No Sew Purse Front

Pat Winter © 2008

   
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This method for a no sew purse front was made using a felting machine.  However, you can also use the multiple needle felting tool, such as the one available from Clover.

I love the effect that felting fabrics of various fiber contents produces so I thought making a purse front would be a new and fun surface to embellish. As a crazy quilter, I prefer the five sided piecing method made famous by Judith Baker Montano and used by most everyone today. I used this similar method in felting the fabric for this purse. I hope you will try your hand at this because I have found it to be the most fun I have had creating a purse front, and without using a sewing machine!

Supplies to gather:

  • Felting machine or tool
  • Fabrics~ base fabric cut to preferred purse size: I used dupioni. Small fabrics for felting such as velvet, silk dupioni, organza, burnout velvet, lace, etc.
  • Wool roving dyed to match your fabrics
  • Silk ribbon
  • Beads, sequins, and anything you wish to embellish with
  • Backing and lining fabric
  • Purse frame
  • Muslin
  • (Optional) Beaded trim for bottom and a cloth printed image for theme

Assembly:

Gather your supplies and get ready for a fast and fun project.

Trace your purse frame onto muslin to determine size of purse.

On the muslin base with frame pattern traced, I added a silk dupioni fabric for my felting base fabric, cut to the size I wanted for a swing purse, 6” wide by 9” long and adding 2” on all sides for shrinkage when felting.

I placed a printed image in the center of dupioni and positioned a piece of silk organza on the left corner area and felted it down.

I continued adding fabrics in a clockwise order until I had five fabrics surrounding the image.

Next I added another round of fabrics, felting each one as they were added. I put a few bits of dyed wool roving randomly about the area securing each with the felting machine. Adding the wool roving fibers holds the fabrics together more securely somewhat like “glue”. Press from back side of fabric to smooth all fabrics.

I placed my purse clasp on the finished fabric to make sure it fit nicely before continuing.

With such fun colors and fabrics, I didn’t care for the more formal gold color of the frame so I used the Lettuce color of Adirondack Alcohol Ink and matched it to my purse fabrics.

Now for more fun! Gather embellishments and play.

I used silk ribbon embroidery to cascade Fargo roses along one side of my image. I then felted a Hanah silk bias ribbon meandering around the image and flowing off the side. This added an interesting texture to the otherwise smooth flat ribbon. I found a coordinating vintage velvet leaf in my collection to add. I tacked it down with beads and tiny stitches. It’s always a fun surprise when something you have had for so long can fit into a project. A few beads sewn on the organza areas gave it a little sparkle, as well as the flower beads sprinkled in the cascading flowers and a beaded flower using dagger beads and a vintage rose montee.

Now to assemble your purse: place your embellished purse front on your backing fabric with right sides together. If you chose to add a beaded trim, pin it to the front side with the ribbon side along bottom and sandwich between two sides of purse. Stitch along bottom making sure to catch the trim’s ribbon. Open and press seam.

Measure opened purse length and cut a lining fabric. Lay the lining on opened purse right sides together and pin. Starting at one side end, stitch all around edges leaving a 3” opening to turn. Turn and press. Fold in half and hand stitch two sides together.

Position purse frame and attach using beads in the available holes, or use directions that came with your chosen frame.

And now, for the finished purse.

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