Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sew Powerful Purse Project (Purses 1-5)

Hello my friends and followers. I hope you had a nice Christmas (and/or Hanukkah a couple of weeks ago, if that is what you celebrate). Now that I am looking towards the New Year, I wanted to let you know about something I found out about and decided to get involved in, it is the Sew Powerful Purse Project.

I am sewing purses (big surprise I know, lol), but for a very worthy cause. I am making purses for the Sew Powerful Purse Project When I heard about this project I knew I had to make a purse and because it was an easy to make purse, using no hardware or zippers, I knew I could make several in the time it normally would take to make a more complicated bag. I have completed 5 purses so far, with another 2 already cut out and ready to sew. Then I will cut out a few more at a time and sew them. Once I have enough to fit in a box or plastic bag, I will mail them to Renton, Washington. I want to mail as many as I can economically, so will need to figure out the best way to do this as in how many can fit into a certain size box or bag.

Not only is this a wonderful project that helps women of all ages in Zambia, but personally I can use up so much of the fabric and other things I have that I haven't  used in years. I can also get really creative with this project too, which I love, so it's definitely a win-win.

For me this is what I want to accomplish in making these purses~
  1. Use up the huge amount of fabric that I have accumulated over the years and have not used
  2. Incorporate quilt blocks or parts of blocks that never were made into quilts and use them on the purse flap
  3. Use up the huge amount of buttons I have
  4. Add lace, trim and rickrack as embellishments to the the purses, thereby using up those items too
  5. Add some scraps of yarn for embellishment, using up leftover bits of yarn I have left from various knitting projects
  6. Use up the piles of fabric scraps that I have and new scraps that start to pile up as a result with any new project as I continue to create
  7. Use up batting and fleece scraps that  I have a ton of and zigzag stitch them together to create a larger useable pieces and then use these pieces of batting in the exterior pieces of the bag for some stability
  8. Add applique designs to the purse on the flap or elsewhere
  9. If I don't have enough of one fabric to make the purse, use it along with adding other fabrics creatively so I end up with a more colorful purse and strap (see purse #1 below)
  10. Use some decorative machine stitches as well as hand stitches on the purse (see purse #2 below)
  11. Document each purse I make here on the blog and add a photo of each to a tab at the top of the blog for easier viewing of the purses that I continually make for this cause
I joined the Sew Powerful Purse Project Facebook group too. Other women from around the world are making and sharing photos of their bags too. There are 2 purse designs you can use, I am making the beginner style purse. I like it better because I like the larger flap and the large pocket under the flap. The intermediate purse has a pocket directly on the flap and a side gusset. You can mix or match the flaps, but are to only use these purse patterns since they need this style and size purse for their needs. I already asked.

So finally I can show you the first 5 purses that I have completed. Here they are:


I had already sewn some scrappy batik fabrics together to create a new fabric a while back because I like to make bags and other things using the scraps. So since this was already sewn, I cut out the flap and created this first bag.

A closure is not necessary and they don't want us to use hardware (although I have seen some women use magnetic snaps and to me I consider that hardware, but perhaps it is a notion?) Anyhow I used a heart Kam snap to close the purse. I asked on the site and they said a Kam snap is fine, but would rather not have Velcro used. So after adding this snap, I decided not to make any purse closure as it really isn't needed.

You can see I used a lot of color and fabrics to create this purse, including 2 fabrics to make the strap.

Inside is a wild purple print and I used 2 of the exterior colors to create this pocket. I like making pockets with an accent top color, but sometimes it is necessary because I don't have enough of one fabric anyhow.

This is the back of the purse and another color.

Purse #2~
For this purse, I quilted the flap and the back of the purse. I also decided to use up all the handmade buttons that I have and add a pop of color by adding a smaller button on top of that. The buttons are purely embellishment.

Here you can see the front and the large front slip pocket over the front. I used the same 2 fabrics because I had enough of this fabric, but on other purses, I had to use other fabrics. I like using a variety of fabrics and colors and that way I am able to use up several pieces to create this purse.

