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Friday, March 21, 2014

A New Echino Purse and Zipper Pouch for Me!

With Spring in the air, I decided it was time to swap out my purse for something new and fresh! I've been dying to try out some of the gorgeous Japanese Echino Fabrics, and making a new purse with them seemed like the perfect project to do just that!

I received four pieces of Echino fabric from this cute fabric shop, Modes4U.  They have one of the largest selections of Echino and other Japanese fabrics that I have ever seen, and it was extremely difficult narrowing my choices down to these four!

Disclaimer:  I was provided with the fabrics and the purse lock in exchange for my honest opinion about these products.

After considering all the purse patterns I already own, I chose to make my purse using a pattern I drafted a couple of years ago.  I call it Pam's Purse since it is patterned after a purse my mom gave me that I adore.  You can see the first Pam's Purse I made HERE.

These Japanese Echino Fabrics from Modes4U are a dream to work with, especially for purses and handbags.  The quality is outstanding, and I love the feel and drape of the cotton/linen blend.  I pre-washed my fabrics and only wish that I had serged the edges before doing so.  As you can imagine, the edges raveled, and I had a lot of strings to trim away.  That's what I get for being so eager to get started!

Even though the Echino fabrics are similar in weight and thickness to a home decor fabric, they still lack the stiffness to give this style of purse enough structure.  Since making that first Pam's Purse nearly two years ago, I've learned an enormous amount of information about bag interfacing, but you know what, I still had to try out a few things to get the front and back of my new purse to stand up like I wanted.

Here's the list of interfacing and other materials that I used to reinforce and support the purse.

Pellon Shape Flex 101 fused to all pieces of the outer bag and lining.  I did trim the interfacing so it was not inside the seam allowance.

Pellon 72F Peltex II fused to the lining front and back.  I carefully fused just one side to the lining and after completing the bag, I then ironed the lining from the inside to fuse the other side of the Peltex to the outer bag.  Without the use of the Peltex 72F, the twist lock and purse strap weighed down the bag and made it floppy.

Pellon 71F Peltex I Ultra-Firm fused to the outer bottom piece.  The Peltex was trimmed down so it was not inside the seam allowance.

Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece fused to the outer bag side pieces to give them more shape without stiffness. Again, trim the fleece so that it is not inside the seam allowance in order to reduce bulk in the seams.

Automobile Head Liner Fabric was basted to the wrong side of the outer bag front and back pieces. This helps give the bag shape and stand up on its own without adding a lot of weight.  I have read that Annie's Soft and Stable is an alternative to use in place of the head liner fabric, but I have never tried it.

I also placed a piece of template plastic between the outer fabric and the lining to help support the bottom of the bag.  It is not sewn or glued in place, but because the outer fabric and lining are fused together, it should stay put.

The outer bag is made using the black Echino birds and berries canvas fabric in cherry with the pink piping accents and lining constructed out of the solid pink Echino canvas.

The inside slip pocket is cut from one of the patchwork sections of the forest hart owl turquoise Echino canvas fabric.

Since I didn't have any pairs of black purse straps on hand, I decided to change up the design slightly and attach a single black leather strap (salvaged off an old purse) to the end pieces and modify the bag closure to include a twist lock flap.

This large rectangular twist lock from Emmaline Bags shop is just perfect for the shape of my new purse, don't you think?  My friend, Janelle, sells a variety of twist locks in her shop, and she has a great tutorial that shows you how to install them.

I also whipped together this simple little zipper pouch to coordinate with my new bag.  I couldn't imagine wasting any of this precious fabric, so I pieced together some larger scraps to make the zipper pouch. Whenever I make a new purse, I always make one of these to help keep the inside of my purse nice and organized.  The zipper pouch is ideal for stowing receipts or coupons, a bottle of hand wash, feminine products, lipstick, and gum.  Plus, if I do need to switch purses quickly, I can just grab the zipper pouch, wallet, and phone and go!

A half yard (or half meter when ordering from Modes4U) of both the outer and lining fabrics is all I needed to make this beautiful, new purse for Spring!  

I enjoyed working with these fabrics so much that I am now shopping for more!  Plus, Modes4U has lots of other great fabrics, adorable Hello Kitty items, as well as the biggest selection of washi tapes I have ever seen!  My daughter and I have a blast just browsing through their website.

I am in love with my new Echino purse, and apparently, my daughter is, too!  I had to make her a new bag as well using the other two Echino prints, so be sure to come back tomorrow to see it!

Until then, have fun sewing!


  1. This is such a lovely bag. You did a beautiful job with it and I love the story of the purse made in memory of your mom. Thanks for describing how all of the peltex product worked. I have used some of them and this was helpful. Can you tell me how big the bag is (height x width x depth)?

    1. Thank you so much! It is roughly 14.5" wide x 9.5" high x 5" thick (but tapers up toward the top to roughly 3.5" to 4")

  2. Gorgeous fabrics and I love the style / look of the bag. And the zippered pouch?! LOVE! What a great way to use up those scraps - you'd never know you were "using up" fabric - looks intentional and amazing!

  3. Oh that is a nice purse! I am just venturing into the land of bags and I think I am going to love it! Brilliant work!

  4. Wow, Veronica, that is a great set of bags. The big one and the little one are both beautiful.

  5. How pretty! It turned out great and that fabric looks amazing!

  6. Beautiful purse! The fabric is absolutely gorgeous!

  7. So bright and fun, it looks incredibly professional and polished!

  8. So pretty! I really love your fabric choice. You can never have too many purses!

  9. Beautiful bags! I love the fabrics, they're so perfect for spring coming on!

  10. Love it! Pops of color on a dark neutral are my jam -- that fabric rocks and pink trim kicks it up to 11!

  11. Veronica - your purse is just beautiful, and I REALLY appreciated the detailed information in your post about the stabilizers you used. Great tips - thanks so much!

    1. Thanks for checking it out, Maris, and I'm glad that you found the interfacing information so useful.


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