Freebie Friday: The Retro Circle Purse

Here’s #4! A little bit of an experimental project ^-^ With this bag, the zipper isn’t on the top, but rather on the side. So you can open up the side to reach everything all the way to the very bottom.

It’s kinda crazy probably – actually yeah, it’s crazy. But that was one of the reasons I wanted to make free patterns for this blog was to try out new and interesting ideas :B You can always skip the zipper if you want.
Anyway, the fabrics I picked started out as the blue and purple accent colors you see. They’re this fine and soft corduroy and I love the colors, especially when I found they paired perfectly with this cotton batik I got on sale. Unfortunately, the blue and purple are just way too loud on their own, so I had to pair them with something more neutral. I found they looked very nice with some gray faux suede. Though finding it made me realize I have a lot of gray fabrics o_o;;
So the blue and purple corduroy got relegated to accent fabrics in a retro reverse-appliqué circle pattern you see before you 😀
The reverse appliqué is a little tricky if you haven’t done it before, but lots of pins, tape, and other products that temporarily hold your fabrics in place really help.


The pieces are pretty straightforward, but the reverse appliqué and installing the zipper are a bit of a pain and take some time.
Makes one 12” x 16” purse

Materials & Tools:
• ½ yd. of medium weight fabric for outer bag (denim, twill, or canvas is good, I used faux suede here)
• ½ yd. of lightweight fabric for lining (I used quilting cotton)
• 10” x 10” scrap of accent fabric for appliqué (I used two different colors and decorated both sides)
• 12” zipper (at least)
• Matching sewing thread
• Complementing sewing thread for topstitching
• Sewing needle

Before you begin:
1. Print out the project pattern here
2. Assemble the pattern pieces, see the page here for more help
3. Lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric and cut them out
4. Mark the fabric pieces with the markings from the pattern

1. Mark the topstitching lines onto your front (and back, if you like) outer fabric. I found it was easiest to cut out the circle shapes and trace them onto the fabric that way.

2. Cut your accent fabric into several squares that fit over the circles. Something like 4”, 3½”, 3”, & 2” (x2), respectively.

3. Layer your accent fabric squares over the back of your outer fabric with all right sides facing downward. The squares should cover the corresponding circles from the pattern guidelines. I held mine down with scotch tape along the corners and pins in the middle.

4. Sew along the topstitching guidelines from the front of the bag, pivoting at all the corners to make the circle pattern.

5. Cut out the circles following the cutting guidelines inside the stitching to reveal the accent fabric underneath.

6. Insert the zipper along the left side of the bag fronts. Layer the zipper between the outer bag front and corresponding lining piece with right sides together. Sew along the zipper tape and stop at the square where the pattern indicates. Press the fabric away from the zipper. Repeat this with the back side of the bag and the other half of the zipper.

7. Make the handles by folding under each long side by ⅝” and ironing it flat. Then fold over the entire strap lengthwise with wrong sides together and sew the folded edges together by edge stitching along the side. I applied some interfacing to mine since my faux suede was a little flimsy for a proper handle.

8. Baste the handles to the top of the bag where the pattern indicates.

9. Open up the zipper, then flip the front inside out so the right sides are facing again. Sew along the top of the bag, going very carefully over the zipper. Trim the seam allowance corners and excess zipper tape. Turn the seam right side out, and press. Do the same thing with the back and it’s corresponding lining piece.

10. This part takes a little finagling, but it’s not too hard. Separate the outer bag from the lining and match up the raw edges of the outer bag front and back and do the same thing with the lining. Your top seams from the previous step should match up, and when you pin it all together it should look something like this when laid flat and the zipper in the middle. Stitch all the way around the perimeter of the bag, being sure to leave an opening in the lining as the pattern indicates. Sew very carefully over the zipper. Trim the excess zipper tape, turn the bag right side out, and press it flat. Also sew the opening in the lining closed with either a ladder stitch or by machine with an edge stitch.

There it is! An altogether strange experiment but the reverse appliqué made it fun 😀 Hopefully it all made sense despite the strangeness, so let me know if you have any questions or issues!
Do you have any bags or other accessories with strange details? Any that turned out to be really helpful in the end? Let me know in the comments!
I hope you enjoy making this project, or if you’d rather have the one from the pictures, you can buy it from my Etsy.
If you do wind up making the project, I’d love to see it! And I’ll send you free patterns from my Monthly Crafting Challenge!

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