African Purse Pattern

African purse pattern

African purse pattern

Some of my African fabric has a design of squares which makes it perfect for a simple African purse pattern.  The squares are not necessary for the pattern, but they do help to make a pretty purse.  Usually when I make a clutch bag I layer the fabric and then fold it in thirds so that the front of the pouch part consists of three layers.  For this purse pattern, I have used a single layer of fabric for the front of the pouch and it makes for a very simple and quick project.

Cutting requirements for the African purse pattern

6.3/4″ by 12″ rectangle in top fabric, wadding and lining fabric

6.3/4″ by 5.1/2″ rectangle in contrasting fabric for front of pouch

2″ strip of binding fabric about 45″ long

1″ by 4″ strip of fabric for button loop

button

Layer the fabric for the puse pattern

Layer the fabric for the purse pattern

Make a loop for the button

Make a loop for the button

Making the African purse pattern

Lay the lining fabric with right side down.  Add the wadding and then the top fabric with right side up – the same layering as for any quilt.  Pin to secure the layers.

Make a loop for the button:  fold the edges of the strip in to the middle and then fold in half so that all the raw edges are concealed.  Sew along the strip to keep the folds in place.

Add the small rectangle and the button loop

Add the small rectangle and the button loop

Sew the binding all round

Sew the binding all round

Turn under a small double hem on one 6.3/4″ edge of the fabric for the front of the pouch.  Sew in place.  Place this rectangle on the lining fabric with right side up.  Make sure that the hemmed edge is at the top.  Place the button loop in the middle of the bottom edge, on top of all the layers.  Pin.

Fold the binding strip in half along the length and press.  Place this on the top of the African purse pattern fabrics with the fold towards the middle and all the raw edges in line – just like any binding for a quilt.

Slipstitch the binding in place

Slipstitch the binding in place

Sew the binding in place and then flip to the other side to slip stitch in place.  I’ve chosen to have the hand sewing on the outside of the purse mainly because I wanted the purse lining to be on top when I was machine sewing the binding on – that way I felt that the button loop would be more secure, and also I could make sure that the loop stayed in place while I was sewing.

Sew the button on the front

Sew the button on the front

Fold the purse in half, pull the button loop out so that it is visible and sew a button in place to secure the flap.  It really hasn’t taken me long to make this African purse pattern and I think it will make a great small gift for someone at Christmas.  If you wanted to make the pouch more secure you could add a zip or a button to secure the front of the pouch to the lining, but I have made the most simple version here.

 

Here’s the video:

African Fabric Tote Bag

 

African fabric tote bag

African fabric tote bag

African fabric

African fabric

This African fabric tote bag is the first project that I have made with the fabric that I brought back from Zimbabwe.  I agonised for ages before I cut it, but in the end I decided to cut the individual designs and sew them as separate blocks.  This also means, of course, that I can make the fabric last longer!

The bits that I cut are about 7″ wide, but there’s no point me giving a detailed tutorial here because obviously you are likely to have different sized blocks of any fabric that you wish to showcase.

Sew black strips between the designs

Sew black strips between the designs

Sew black strips down the sides

Sew black strips down the sides

What I did basically was sew 2″ black strips above and below the designs and 4″ strips of black on the sides.  I was aiming to get two panels the same size so that they could be the front and back of my African fabric tote bag.

I ended up with two panels 15″ by 16.1/2″, so I cut two lining panels the same size.

Sew the bag straps with right sides together

Sew the bag straps with right sides together

Turn the straps right side out

Turn the straps right side out

The bag panels I placed right sides together and sewed the sides and the bottom to make a pouch.

The lining panels I placed right sides together and sewed the sides only to make a tube.

Make the straps for the African fabric tote bag

Cut a 2.1/2″ strip each of black and of lining fabric across the width of fabric. Place right sides together and sew a seam down each side to create a tube.  Cut in half to create two straps.  Pull the straps down over themselves to turn them right side out.  Press and then topstitch down each side of each strap to hold the layers in place.

Pin the straps to the tote bag

Pin the straps to the tote bag

Check the straps are the right way round

Check the straps are the right way round

Assembling the African fabric tote bag

Turn the black bag panels right side out and press.  Pin the straps to the top of the bag with right sides together.  On the right you can see how to check that you have the straps positioned correctly.

I find it best to pin each part of the strap with two pins pointing vertically up.  This helps stop the straps from moving when you are sewing them.

