the other hand, is easy to remove by picking it off once it dries. Any remaining glue can be removed with Eucalyptus oil on a clean cotton cloth.

Bag making supplies and patterns from Sew Christine


Take some piping cord and push it into the frame from the lining side. Push it in to the extent that it can’t be seen.

Finished frame purse

Find other bag making projects here. 

Free patterns for sewing bags