Free Design: Embroidered Summer Handbag

July 1, 2019By Joanne BankoFree Design of the Month, Sewing, Tutorial 31 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Finished size of Purse: Approximately 11-inches wide X 9-inches high.

Summer fashion is full of color and this month’s purse project is perfect for accessorizing your summer wardrobe. Our free design of the month, a simple floral line art design graces the front of the bag and this cinched style is easy to sew with minimal fabric requirements. Bet you’ll make it more than once!

Materials and Supplies:

  • Brother sewing and embroidery machine with 5 X 7-inch hoop capability.
  • Brother Embroidery Thread, Bobbin Thread, and size 11 embroidery needle for embroidering.
  • Basic sewing notions including thread to match or blend with fabrics, a tool for turning narrow straps and drawstrings, and a bodkin or safety pin for inserting drawstrings.
  • Brother Free Design of the Month. See Figure #1.
  • Paper or pattern tracing cloth for creating pattern.
  • Thin fusible craft fleece for backing outside pieces.
  • Quilt weight cotton fabric for purse and lining.
Tip: Choose a fabric for the front that will showcase the design and a pretty print for lining. See Step #1 for fabric requirements.
Figure #1

Download: Brother Free Design of the Month:
Floral Artistry Rose.pes, 4.88” Wide X 7.05” High.

Note: Here is the direct link to the design on iBroidery.

Steps to Create Purse

  1. Create a custom pattern by drawing a rectangle measuring 15-inches wide X 13-inches long. Mark off and cut out 2 ½-inch squares at each bottom corner. Use pattern to cut main fabric pieces for purse as described in the pattern example below:

Cut additional pieces for handles and drawstrings as follows:

  • Cut two strips measuring 2 ½-inches wide X 18-inches long for purse handles.
  • Cut two strips measuring 1 ½-inches wide X 36-inches long for drawstrings.
Tip:Tip: Piece shorter strips together if necessary, to achieve this length.
  1. Fuse fleece to wrong side of outside pieces. You’ll use one piece for the front and one for the back. See Figure #2.
Figure #2
  1. Set up machine for embroidery and transfer free design. Hoop front piece, having piece centered in the hoop. Embroider design. See Figure #3.
Figure #3
Note: Depending on your machine, design may stitch vertically or horizontally. Embroider both front and back if desired. Remove from hoop and press.
  1. Layer outside pieces with right sides together and raw edges matching. Measure down 1 ¼-inches from top edge and mark off a ¾-inch opening for drawstring. Sew side seams and bottom seam using a ½-inch seam allowance, backstitching at the beginning and end of openings. See marked openings and stitching lines in Figure #4.
Figure #4
  1. Press seams open. Working from the right side, topstitch around each drawstring opening to keep seam allowance flat. See example below:

  1. Repeat steps #4 and #5 for lining, sewing side seams and taking care to leave an opening at the bottom for turning purse right side out. See Figure #5.
Figure #5
  1. Next, you’ll need to box the bottom corners on all four pieces. Begin by pinning raw edges together, with side and bottom seams facing one another and then sew a ½-inch seam. See Figure #6a and #6b.
Figure #6a
Figure #6b
  1. Construct handles and create drawstrings as follows:
  • For purse handles, fold strips with right sides together and long edges matching. Sew a ¼-inch seam, turn right side out, and press so that seam is positioned in the center. This will be the back side of the handle.
  1. For drawstring strips, hem each short edge by folding and pressing under ¾-inch, and then topstitch ½-inch from the right side. Next, place right sides together with long edges matching and sew strips using a ¼-inch seam. Turn right side out and press flat.
  2. Pin straps to front and back as shown below:

  1. Machine baste straps and remove pins. Place lining and purse right sides together and sew a ½-inch seam all along the top edge. See Figure #7.
Figure #7
  1. Turn purse right side out through bottom opening and close opening with small hand stitches. Press top edge to prepare for sewing drawstring casing. Form a casing for the drawstring with a line of stitching above and below side openings. See Figure #8a and #8b.
Figure #8a
Figure #8b
  1. You’re almost finished! Drawstrings are inserted at opposing ends, pulling from both sides to cinch the purse closed. Begin by inserting the first drawstring through one side, continuing all around the purse until it exits at the same hole. Insert the other drawstring through the opposite hole in the same manner as the first. Knot the ends together. See examples in the two photos below:

You are finished! Be prepared for compliments! See closeup of purse front below:

Options and ideas: Of course you can make this purse for any season by simply changing up your fabric selection. This purse makes a great gift too! Enjoy!


