This might be my most complicated DIY project to date. Move over overalls, take a backseat fabric scrap baskets. This DIY woven purse is actually quite easy to construct, but because there are so many steps, I took quite a few pictures and found myself overwhelmed with how to make a tutorial for it. So overwhelmed, it took me two months, which wasn’t horrible as posting this very spring/summer purse would have looked odd in February.
It amazes me how many people have this random twine laying around. It’s not jute, or is it? They call it jute, but jute is a word thrown around to describe a few different kinds of twine. It’s commonly described in the hardware store as, “natural twine,” and most people seem to buy it because of weddings. Weddings are the method I think many of my friends use to acquire craft supplies and then have to come up with creative uses for them post-wedding.
Me? I found my twine on the street, a big roll of it that someone else clearly couldn’t find a use for, and I thought, sure this looks useful. I thought this project might use up the bulk of it, but no. I still have a giant thing of twine. But this DIY woven purse certainly made a dent! And if you wanted to, making a larger style market bag, a la the one I’ve posted below for inspiration, might help.
I’ve been seeing these purses all over the internet for a few years now, dangled on the wrists of lithe tan influencers, hung on the wall as if one might snatch it to go off on some unrealistic adventure. And I adore it. It reminds me of a vintage purse I used to have when growing up in my dress-up box. I’d kill for that purse now and I have no idea where it ended up.
So how easy is this DIY woven bag to make? Well, I have one question for you: can you braid? Then you’re in! And stitching the braids together isn’t that hard either, it’s just time-consuming. So pop open Netflix, pour a glass of wine, and get braiding.
DIY Woven Purse
- A large roll of twine
- Embroidery floss in a natural color like tan or yellow.
- Large embroidery needle
- 28 inches of rope
- 1/4 yard of lining fabric (I used organic cotton)
- Masking or washi tape
- Hot glue gun
- Optional: Leather scraps and magnetic purse closure
- Cut 3 identically very long pieces of twine. Fold in half and secure at the half point with tape.
2. Braid your twine, two strands making up one strand of a 3-strand braid. You will likely need to repeat this step several times to get enough braids to sew your bag. I opted to braid a new braid every time I needed one. Secure the end of your braids with tape. If you’re not reminded of Rapunzel at this point, you need to read more fairytales.
3. Fold one taped end over, and begin to wrap the braid around it into a flat circle. I think the picture does a better job at explaining what I mean than words, but basically you want to create a tight center. The taped side will be inside the purse.
4. Stab your needle through the back layers of braid to connect the outer circle with the folded middle. You basically want to avoid sewing through what will be the flat braid on the outside by pulling your needle and thread through the strands of the braid on the inside. It doesn’t have to be pretty, no one will see the back.
5. Keeping sewing until you run out of braid and have to add a new one. To add a new braid, overlap about an inch from where you left off, and sew the back strands as normal.
6. Sew, sew, sew, until you reach a desired size for your bag. Mine is about ten inches in diameter. Then sew an identical circle the same size. Don’t they look like trivets?
7. Now you want to construct the base. I definitely didn’t make mine as deep as it could have been but I’m ok with that. To make the base, take a very long braid, and sew it into a rectangular shape that is long enough to add enough depth to your bag. Mine is ___ and I used about 4 rows of braid.
8. Now you’ll want to make your handles. Cut your rope in half. Hot glue a long piece of twine to one end, and tightly wrap your twine around each piece of rope, and neatly glue the other end when done. Sew your handles at equal width apart on each side of what will be your bag.
9. Now you’ll want to make your handles. Cut your rope in half. Hot glue a long piece of twine to one end, and tightly wrap your twine around each piece of rope, and neatly glue the other end when done. Sew your handles at equal width apart on each side of what will be your bag.
10. Now you’ll want to connect your sides to your base. I found this part kind of tedious. Curve your base around one of your circular sides. It’s easiest to sew from the outside, so you’ll need to be very careful not to show your stitches. I found this nearly impossible, so if you look very carefully you can see yellow thread around my bag, but that’s why we use a thread that blends in. Repeat on both sides.
11. To make your lining, cut two circles of fabric the same size as your 2 sides plus 1/4 inch all the way around, and 1 rectangular piece the same size as your base plus 1/4 inch all the way around.
12. Sew lining together, right-sides-facing, and keep turned out like that. Slip into your purse. You have 2 options to secure your lining into the purse: either neatly sew it in, or hot glue gun it in. Full disclosure, after this project, I hot glue gunned mine and I won’t think the less of you for hot glue gunning your’s!
13. Breathe. Get excited about your bag. You don’t have to add the leather accent like I did, but feel free if you want to. I’m lazy, so I hot glue gunned that too. And let me know below if you have questions!