Inside the purse and the slip pocket. As I normally do anyhow, I sewed a pen pocket division on all the inside slip pockets. I think that way the girls and women will have a nice place to put their pen or pencils. Pencils are a bit too long, but as they are used, they will fit better. I also placed the slip pocket lower than they suggested in order to accommodate the pens in the pen pocket. Plus I think it looks better lower in the bag and is more useful too. The bag #1 you can see I followed the instructions for pocket placement there and it is set higher.

The quilted back.
It has been some times since I created a fancy stitched flap and admittingly I am out of practice. I stitched the stitches on a fabric that I had hand painted.
A fun thing when I was looking at some of the photos on the Facebook Group, I saw a bag I made with a fancy stitched flap a few years ago. I do recall a woman asked me after seeing my bag if she could post in the Sew Powerful Facebook group with my permission. I said of course she can. So as I was looking at the purses on that group, I saw my flap! There were some nice comments about it and that made me feel good. So I thanked the ladies and told them I just joined the group.

Closter look at the stitches and the stacked button. Some of those stitches didn't stitch as nicely as they should. Is it the settings, the machine or me?

I had a small piece of that Hawaiian fish fabric so used it for the lining of the flap and the lining of the pocket inside too, which you cannot see in the next photo.

Hawaiian print for the lining.
I added some buttons on some of these bags on the sides. Sort of like using a rivet, which adds bling and more security for the strap. Speaking of straps, I cut mine wider than suggested and fold them in twice to the center and topstitched, rather than cutting narrower fabric and sewing a tube and turning out. I find the folded strap makes for a sturdier strap and it's easier to not have to turn it and have the seam show on the back side. Hey I am a bag maker and I do what I know is best for the construction of the purse. I also sew my lining with a wider seam to make it fit snugger.

This purse and the next one I had these calico prints and didn't really care for them, but you know what? They look pretty darn good made into a purse. I know some girl or woman will want these calicos too.
Double stacked side buttons.

I normally don't like using dark fabrics for linings as it is harder to see what you have inside, but for these smaller purses, I thought it would be okay and besides I am trying to use up fabric for a worthy cause too.

It is quite difficult to photograph the linings. The lining does have a snugger fit than it looks like in the photos.

The back side.
This fabric looks pretty good for this purse.

Inside with a pop of the darker accent fabric for the top of the pocket.

Back of the bag.

So there you have it, my first 5 purses. All different looking, all made with materials I had on hand. I am busy working on some creative flaps for the next 6 purses. The Sew Powerful Organization says the girls love bright and colorful purses and well if you know me, that is just my style! Bright and colorful is what I do best, lol. I love how bright and colorful the African people are too, so this makes sense to create some colorful purses for the beautiful women of Zambia. I only wish I could be there when they receive the purses to see their reactions and see what girl or woman gets the purses that I make. It would be so wonderful to be able to just sit back and watch that. 

One more thing is that with each purse made, we write a card and put it into the slip pocket. The card can be words of encouragement, or a quote or scripture verse or anything uplifting at all. So that too is something I need to work on as well. They have a pdf on their site that you can print out cards and then write what you want on it. I think trying to write something special will be more work than making the purses, lol. So I will write several at once and then add them to the purses as I make them. This is such a wonderful cause that I truly feel blessed that I can help. My heart especially goes out for worthwhile women causes.

As I am busy creating theses purses, I will try and make at least one or two more complicated bags like I usually make each month, so that I don't forget how, lol; and because I still will continue to sell other bags that I make. The money I make from selling my bags will help to pay for the postage to mail these purses and any other supplies I need to make purses. 

I may even make a few of this style purse to sell at craft shows with a sign saying that the proceeds of this purse style only, will go directly to the Sew Powerful Purse Project. That way I could contribute some money to them as well as making purses.