  • Thanks for leaving a comment Debra! This floral design is part of a collection of Morango designs on They’re under a category called Floral Artistry. While I love all kinds of embroidery designs, I especially like designs with a light fill. They are so verstile and work for garments, quilts, home decor, and more! Happy Stitching!

    • Hello Giuseppina!
      I admit I had to look up the word “bellissima” but thank you for the compliment! It’s a “beautiful” word with such a nice ring to it. Thanks for taking the time to write. Happy Sewing!

    • Thank you Reen!
      I loved this embroidery design the first time I saw it. In fact, each design in the Morango Floral Artisty collection is beautiful. This is an easy purse to make and its fun to pick fabrics for the inside and outside. I actually thought of you when I was making it . . . it’s your signature color! I believe the fabric was called coral cracked ice.

    • Hi Clovis!
      Your flower idea is a good one! The area on the front of the bag would be perfect for a 4 X 4 design. Just add addtional stabilizer if the design has density. Happy stitching and have fun!!!

    • It was great to get your note Aira! Thank you for your kindness and I’m glad to know you liked this fun, summery handbag.

  • Beautiful, and I can see that free design being used for a lot more than this purse. Thanks Brother for making it available to us.

    (now, Brother, could you please put the cute “Sewing Minnie” up on ibroidery for purchase? Pretty please?)

    • Hi Speattle! Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts. You are so right about the floral design being beautiful and versatile too. It would be great on home decor, quilts, and garments too!

    • Thanks for writing Lilo! This purse IS fun to make and there are so many options for mixing fabrics. Happy sewing!

    • Hi Rita,
      The fabric is cotton with a crackle print. It’s really not shiny when you see it in person but the crackle print may make it look that way in the photos. It’s really just good quality quilt cotton.

  • Joanne, you are the best. I love the color, the embroidery design and the purse is so cute and looks like something I could make. I will be doing this for someone else (of course, as I give away so much of what I do). I just love, love, love it.

    • Thank you for your kindness Carla! Knowing you like this project enough to make it as a gift gives me great pleasure. It’s so wonderful to sew for others, isn’t it!?! Happy sewing!!!

    • Hi Lauretta!

      I opted for quicker stitching with this but you could certainly add a pocket to the lining, that’s a great idea! Even a simple patch pocket would work. Or, go a little further and add a zippered pocket.

  • I love this purse pattern. I can see a lot of uses for it using designs that my grandaughters would love. I will use the flower on mine. I have a couple of ideas already. I am also going to put a simple pocket inside on the lining. Makes a good place for a phone or keys.

    • Hi Lorna!

      Glad you liked this purse 🙂 Yes! You could easily add a pocket. Would love to hear more of your ideas once you get going with this! You may also want to take a look at the June 2018 foot of the Month project, Garden Apron with Zippered pocket for more pocket inspiration.

  • Thanks for the wonderful bag pattern and the embroidery design. I can see both being sewn together and separately on different projects!! Brother community rocks!!

    • Hi Sangita!

      It’s great to know that you liked the finished bag. It is nice to have a design that works for so many different projects. A light and open design like this will work on lots of things. Thanks for leaving a comment and Happy Sewing!

  • Hi Joanne, I am new to sewing. I don’t have an embroidery machine yet, but I love this purse and want to still make it and thought about embellishing it after. I was wondering if you had a video on how to make it. It’s just so adorable! I need this in my life and then so will my 6 granddaughters!! Lol thank you in advance

    • Thanks for writing Giamarie! For now we have just the instructions with the step out photos. We’ll keep it in mind for a future video 🙂 Hope you have the chance to make one or more of these, it’s an easy project.

  • In figure #5, why would you leave openings for the drawstrings in the lining? It seems this should be a solid seam since it’s on the inside of the bag.

    This is a great looking bag!

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