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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Cross-Shoulder Strap

When my awesome pattern testers were sewing up their Presidio Purses, a few people made changes to their pattern (like making it smaller) and a few people requested changes to the pattern (like making the strap adjustable). The lovely Jana hacked her purse handle so she could carry the bag across her shoulder. Here, in the final post of Presidio Purse sewalong, this tutorial explains how to lengthen your presidio purse strap and how to make the strap adjustable. Making the strap long enough to go over your shoulder is very simple. All you have to do is cut all the strap pieces (whichever view you’re using) in the center of the strap and separate them by a number of inches. I found that moving my pieces 10 inches apart was a great across-the-shoulder length for me, but you can experiment a bit with what works well for you. Cutting …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Front Pocket Hidden in the Inset

I love pockets. And secret pockets? Even cooler. While the Presidio Purse already has two interior pockets and a bonus tutorial for how to add a patch pocket to the front, I wanted to add one more tutorial for secret hidden pockets. So, follow this tutorial if you want to turn the front insets into functional hidden zipper pockets. You will need (in addition to the standard purse front and inset): 14″ or longer zipper and 2 plain insets cut from lining fabric. I’m showing this tutorial on a plain purse inset because it is easier than a gathered inset. If you really want a gathered purse inset, start by gathering the top of your purse inset so that at 1/2″ in (the seamline), it is 14″ across the top. Even if your purse inset is gathered, your pocket insets will still be plain. Sew a zipper to the top of …

Presidio Purse Sewalong: Shrunken Purse

So, you like the Presidio Purse but don’t feel the need to carry the kitchen sink around with you? Have a petite frame and worry about being overwhelmed by your purse? How about following the example of the creative Kelly of Flowercat Designs and Erin of F is for Flamingo and shrinking your purse? The nice thing about using a pdf pattern for this purse is that you can print it at whatever size you would like. Kelly printed hers at 80% while Erin printed hers at 75%. Because you are scaling all pieces evenly, everything should still fit together exactly as marked. The only place that you will probably need to make changes is to your strap. The strap is fairly short on this purse in its native state, so it will probably be too short when shrunken. Remember that shrinking the purse also shrinks the width of the …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Handles

Drumroll please….. This is the last step of construction for the Presidio Purse! There are still a few posts to come on different customization options, but this is the last post you’ll need to sew your own, from start to finish. So, let’s get going! Handle A: Sew Handle A interfacing to Handle A on the short ends using a 1/4″ seam allowance, with the non-fusible side of the interfacing against the right side of the fabric. Turn the fabric right side out and fuse the interfacing to the Handle. You can see here that I added an extra layer of interfacing to the center of the handle (it’s more opaque). In all honesty, it was leftover from when I was experimenting with different handle construction techniques. However, if your fabric is lightweight, loose weave, or otherwise not up to a lot of wear and tear, you may opt to …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Inserting the Zipper

If you want to insert piping at the edges of the zipper tape, sew it on now, following the “how to add piping” part of the sewalong. The way that this zipper is inserted, part of the zipper tape is visible, so your piping won’t show up much if it is the same color (like I did with mine, unfortunately. Turns out black on black doesn’t show up a whole lot.). If you are using a separating zipper, which is easier because you don’t have to worry about twisting your zipper tape, unzip the zipper all of the way. Pin it to the top curved part of the bag with the teeth facing down so that the teeth are more than 1/2″ away from the top of the bag. (Teeth facing down means both teeth are pointed away from raw edge of the bag and the right side of the …

Presidio Purse Sewalong: Front Insets and Body Construction

Insets, here we come! There are three options in the pattern for customizing the front of your Presidio Purse – plain (ungathered) inserts, gathered inserts, or leave them off. Either gathered or ungathered insets can be piped and they can be cut from the main or a contrast fabric. A note: the pattern testers (shown above), received an inset piece that was somewhere in between the final plain and gathered options, so your finished purse will look a little different. If you are using gathered insets, you will start by stitching two rows of gathering stitches along the notched edge. These are straight stitches using your longest stitch length (like you would for basting). Sew them at 3/8″ and 5/8″, just inside and outside of the 1/2″ seam allowance. Gently pull on the bobbin threads to gather the fabric a bit. If you are using plain insets, you may want …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Adding Piping

Adding piping is a fun way to add a pop of color or a bit of definition to your purse. Dangerously Alice added a couple of different colors to hers and they sure make an otherwise plain bag pop (along with that great topstitching!)! Ellen put piping in just around the front inset to really make the design detail stand out while using the same fabric throughout. Shanni put piping around the edges of the Bottom/Sides which plays up the round shape of the bag. When I sewed my most recent presidio purse, I put it on every seam. So play around with piping color and placement – you can get a lot of different effects with a simple design decision. Adding piping to a seam isn’t that hard. If you are comfortable inserting zippers, you can totally handle piping! After you’ve decided where you want to put your piping, …

