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Sewing & Craft Alliance

Purses, Bags & Totes

Project provided courtesy of:
Hancock Fabrics. ©

Purse With A Secret

This elegant purse is just the right size for special occasions, and its clever secret compartment keeps everything safe and secure.


  • 5/8 yard fashion fabric (satin, taffeta, or shantung work well)
  • 1/2 yard polyester fleece
  • 1/2” bias tape maker
  • marking pencil
  • thread
  • seam sealant
  • Optional: temporary basting spray and buttonhole cutter

Cut from batting: One 15" x 22-1/2" piece

Cut from fashion fabric

  • One 1" x 45" piece (strap)
  • One 2" x 14-1/2" piece (binding for top cover)
  • One 2" x 7-1/2" piece (binding for top cover pocket)
  • One 2" x 12-1/2" piece (binding for purse)
  • One 2" x 6-1/2" piece (binding for purse pocket)
  • Two 15" x 22-1/2" pieces


Note – Use 1/4” seam allowance; RST = right sides together; WST = wrong sides together; WOF = width of fabric.

1. Place batting between the two layers of 15” x 22-1/2” pieces of fabric, with batting next to wrong sides of fabric. Quilt this “fabric sandwich” in a 1" to 1-1/2" grid pattern. Optional: Use basting spray to temporarily adhere layers together.

2. Cut following pieces from quilted fabric as shown in diagram below.

  • One 7-1/2" x 13" piece for top cover (a)
  • One 7-1/2" x 5-1/2" piece for top cover pocket (b)
  • Two 6-1/2" x 6" pieces for purse (c)
  • One 6-1/2" x 4-3/4" piece for purse pocket (d)

3. WST and raw edges even, press top cover pocket binding and purse pocket binding pieces in half lengthwise.

4. RST and raw edges even, stitch corresponding binding to one long edge of top cover pocket and purse pocket. Wrap binding to wrong side, stitch in place.

5. Baste wrong side of purse pocket to right side of one purse piece, matching raw edges on bottom and sides. RST, stitch purse pieces along bottom and sides. Finish raw edges.

6. RST, stitch short ends of purse binding, creating a circle. Press seam open. WST and raw edges even, press binding in half.

7. RST and raw edges even, stitch binding to top edge of purse. Wrap binding to wrong side, stitch in place. Turn purse right side out.

8. Following manufacturer's directions, use bias tape maker to press strap piece. Bring folded edges of strap together enclosing raw edges and press. Stitch close to folded edges.

9. Stitch 3/8” buttonholes in center of top cover 3/4" from edges as shown at right. Cut buttonholes open.

10. Baste wrong side of top cover pocket to right side of top cover, matching raw edges on bottom and sides.

11. RST, fold top cover in half. Stitch sides and finish raw edges.

12. Make top cover binding the same as the purse binding, referring to Step 6.

13. RST and raw edges even, stitch binding to bottom edges of top cover. Wrap binding to wrong side, stitch in place. Turn purse right side out.

14. Thread ends of strap through buttonholes of top cover from outside to inside. Pull both ends of strap out of top cover.

15. Fold raw ends of strap under 1/4". Stitch 1/2" of each strap end to inside purse at side seams, making sure to not twist strap. Top cover will now slide down strap onto purse creating a secret compartment.



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