Shabby French handbag organiser

Week 4 of Simply Christmas. . . can you believe it?
With just 33 days left in the Christmas countdown we need to be ticking some more handmade gifts off our list. This is one I completed over the weekend.
If you are anything like me, then you know the frustration of having a plethora of ‘needful things’ floating around in the bottom of your handbag. I sooooooo need one of these and I know many other women who need one too. It might be a practical project, but I’ve jazzed it up with some shabby French flair.


This is definitely a project that you can personalise and adjust to your own requirements. The measurements given are for the organiser I made. I added a strap with a press stud at one end so things like hair ties and safety pins can be stored for emergencies. I also added an extra pocket in coordinating fabric for storing business cards.

Fabric requirements:
Outside of organiser
I wanted to keep the overall look very neutral and chic so used a combination of osenberg, calico, muslin and various neutrals in dots and stripes.

The outside of the organiser is cut from osenberg. I decorated the front panel with one of my favourite French graphics from the Graphic Fairy using the printing on fabric technique. Start by ironing a piece of Reynold’s freezer paper to the back of your fabric and trim fabric to required size. . . I made my sheet of fabric A5 size. I then made a word document in A5 format and inserted the graphic I saved for the front panel. I had enough room left on the page to print out some other graphics too. Simply load the fabric paper into your printer and print as you normally would. The freezer paper makes your fabric less flimsy, so allows it to feed though your printer. When it has printed out and dried, peel off the backing paper.

Note: Reynold’s Freezer Paper is available from Patchwork stores

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Cut your graphic to size and fray the edges. I added another layer of frayed white muslin under my calico layer before attaching them to my front panel with a zig-zag stitch.  I also added some vintage buttons and a strip of cotton lace. I basted the edges of the lace to the fabric 1 cm in from edge - the lace will be stitched in place later.


Lining and pockets:
Fold the pocket fabric in half, right side to right side, so you now have a strip of fabric measuring 10 cm x 38 cm. Sew the seam on the left side of the pocket panel. Turn right side out and make sure you have a neat point at the outer corner. Press.
Handy tip: Using a strip of non slip drawer liner as a lining on the pockets keeps everything from slipping out of the pockets. Place your drawer liner fabric on the back of your pocket and stitch to the top edge of pocket only.


Position your pocket panel on your fabric as shown. This is where you can adapt the organiser to sit your needs. I added the extra pocket on the front of the pocket panel and added another printed French graphic to it. Pin the pocket panel to your lining and mark vertical lines where you want to divide the pockets. Sew the vertical seams. The base of the pocket will be sewn when the organiser is assembled. To make the strap, fold fabric in half along the long edge and press. Turn edges in again so you have a long thin trip. Turn under one end to neaten edges and sew along folded edge. Stitch strap to edge of lining panel. Attach press stud to the other end – I also sewed a button to the other side of strap. . . purely for aesthetics.


Attach bag closer. . . I used a magnetic bag closer as I had some already but you could use a large press stud. I positioned mine centrally, a couple of centimetres in from the outer edge. The other half of your bag closer will need to be attached to your outer fabric. I found that the best position for it was about a third of the way in from the left hand edge – your graphic is on the right hand edge.


Now lay your inside panel on your works surface facing up. Lay the outer panel on top of the inside panel with right sides facing each other. Place the wadding layer on top and pin all three layers together. Sew around the outer perimeter, leaving the end with the lace cotton open. Clip corners and turn inside out. Fold under the seam allowance at the open end and sew seam closed – take care to avoid the closure on the lining panel. Sew another 1/8” seam all around the perimeter.


There you have it!!


A Shabby French handbag organiser. I’m joining in with Brag Monday at The Graphics Fairy.


Now that you have a gorgeous handbag organiser, what about a cute little something extra to go inside?

The lovely Sherry from ‘Sherry’s Simple Blog’ in the UK has designed these gorgeous emery board holders.

Sherry's project

This is such a sweet project and Sherry gives a full tutorial


Thanks for contributing to Simply Christmas Sherry.

Don’t forget, you can link up your Christmas projects all week on my Friday Inspiration posts. Don’t be shy. . . everyone loves to visit and be inspired by what others are creating for Christmas. I’ve already picked up some amazing ideas to add to my incredibly looooooong ‘To Do’ list [giggle]. I’ll be choosing a couple of favourite projects to showcase next Friday before we start another Inspiration Party.

I’ll also be joining in with the link party girls this week.

Hugs ~ Kerryanne