Fabric Cradle Purse : A new take on the old crocheted fave!

3/05/2012 01:58:00 AM

It's time to revisit an old favorite!  My dear Grandma used to make those cute little crocheted purses to sell at craft fairs. She made them for my girls one Christmas too, and they just loved them.  You know the ones, don't you?  They are all over the internet.  She taught me how to make them when I was about 22 or so, and I used to sell them at markets, along with other baby things and countrified treasures. That was so long ago... yikes.

I don't know why, but I was thinking of my Mom and my Grandma and how they taught me to sew, knit and crochet and it got me thinking about these little purses.  I had this thought niggling at my poor rattled brain for a few days saying "you should make one".   But why?  My girls are all grown up and I don't really crochet anymore, plus I love sewing things that are a little bit more modern.  Then it occurred to me, that I could sew one.  And that was all it took for me to be instantly obsessed with completing my next project to be.

They turned out really cute, and I think any little girl would be happy to get one for Christmas or any other time of the year.  I'd make some more, but my 6 year old son and his little friends probably wouldn't be as impressed as a little girl you might know, so I thought I'd share this tutorial.

This little purse will hold a baby that is about 6" long.  You can always make it longer if you need to by just adding length to all of your pieces.  If you have any questions, please email me.  Happy Sewing!


Piece 1:  Cut 1 circle for bonnet/canopy that
is about 8" diameter.  I used a small mixing bowl.

Piece 2:  Cut 2 rectangles 5" x 9" from each of lining fabric, main fabric, and also interfacing (I use a stiff sew-in, medium-heavy.  Fusible also works.) Interfacing is very important to make the bottom of the bag stiff.  Don't forget it!

Piece 3:  Cut 3 pieces 2.5" x 22" (Or you may use any lengths to add up to a length of approx 66", just sew them together) for ruffle.

Piece 4:  Cut 4 rectangles that are 4" x 15" from exterior fabric. (The picture to the right shows them wider, because was taken during my 'trial' and I unfortunately forgot to take another when my instructions were 'fine tuned'!!)

Cord or Ribbon:  Have at least one meter or yard of ribbon or cord for purse strings.

Seams:  Use a 3/8" seam unless otherwise noted.

Make the ruffle:

Sew the long ruffle strips together to make one length.  Press seams open. Press raw ends over 1/4 to 1/2".  Press the whole strip in half along long side.

Set your machine tension so you bobbin thread is as tight as it goes, this setting is 9 on my machine.  This will gather your fabric as you sew. Using your longest (basting) stitch, stitch along the long edges, stitching the open edges closed. Use a 1/8" - 1/4" seam and leave long thread ends so you can adjust gathers later if needed.  Set ruffle aside for now.  And.... put your tension back to normal!

Click picture to enlarge.
Make the bag/cradle exterior and lining:

Attach your interfacing to the wrong side of Piece 2 rectangles cut from main fabric.  If using sew in, you can pin in place, and if using fusible - adhere using manufacturers directions.  You will not see interfacing in my directions because although I figured out how to make a cradle purse, I'm a bit of an idiot and forgot the interfacing.  I have deeply regretted it.  Pretend it's there please!

Place your two Piece 2 rectangles (with interfacing, don't forget it) right sides together.  Sew around 3 sides, making sure to back stitch at start and stop.  (You need to sew the side seams (5" sides) and the bottom (1 of the 9" sides) and leave one 9" side open for the opening.)  Press or "finger press" seams open.

Box corners by pulling the bag bottom apart and folding down the side seam to match the bottom seam.  This works best if seams are pressed open.  Make sure the seams on the top match the seams on the bottom and are centered.  Pin place to secure.  Do this for both corners.

 Measure 1" down from point tip, and draw a line across.

Stitch line, making sure you back stitch at start and stop. Trim off points, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance

Repeat this process for lining fabric too, but when you initially stitch the two pieces together remember to make sure you leave a 3 inch opening in center of bottom for turning.  Sew  seams, and box corners just as you did with the other.  Set both bag bottoms aside for now.

Make the skirt:

Pair up your Piece 4 rectangles, and with right sides together, sew seams on the short sides only.

Press seams open.  You will have two loops.  Put one aside for now.

On the right side of one fabric loop, you will make a button hole for your drawstring ribbon or cord to go in/out.   Place the button hole 1/2" from edge, centered on the seam.  Make the button hole large enough for your cord to go through, mine was 3/4" long.   Placing it on the seam not only centers it on the ends of your bag, but creates a thickness to sew through and makes the button hole easier to sew.

