Sunday, December 12, 2010

Skirt-to-Purse Tutorial

I made this skirt last spring with a charm pack. The construction wasn't bad, but the fit couldn't have been more frumpy. It was way too short for how full I made it. I held on to it because the fabric is just so pretty. This week I finally decided to refashion it into a cute purse!:

Now I want to show you how to do it yourself!

You want to start by turning it inside out and pinning the bottom. Mine was very full, so I made many pleats so that the bag wouldn't be huge:

After pleating and sewing the bottom closed, I also boxed off the corners by sewing a diagonal line at both ends:

I also needed to take in the waist a bit. I would suggest removing the elastic so that it is easier to sew this part closed. Also, if your skirt has a zipper (mine did not), I suggest that you remove it and sew the opening closed.
To close up the opening a bit (which you'll probably have to do unless you are a size 2), pinch together the waistline (skirt still inside out):

Pin. Where you pin will be largely dependent on how large you want your purse opening to be. Remember to do this to both sides of the skirt:

And then sew closed. You can now cut the extra fabric off:

Next you'll want to make lining. Place your skirt over two layers of lining fabric:

Then trace out your cutting line:

Mine is a little messy, but it works. Since my skirt is so full, and I really hate digging around in a huge purse for my keys, I made the lining a bit smaller than my purse so that the inside wouldn't be humongous. The size is really up to you:

Cut it out. Then set it aside:

I have to have pockets. Luckily, I had some coordinating charm pack squares left over. I picked out six  and then sewed them together in twos (only 4 pictured here):

For the pocket body, Sew one of the pairs to another pair, wrong side out. Make sure to only sew 3 sides so that you can turn it right side out. For the pocket top, sew the other pair together in half, wrong side out. Once again, leave an edge unsewn so that you can turn it:

Turn them rightside out:

Then topstitch all around to close the opening:

Sew velcro to the center of your pocket top:

Match it to your pocket body, then sew that piece in place as well. It's up to you how many pockets you want to make. I suggest one for each side:

After you have made all your pockets, place them on your bag lining:

Pin, and sew in place. Sew the pocket body first, leaving the top open. Then place your pocket top and sew:

After you have finished sewing your pockets on, place your bag lining pieces together, wrong sides out (pockets on the inside). Pin and sew, leaving the top open:

Pull it right side out through the open top, and stuff your purse into the lining, still wrong side out:

Match up the opening of your skirt to the opening of your lining and pin:

Then sew together:

When you are done, you should be able to pull the skirt out of the lining and have a finished purse body! Notice how in the picture below it still looks a little baggy? I ended up topstitching around the edges of mine to give it a bit more definition to fix that, but that is up to you:

Lastly, for the strap, I used one that I cut off another old purse. Luckily I had one that coordinated!:

Using another of my coordinating charm pack squares that I stitched up, I made tabs for each of the rings on my strap. I sewed those to each side of the opening:

I sewed-in a snap to keep all of my things from falling out:

And finally, I added a few burnt satin flowers to dress it up. And voila! My purse it done! (Notice the top-stitching around the edges here):

I hope you have an old skirt lying around that you can transform! It's a really long tutorial, but well worth it to have a one-of-a-kind piece. Also, due to the fact that everyone's will be different, it's a great way to build your sewing skills!


  1. Great job, I love repurposing clothing into something else!

  2. This looks great! I love repurposing projects. :)

  3. What a great save! Awesome job!

  4. Fun idea! I might have to do this for my niece at some point in time!

    Come enter my linky party as well as the current giveaways!!

  5. Those of you who can sew amaze me! My sewing machine and I don't always see eye to eye. I love this! I am going to feature this tomorrow! Thanks for linking up today!

  6. Great idea! I love re-using, instead of throwing them away. Found you at Vintage Wanna Bee's Talent Tuesday. The color combination is springy and happy.

  7. I can see why you would want to repurpose those fabrics, what a glorious collection of colours! The bag turned out beautifully!

  8. oh my word this is so darling...I love to see when cute things are remade and really used!

  9. I think this is really great! What vision!
    Thanks for sharing:)

  10. Love this and It would be great if you would link it over at my Upcycled/repurposed/ recycleable linky party:

  11. Adorable and genius!! Love love!

  12. This is a beautiful tutorial and a beautiful bag. Thanks so much. I know it's a lot of work to do a tutorial. Good job. Best wishes Linda

  13. So pretty and your tutorial is amazing.

  14. Featuring this today! Thanks for linking up at the catwalk!

  15. I featured this on Vintage Wanna Bee today! Come check it out!!!


  16. Wow! like seriously, I really love this idea! You are so very creative! I love reusing old items and turning them into something fabulous! Thanks for sharing how you did it! I have a couple skirts in mind that I wouldn't mind using.

    Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog. I appreciate your comments on my pillow.

  17. Hi! I was the entry right after you at Jen's end-of-year party, so I thought I'd stop by for a visit. My goodness, you are so clever! Making a purse out of a skirt is a great idea! You've got some serious sewing skills, but your tutorial is so clear that I think even someone with rather elementary skills (someone like me!) could do this. Thanks for the tutorial and for sharing your inspiration!

  18. That is awesome!! I love repurposing!! Thanks for auditioning for OMTWI!

  19. Love it! I have just the perfect skirt to do this project! Thank for sharing :)


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