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Presidio Purse Variation: External Pockets

This customization option was the brainchild of Tia Cuervito. She wanted her cell phone and keys to be even more readily accessible than using pockets inside the purse and decided to add an additional pocket to the outside. One way to add an extra pocket on the outside of your purse is to exactly follow the instructions for the internal pocket/s but instead sew them out of your main fabric and sew them to the purse Back instead of the Back Lining. You will want to cut the pocket pieces out of your main fabric instead of your lining fabric. If you follow the alternative fully finished internal pocket instructions, you will want to use one piece of main fabric and one piece of lining fabric for each pattern piece. I’m going to walk you through how to sew a basic patch pocket to the back of the purse that …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Pockets (Simple and Finished Edge Variation)

Stay Stitching: Before doing anything, run a line of stay stitching along the top curved edge of the Front, Back, Front Lining, and Back Lining. Stay stitching is a straight line of stitching that goes just inside of the seam allowance to help prevent curved fabric from stretching as it is manipulated. Use a normal stitch length and a 3/8″ seam allowance to sew just inside of the 1/2″ seam allowance used for construction of the bag.   How to stay stitch the purse in a sewalong video. Pockets: I’ll go through both methods of constructing the pockets – the easy version and the slightly more difficult fully lined version. Note that while the seam allowance is 1/2″ for the bag construction, all of the seams used in constructing the pockets are 1/4″. Simple version – Small Pocket: This has the advantage that it is faster and easier and requires less fabric. It …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Marking the Fabric

There are several different places to mark on this pattern to help you get everything lined up perfectly and several different ways that you can make those marks. In short: – notches on Front/Back, Front/Back Lining, Insets (plain or gathered), Bottom/Sides and Bottom/Sides lining – cut lines on Front/Back (for inset insertion) – handle/anchor placement guides on Bottom/Sides – pocket placement guides on Back Lining – stitching guides on Small Pocket To mark notches, you can snip in, triangle out, or chalk. To mark cut lines and placement guides you can trace with wax paper, cut the pattern and chalk it, or use tailor’s tacks (How to mark tailor’s tacks). You will want to the placement/stitch lines to be on the right side of your fabric. The cut line can be on the right or wrong side. Now to go in to detail: First, we need to mark the cut …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Cutting the Pattern and Fabric

The Presidio Purse comes with two different options for printing – at home or at a copyshop. The copyshop version is 30″ by 36″ (76cm by 91cm) and should be easily printed at any copyshop that offers large format printing. Ask for architecture or engineering prints for the best price. The home print version prints on 18 sheets of either 8.5 x 11″ or A4 paper. Make sure that you select “Do Not Scale” and “Auto-Rotate and Center” or manually set the scale to 100% when you print – the exact wording and options will depend upon your computer (“Auto-Rotate and Center” ensures that the image is centered on the page and not smushed to one side). Check that the 3″ x 3″ test square (printed on page 5) is the correct size. The instructions are separate and can be printed or read on your computer or digital device. All …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Hardware and Zippers

The Presidio Purse has two purse handle options – one is all fabric and one has a rectangular ring on each strap. Sourcing these 2″ rectangular rings isn’t easy, unfortunately. When I designed the purse, I had them in my stash and had kinda forgotten that I had cut them off of an old RTW purse that fell apart. When I went to sew another, I couldn’t easily find 2″ rectangular rings – I checked 2 fabric stores and 2 hardware stores. I did eventually find them in a leather supply store (at S.H. Frank, for those in the Bay Area). It’s worth making a note for the future that leather supply stores usually have a great selection of hardware for purses, bags and belts. If you don’t have ready access to a leather supply store, Etsy is a good resource (I searched “2 inch rectangle ring” in supplies to find …

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Presidio Purse Sewalong: Choosing Fabric

Let’s get this sewalong started! [If, during this post or any other in the sewalong, I don’t cover your specific question, just ask! I’m happy to continue updating these posts as I go so they are as comprehensive as possible.] The first step is choosing fabric. In this post, I’ll talk through fabric choices for the body, lining, and interfacing.  Above, I’ve put together an introduction to the Presidio Purse and what you can expect from the sewalong. Body: The pattern calls for canvas, upholstery fabrics, denim, corduroy, or heavy twills for the body of the purse. You want something sturdy. If you are a beginning sewist, I recommend canvas, denim, or a heavy twill as cotton is easy to press (unlike many upholstery fabrics) and corduroy requires working with a nap. The thicker and stiffer your fabric is (i.e. the less drape it has), the more the purse will …