Make a matching button hole, in the exact same place on the seam on the other side of the fabric loop.  Your loop will look like this:  Two button holes on side seams, 1/2" from edge.

Attach the ruffle to the skirt:
First take the ruffle you made earlier, and hold it against one of the fabric loops you just made, and ensure that it is long enough to go around the circumference of the loop.  Adjust gathers if needed, it can be a bit longer, but not too short.

Place one fabric loop (Piece 4) inside the other, with right sides together.  Slide the ruffle in between the two fabric loops, aligning raw edges.  IMPORTANT:  Make sure you are placing the ruffle on the side of the fabric loops that have the button hole close to the edge.

Using a 3/8" seam, sew around loop, along the raw edges with fabric ruffle in between layers. 

Open both sides of the fabric skirt back, turning it rights side out and exposing the ruffle.  Press both sides.

Top stitch through all layers 1/8" from ruffle edge (optional).

Create the sleeve for your cord/ribbon by stitching through all layers, 1 to 1.25" away from ruffle.

Attach the skirt:

Run a basting stitch by hand or machine around the top edge of the skirt.  Do two runs of basting stitching, one on each side. Go from side seam to side seam on one side, and do another on the other side.

Pin the skirt to the bag bottom, matching side seams.  IMPORTANT:  Make sure the button holes are on the inside and not facing the outside. 

Pull up gathers along one side, fit to bag edge, and pin to top edge of bag.

Pull up gathers on other side and pin to edge.

Sew skirt to bag bottom using only a 1/4" seam that will not show when you do your final stitching.  Sew around top, but do not do a full 3/8" seam.

Make the canopy:

Fold circle in half, wrong sides together.  Press.  Topstitch along straight edge.
Fold half circle into three, creating a pie shape. Press to mark folds and then open out again.

Sew two simple darts, one on each of the fold lines you have just made.  The wide bottom of the dart (along raw edge of circle) will be 1 inch over from the fold.  Top point of the dart will be about 1.5" up from the raw edge.  Make sure you back stitch starts and stops.

Here the two darts are pictured, the stitching line is the white line.  This side, will be considered the inside of the canopy.

In order to make the canopy "curl" a bit more, I added another small pleat to each side.  Halfway between the dart and the outside edge, fold a little 1/4" pleat and pin.  Repeat for the other side.

Using a 1/8" - 1/4" seam, stay stitch over the pleats and darts along bottom of canopy.

Center the canopy at the end of bag with skirt.  Center the middle of the canopy at the end seam.  Have the inside of the canopy facing out, and the nice side facing the bag.  Stitch around to stay stitch using a 1/8" to 1/4" seam.  Leave this all exactly as is, we are going to slide this down in the lining piece.

Attach the lining:

Slide the bag lining, with the right side in, wrong side facing out, up and around the bag bottom and skirt piece, enclosing the skirt and canopy all in between.  Pin around top opening.  Sew a 3/8" seam all around the top opening.  

Reach up through the whole in the bottom of the lining and pull the bag through.  Bam, it looks like a funny hat.

Anchor the lining to the bag bottom:

Before sewing the opening in the lining closed, reach in through the opening and pull up one of the seam allowances  of the boxed corner.  Match this with the seam allowance of the boxed corner (from the same end) of the lining and sew across seam allowance to secure.  Repeat for other seam allowance.   Slip stitch the hole in the lining closed and push the lining into the bottom of the purse.

Almost done!

Thread the cord/ribbon:

Attach a safety pin to a length of ribbon that is long enough to go around the bag and still have extra to tie in a knot.  Thread through one hole, all the way around, ignoring the other hole and back out the same hole you went in.  Tie off cord ends in a knot.

Repeat this with the other cord and the other button hole, this will give you two purse strings.  Me, I only have one... because my cord was too fat and I didn't have any ribbon!

Voila!  You are done!
I hope you love this tutorial.  Share your bags on my Flickr page, if you like.  Try making a little blanket and maybe even a cute mini-pillow to match!

A cute ruffled purse.
With an adorable baby cradle inside.

Thank you for looking!

If you have found this tutorial helpful in the slightest way, please follow my blog by either GFC, Blog-lovin, Email or signing up for my Newsletter on the right side bar.   And... please share your finished bags with me in the Emmaline Bags Flickr Group.  I love to see your finished Emmaline inspired projects!

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The contents of this blog, including text, original photos and ideas are the sole property of the author. If you intend to use my text or images, please link back to this blog and give credit to Emmaline Bags & Patterns. A notification email would be greatly appreciated too! Please do not ever republish an entire post, any tutorials, or post photos of my family. Thank you, Janelle

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