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Faux Leather Handbag

Faux leather handbag project

This exclusive faux leather handbag 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. 

This classy looking faux leather 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 Minerva Crafts for a good selection.

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

how to make a handbag

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 for a bag

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.

Rounded corners for making a bag

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


Free bag making tutorial

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

Adding a magnetic clasp on a bag

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

Free Debbie Shore bag pattern

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.

Debbie Shore bags to sew

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

Constructing a handbag

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 clasp. This should fit to the floral section of the panel.

Faux leather bag tutorial from Debbie Shore

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

Free bag patterns UK

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

Make a bag 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.

Free bag patterns UK

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!

Make a bag lining

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.

Joining a bag and lining together

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.

5. 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. Your faux leather handbag is now ready to wear with pride. Have fun!

Sew Brilliant Bags by Debbie Shore

‘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. Above is a bag I made from the book for my son.