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How to Make a Placemat Handbag

placemat handbag

Handbags are hot! With just a little effort and imagination, you can create a one-of-a-kind, portable work of art.

Transform a basic household placemat from a flat, two-dimensional table covering to a hip and imaginative fashion accessory. The wonderful thing about placemat handbag is the sheer variety of materials available: ribbed cotton, vinyl, tapestry, microfiber, straw, faux leather, brocade, novelty weaves and more. Oval, rectangular and octagonal shapes create an instant variety of purse shapes to choose from.

You will need:

  • 1 Fabric Placemat
  • 1/2 yard of Lightweight Fabric for Lining
  • 1/2 yard of Fusible Craft Interfacing (optional)
  • Pair of Handbag Handles (wood, plastic, leather, etc.)

Step 1: If the placemat requires a bit more body, cut fusible interfacing to the size of the placemat, less 1/2 ” all around. Center the interfacing over the wrong side of the placemat and fuse, following manufacturer’s directions.

TIP:If you want to add even more personality, you can embellish the placemat with appliqués, beads, embroidery or rhinestones. If you are sewing on your embellishments, the best time to do this is before attaching the lining, so all any stitching on the wrong side of the placemat will be covered by the lining.

Step 2: For handle tabs, cut four pieces of lining fabric, each measuring 3” long by 1 1/2” wide. Fold each piece in thirds, lengthwise; adjust the final width of the tabs to fit through handle rings. Stitch lengthwise through all thicknesses down the center of each tab.

Step 3: Slip a tab through each handle ring; with raw edges of the tabs even, stitch across the tabs 1/2” from raw edges.

placemat handbag step 3

Step 4: Center each handle along the short sides of the placemat, with tabs against the wrong side of the placemat. Place tabs so that raw edges extend 1/2” in from edge of placemat. Stitch across tabs to attach them to placemat. Stitch again to reinforce.

Step 5: Cut lining fabric to the size of the placemat. Turn under 1/4” on all sides of the lining, and press in place.TIP: To add a handy inside pocket or two, cut pocket(s) from the lining fabric, approximately 5” X 5” square. Turn under 1/2” on each side, and top stitch in place. Position the pocket on the right side of the lining as desired; sew along the sides and bottom of the pocket.

Step 6: Position the lining, right side up, over the wrong side of the placemat and covering extended edges of tabs. Stitch the lining to the placemat along all edges, close to the pressed edge of the lining. You can use either machine stitching or invisible hand stitches, depending on your preference.

Step 7 - to Create a Handbag with Squared-Off Corners: Fold placemat in half, with right sides together. Sew sides with a 5/8” seam allowance. To create the width at the bottom of the purse, flatten the bottom corners, centering the side seams. Turn handbag right-side-out, and you’re ready to go!

placemat handbag step 7

Step 7 - to Create a Flat Handbag with Pre-Bound Edges: For this style, use a placemat with pre-bound, finished edges. Fold placemat in half, with wrong sides together. Sew sides with a 1/2” to 5/8” seam allowance, depending on the width of the placemat binding, so that stitching is at the inner edge of the binding.

TIP:If desired, finish the handbag with a closure of Velcro, a button and tab loop or handbag snap.