Rag Rug Circle Purse DIY
This DIY was born for two reasons. 1. A combination of watching a lot of Hoarders and Marie Kondo has made me want to throw everything I own in a dumpster but my natural instinct to turn every object into a craft project so it doesn't end up in a landfill is stronger. 2. Pinterest has convinced me I need to own a circle purse this summer.
YOU WILL NEED:
- a buttload of fabric
- a tapestry needle
- strong thread, jute, or even yarn would probably work
- an old belt from Goodwill or whatever you feel like as straps
Now say you're not a craft supply hoarder like me and you don't happen to have an enormous amount of fabric that you don't remember purchasing but somehow you have it in your possession anyway. You could cut up a bunch of old t-shirts that Marie Kondo told you to get rid of because they don't spark joy. You could use an old sheet or get one from the thrift store for like 25 cents. You could also use rope if you had it on hand. I mean you could buy rope but I'm more of a lets use what we have on hand and not spend any money kind of crafter.
Cut (or rip) all of your fabric into 2 inch wide strips.
Start your circle. The easiest way I found to start is to place your thread on top of your fabric so that the short ends are facing each other. You're then going to fold in the edges of the fabric from all sides so there's a clean seam. Next start tightly wrapping the thread around the fabric until about 1-2 inches is covered or until you can start to curve the fabric into a coil. Once there are two "rings" of fabric coiled then you can begin to use your needle to sew a blanket stitch to continue adding more rings.
I'm not going to lie, I had the most trouble getting starting. It was really annoying working with a tiny coil but once I got the hang of it it was super easy to add more layers so don't give up just yet! This video also really helped me to get my coil started! I felt like I had more luck finding video tutorials when I searched 'diy rope coil bowl.' The only different is that we're keeping this circle flat instead of building it up to create a bowl.
I chose to use a tapestry needle because it has a blunt edge so it doesn't pierce the fabric and instead it slides through the layers without catching on anything. However, if you don't have one you could use a regular needle. I've also totally used a hair clip before (one of the snappy 90's style barrettes)! If you don't have that either I bet a bobby pin would work as well!
I have no idea why I took zero step by step photos of how to do a blanket stitch considering 90% of the time making this bag is spent using that stitch. My thought process is a real mystery. Soo if you don't know how to do a blanket stitch then I would suggest watching this video.
There are a couple of ways you can join your strands of fabric together. You could actually sew all of your fabric strips together so that they become one long skein of "fabric yarn" that you can work from. Personally, I wanted to see the layers of color develop as I stitched and decide when to change it out on the fly. So the method I used was to simply layer the two pieces of fabric one on top of another, fold the edges inward, and then twist.
Hand stitch for several days in many locations until your circle is as big as you want your purse to be - mine was roughly 10.5" in diameter.
To finish off your edge I pulled the fabric onto the backside and tacked it down with several tight stitched and then trimmed off the excess fabric. Check out the very professional photo below for reference.
Make another circle exactly the same way.
STEP 5: optional
Since I used mostly lightweight cottons the circle was a little flimsy and naturally curved inward. To prevent this from happening I first flattened the circles overnight under some heavy books and then the next day I applied a coat of Elmer's craft glue to the backside. Making sure not to glue the outside two rows of fabric because I needed to be able to get my needle through those layers to assemble the purse. Adding the glue also sealed any lose threads or fraying fabric that was exposed. You could use any kind of clear sealant you have on hand - I just happened to have a lot of Elmer's glue.
Even though I listed this step as optional I would at least dab a little glue on the finished tail of fabric that is tacked down to ensure the stitches don't come loose.
ALSO. An important thing to note is that while I'm happy I did this glue layer it also made it super difficult to stitch the straps on later because it meant I basically I had to force the needle through a layer of plastic. So maybe if you planned out where your straps are going to be ahead of time and taped off that area with masking tape as a guide for yourself to not glue that would be easier then what I did
Making the sides of the bag! I wanted to create a 23" x 3" rectangle. For my bag that meant that I would have an 11 inch opening to my purse which was perfect for me but you can adjust these dimensions as you see fit!
I did not do this BUT if I were to do it over and make my life easier the first step of making the sides of the bag would be to make a paper template that was 23" x 3". The reason is because creating this perfect long rectangle that holds its shape is verrrry difficult. It naturally wants to warp and curve and not be a rectangle! So if you have a paper template to every so often put the weaving on top of and make sure you're stitching straight and even would have been very handy.
You'll start this guy off the same as your circle pieces back in step 2 but instead of turning the fabric to create a coil you're going to stitch a blanket stitch down until you have 23" of stitched fabric. At that point you're going to twist and turn your fabric to start a new row directly next to your first. Repeat this process, stopping every few rows to compare your weaving to your paper template, until you have a piece 3" wide. Finish your edge the same as the circle pieces in step 3.
Another thing that would have made my life easier! You're most likely not going to stitch this entire piece all in one go so I wish I would have flattened and glued this rectangle piece as I made it. I think it would have made it a lot easier to keep it straight. My edges were wonky as heck! Which honestly, this bag is for me so I don't actually give a fuck.
When I did glue this sucker it was curving really badly so to force it into a straight line I barricaded it with magazines and then held it in place on either end with heavy books.
Stitch it together! Yay you're so close to finishing! Pin the rectangle to one of the circles to hold in place while you stitch the two pieces together using a blanket stitch. Repeat on the other side!
Add your straps! I used a belt from Goodwill but you could use whatever material you fancy. I was really torn between using the belt as one long strap that I would attach along the rectangle side or cut the belt in half and add two short straps to the circle part so I let instagram decide! Two straps won and I'm really happy with the way it turned out!
I pre-punched holes in the leather before stitching it on using a scrap piece of wood and a nail. You could also use a drill or if you're fancy and actually own leather punching tools use that.
Stitch them straps on using a matching thread in an X pattern.
Get yourself a treat because that was an intensive craft and you deserve a reward!