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Presidio Purse Re-Release Testers

The pattern for the Presidio Purse didn’t change with the re-release, but the instructions underwent an overhaul so I wanted a new set of pattern testers to look at them with fresh eyes. I only had a few testers, but these ladies sure didn’t disappoint with their gorgeous bags! I wanted to thank them publicly for their helpful help and show off their beautiful bags! Kyla used an upholstery fabric with a heavy weight lining so she got a lot of structure without needing to interface the body. Her boyfriend also suggested another use for the purse – when she said it would be great for traveling he said “yea, and then you can stuff it and it will double as a pillow”. Ha! (Find Kyla on her blog). Anne used a corduroy outer (with piping all around, thanks to the sewalong instructions) and an upholstery weight lining so she …

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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: 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 …