Pull the lining over the bag and straps

Pull the lining over the bag and straps

Pull the lining away from the bag

Pull the lining away from the bag

With the lining still having right sides together, pull the tube down over the top of the bag and straps and line up all the raw edges at the top.  Sew all round the top – I find it safest to use a 1/2″ seam here to ensure that all the layers are caught in the stitching.

Pull the lining out away from the bag.  You’ll see that what will be the bottom of the lining is still open.

Sew the bottom of the lining

Sew the bottom of the lining

Turn under a small hem all the way round the bottom of the lining and sew a small seam across it to close the gap (this was the other end of the tube created by sewing only the sides of the lining).

Push the lining back inside the bag, gently pushing the corners out.  Top stitch around the top of the bag to hold the layers in place.

That completes my African fabric tote bag – I still have plenty more fabric and will try to be a little more adventurous with the next project!

Here’s the video:

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Thank You Zimbabwe

African fabric stash

African fabric stash

I’m back!  I’ve had a stunning time away with stops in Johannesburg, Harare and Victoria Falls so this article is going to cover some of my travels as well as some textile news.

I had planned on forgetting fabric and quilts while I was out there, but I was blown away by these lovely African fabrics that I found in Victoria Falls – I am so looking forward to making things with them.  I’m hoping to make a few kits up for whatever I decide to make with them.

Walking with a cheetah

Walking with a cheetah

Johannesburg

But I’m getting ahead of myself – the first stop was in Johannesburg where we had a tour around the city on one day and then went to the Lion Park on the second day.  Here we had a walk with a cheetah.  He was a real sweetie who was far happier lying on his back for us to tickle his tum rather than doing anything strenuous like walking!  His purring was really loud and at first Samantha was terrified, thinking that he was growling at us.

Quilt in Johannesburg airport

Quilt in Johannesburg airport

Tote bag

Tote bag

Zimbabwe

Next stop was up to Zimbabwe for the wedding in Harare.  As we walked through the airport in Johannesburg I found a couple of quilts hanging up outside one of the shops – isn’t this one lovely and bright.

I don’t often buy tote bags because I usually make my own, but I bought the one on the right – it’s a really clever design and I’m definitely going to make myself some more now that I’ve worked out how they are made.

The happy couple

The happy couple

Sunrise at Domboshawa

Sunrise at Domboshawa

The day before the wedding we all rose well before dawn and went to a local national park area called Domboshawa to watch the sun rise – oh yes, and enjoy a champagne breakfast.  Obviously we only drank the champagne in order to toast the happy couple.

My sister, the mother of the bride, worked tirelessly to organise all the trips that we went on – she must have been totally exhausted by the time we all left!

At the reception

At the reception

Bridesmaid outfit

Bridesmaid outfit

Sadly I can’t bring you photos  of the actual wedding, because there was a hiccup on immigration paperwork for the groom and at the very last moment the ceremony had to be cancelled.  We carried on with the reception afterwards anyway.  The bride and groom were so brave.  I don’t seem to have a photo of Samantha in her bridesmaid outfit, but on the right you can see one of the other bridesmaids showing off the outfit that they all wore.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Elephant ride

Elephant ride

Victoria Falls

The following morning we were up early again to fly up to the magnificent Victoria Falls.  They are known as Moasi 0 Tunya – the smoke that thunders – and no photo can bring you the full impact of the power and majesty of the falls.  The walk along the edge is known as the Rain Forest because the spray causes permanent rain to fall on you – very refreshing as it was very hot.

Giraffe grazing the tree tops

Giraffe grazing the tree tops

Black rhino with calf

Black rhino with calf

We went for an elephant ride and we saw quite a lot of game because the animals tend to notice the elephant (not the riders) so they aren’t frightened away.  We also went on a game drive in the same park and were lucky enough to see a black rhino with her calf.  What a treat that was.

I hadn’t realised just how endangered the black rhinos are – they are hunted for their horns and the poachers usually kill them and take only the horns.

Jacaranda tree

Jacaranda tree

Finally, I can’t leave an account of my magical trip to Zimbabwe without a photo of a Jacaranda tree.  They are like bluebells but growing on a tree and are really beautiful.

Now I must dash to finish the quilt for tomorrow’s newsletter – after a 26 hour journey to come home, I wasn’t up to starting the quilt yesterday.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

 

 

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