You know those projects where you have a great idea and the bits and pieces for sitting around for, oh, say, several years before you get around to sewing them? And then you’re like “that took me one evening why the heck did I wait so long?” Yeah, this is exactly that kind of project. Many years ago my great grandmother Roseada gave me a carpetbag that was hers that I adored and used to carry my knitting. I can’t actually remember when I lost it but I do remember being sad that it got lost. Since then I’ve carried my knitting around in various little zippered pouches which is great for lace and socks, but bigger knits really deserve something prettier than the ziploc bags they end up in when they outgrow my zippered pouches!
My mom found these pretty vintage needlepoint chair seats in an antique store and bought them without any plan for them. I inherited them (*ahem* took them from her) at some point with the idea of turning them into a carpet bag style purse. I picket up the wood handles at the thrift store just to stash them and they turned out to be a perfect match.
I started by experimenting with the handle and how to attach it to the purse. It was the perfect width so I ended up just threading a piece of upholstery velvet through the handle with the ends folded under 1/2″ and basting the fabric together so I could sew it into the purse without any visible stitching.
I sewed a rectangle of upholstery velvet around the curved sides of the needlepoint and made a canvas lining to match. The upholstery velvet is great for these kinds of projects because it’s stain resistant, doesn’t have a nap, and gives the purse light structure without having to use interfacing. I actually had a piece of hard foam in my stash the exact width and length of the purse bottom so I slid it between the lining and body to help the bag hold its shape.
I finished the top edge by sewing a band of the upholstery fabric right sides together. I then understitched it (the only visible stitching in the purse) and the folded the bottom edge of the band under and hand stitched it to the lining. It didn’t take long and it was totally worth it for the clean and tidy finish.