Making a monogrammed purse

I wanted to make a purse as a little birthday present for a friend. I like giving personalised gifts, so I thought of doing a monogram on the purse with split stitch. It’s really easy to do and once you learn it you’ll want to monogram and embroider everything!

What you need

  • White denim
  • Cotton fabric for lining (I love this pink and white candy stripe! So fun!)
  • Cotton thread in black and a colour matching the lining
  • Zipper
  • Black embroidery thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors and pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Pen with disappearing ink (not necessary, but really helpful)

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Before anything else wash your fabric to ensure it won’t shrink if it needs to be washed later in its’ life.

Start with cutting out the pieces for the purse. I chose to make this purse 19cm x 25cm, but you can alter it to whatever size you want. Don’t forget to add 1cm for seams. 🙂

I then drew out a big A on the fabric with a pen that has ink that disappears. Magical! This makes it easier to see where you are going and you are staying straight and narrow. You can make this as elaborate as you like, but I went for a really minimalist look for this project.

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Then on with the embroidery. As I mentioned I used split stitch to the A. It’s my favourite stitch as it’s really easy to do.

Make a few knots on the thread and start with pushing the needle from reverse side to top side. Then just make a straight stitch starting right next to where the thread comes from the reverse side. Your straight stitch should take you only couple of millimetres forward.

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The trick is to ensure your needle goes through the loop to form a split stitch.

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Then you just carry on always starting from the centre of the stitches you are creating. Once you get a hang of it it’s really easy and quick way to embroider. Just keep going through the loops one at a time.

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I first went up and then down the A. I then pushed the needle on the reverse side and found the spot to go horizontally across and started again from there. To finish the embroidery I pushed the needle on the reverse side and then wound some thread along the backside of my embroidery and cut off any excess.

Once the embroidery was done I used zig zag stitch on sewing machine for the tops of each piece so they won’t fray once the zipper is put in.

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I then sew the lining right sides together from the three sides and same for the purse. The only side not getting sewn is the top at this point. I then used zig zag again for the three sides to avoid fraying. Turn the denim purse right way round and place the lining inside the purse with reverse sides together.

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Then the hardest part – attaching the zipper. I wanted a little chunkier look and got a metal zipper instead the usual kind. You basically want to sandwich the zipper between the denim and the lining. Remember to turn in the zig zag finish so you don’t see it.

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Remember to check the lining side too that it’s not looking like a horror show. 🙂

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I’m really not an expert at sewing zips and the denim was feeling quite thick. I also wanted to use black thread against the white denim to create a bit of contrast, but of course it also shows mistakes! That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to stitch the zipper on by hand first. I used different colour thread to make it easier to unpick it later, but you can use any that you have available.

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It really made a difference and I got the zipper sewn in nicely with first try. Remember to use your zipper foot on your sewing machine to make it easier for yourself. I used black thread on the top for contrast as mentioned, but then white on the bottom for the lining to blend in. Finally unpick the hand stitched bit.

Here is the finished purse!

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I ended up putting in a little black leather pull on the zipper as a finishing touch.

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I thought it made a cute present. I put in some scented candles and wrapped it up. Happy Birthday to my friend! 🙂

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