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Debbie ShoreThis exclusive project has been designed by well-known sewing expert and TV star, Debbie Shore. Visit Debbie's website for great projects and video tutorials.

Debbie has written a fabulous new bagmaking book 'Sew Brilliant Bags' published by Search Press. 

Faux Leather Handbag

Faux leather handbag project

This classy looking handbag is actually quite simple to make. I’ve chosen linen look fabric and faux leather, but it would work equally well with cotton, canvas or denim.


You will need...

  • For the outer top section, two pieces of faux leather measuring 30cm x 7.5cm. For faux leather, visit Remnant Kings or Minerva Crafts for good selections.
  • For the outer middle section, two pieces of floral fabric measuring 30cm x 10cm
  • For the outer base section, two pieces of faux leather measuring 30cm x 10cm
  • For the outer side panels, cut two rectangles of faux leather measuring 15cm x 24cm
  • Two rectangles of lining fabric measuring 15cm x 24cm
  • For the outer base, cut one piece of faux leather measuring 30cm x 15cm.
  • One piece of lining fabric measuring 30cm x 15cm
  • For the flap, cut one piece of floral fabric measuring 27cm x 18cm
  • One piece of lining measuring 27cm x 18cm
  • Wadding to back each outer section, approx. 50cm x 100cm in total
  • For the strap, a strip of floral fabric measuring 20cm x 80cm
  • 1 magnetic clasp
  • Repositionable spray fabric adhesive such as 'Stick and Spray' for fabric
  • 13cm circle template and erasable ink pen
  • A button to decorate, I covered one of my Button Factory buttons in faux leather. You can buy pre-covered faux leather buttons at Raystitch.

 Use a 1cm seam allowance throughout.

To Sew

Constructing the main bag panels

1. Sew the outer three sections together, with the floral fabric in the centre. Press, (if you’re using faux leather, make sure you press from the wrong side) then topstitch along each side of the seams.

Shaping side panels

  2. Take the side outer and lining side pieces, measure and mark 6cm along the top from each corner. Using a rotary cutter, ruler and mat, trim away the fabric from the bottom corners to these marks. Your side panels will look like the picture above.

Rounding off corners

3. Use your circle template to round off the bottom corners of the floral and lining flap fabric.


Fuse wadding to bag pieces

 4. Fuse wadding to the side, front and back, base and flap of the bag.

Apply magnetic clasp

5. Mark the centre of the flap lining, measure and mark 3cm from the curved edge. Apply the slimmer half of your magnetic clasp.

Making a bag flap

 6. Sew the floral and lining parts of the flap right sides together, leaving the top open. Turn the right side out and press, then edge stitch around the seam.

Sew flap to main bag body

7. Sew the flap, centrally and right sides together to the back section of the bag, close to the raw edge of the fabric.

Attach back to front

8. Place the front and back of the bag wrong sides together and fold over the flap - you can now mark the position of the second half of the magnetic clas. This should fit to the floral section of the panel.

Sew the bag together

 9. Sew the front and back sections of the bag right sides together with the side panels to make a tube.

Adding a bag base

 10. Then sew in the base. Turn the right side out.

Make a handbag strap

 11. To make the strap, fold the fabric in half lengthways, then fold each side to the centre and pres. Fold in half and press again, then topstitch all the way round.

Sew straps to bag

12. Sew the straps to either side of the outer bag as shown, close to the edges, and making sure the strap isn’t twisted!

Add a lining to a bag

13. Sew together the lining pieces in the same way as the outer pieces, but this time leave an opening in the base of about 10cm for turning.

How to add a bag lining

14. Drop the outer bag inside the lining so that the right sides are together. Sew all the way around the top - you may find it easier to use the free arm on your sewing machine.

Bag project by Debbie Shore

15. Pull the whole bag through the hole in the lining, then sew over the gap. Push the lining inside the bag and press. Edge stitch around the top of the bag. Add the button to the flap to decorate. Have fun!

Project from Sew Brilliant Bags

'Sew Brilliant Bags'  has 12 bag patterns in all shapes and sizes made in modern fabrics.  It also has advice and techniques for designing your own bags or customising existing patterns. You can purchase it for £9.99 from Search Press.

You may enjoy our other bagmaking projects here.

Free bag patterns UK