Sew Powerful had a goal of 20,000 purses for 2020 and you know what, they actually went a little over that amount, which is fantastic! I haven't sent any to them yet as I am just starting, but I will be able to start off the new year with several of these purses made and ready to send. So that is what my goal is for next year and I got a head start on it a month early in December of 2020.

Whatever your goals are for the New Year, I wish you much success. Thank you all for joining me in my blogging adventure these past 12 + years. Starting in March will begin my 13th year of blogging and as blogging is becoming more of dying art, I know it is still the best way for me to document what I do. Blogging is where I have met so many of you and have become friends with you. Even though bloggers and followers of blogs have turned to other quick forms of social media, I truly believe blogging is still the best form of social media there is (maybe YouTube vlogging too) as you truly get to know the blogger and the follower (if they comment). In this rush rush quick fix world we live in and especially during this pandemic year of 2020, I really prefer blogs reading about what others are doing and getting to know them better. But most people don't like to write (or read), so I wonder how much longer blogging will be around? 

Happy New Year everyone!
Pin It Now!


  1. These are simply beautiful! I love the personal touches, particularly the side buttons, the handmade button, and the potpourri of fancy stitching! And thank you for sharing the Sew Powerful purse project! Such a wonderful cause!

    1. Thank you for your kind words Peggy! Unfortunately you are a no reply which means I cannot email you directly to thank you for your comment, so I hope you come back to read this.

  2. I can tell by your writing - and you must admit, you've written a lot more in this post than you normally would - that you have found your passion in this cause, and I think that's wonderful. And you're right, your style seems to fit perfectly with the kind of finished item that they're looking for!

    My personal favourite is bag #2, but I do really also like the decorative stitching that you've done on the flap for bag #3. I didn't see anything particularly wonky about the stitching but I know from experience that sometimes when I stop and start or switch speeds, it affects my zigzag stitching. Maybe it's the same case here. In any case, the dazzling effect of the embellishment overrides any imperfection that the creator sees!

    Have a great time with this project, Daryl, and I'm sure I speak for others when I say that I look forward to seeing bags #6 through #100!

  3. Hi Daryl and Welcome to Sew Powerful! You are clearly very talented and I love your first 5 purses! #3 is my favorite, with the hand painted fabric and fancy stitches. You'll find lot of resources on the SewPowerful. weborg page, like best ways to send purses, etc. Keep in touch and we'd love to hear more from you! Torey E, SP Regional Coordinator for the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area

  4. Thanks Torey. I have several more purses started. I will be sharing what I make her on the Facebook group too.

  5. This sounds like a wonderful cause and totally up your alley with the purse making. All of the purses look beautiful to me! The blogging world is changing, but I still find it the best way to get more info than what's in a FB post of on Instagram. It also gives me more personal connections to blog you!

  6. What a fantastic project and the purses are so beautiful and unique. I hope to find the time to make some I just love this. I'm sure you will make lots of young women very happy. you made them all look so beautiful and unique. what an inspiration.

  7. This is a perfect project for you Daryl, and for such a great cause! Like you, I would love to see the look on the faces of the recipients of your wonderful purses! I love the one with the fancy stitching and hand painted fabric!! Looking forward to seeing what you make next year!!

  8. I love making bags and appreciate that you shared this! My bags aren’t as fancy as yours.....but they are functional and fun. I plan to make and contribute, too!

  9. Good for you, Daryl. Great work. I didn't know about this project. Thanks for letting us know. I'm sharing it with a small online group I belong to.

  10. Great purses! I especially like your hand painted fabric purse!

  11. Hi Daryl! Well, the Fancy Flap one is my favorite! They are all beautiful - Happy New Year! Jackie


Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate every one. If you do not hear a reply back from me, it could be that you are a no-reply, or that Google/Blogger has changed something (again!) making it impossible to respond back to you. If you want a reply because you asked a question, please fill out the Contact Form located on the right side of the blog and I will respond to you that way. Thank you for stopping by! I was forced to add comment moderation due to huge number of SPAM!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...