I find a great deal of inspiration for my sewing projects from searching through clothing sites online. I’ve noticed that I can make an article of clothing myself for cheaper than you can find it online most of the time. This is the case in this tutorial for a Purse Pocket Shirt. I found a shirt with an appliqué that looked like a purse from Kettle of Fish Clothing. I thought that was really cute but that I could make it easily and for cheaper than $74. If you find it equally as cute, here is my shirt and how I did it.
my lady bug in her purse pocket shirt
NOTE: I will be hand-sewing some of this because, to me, it’s easier. If someone has a tip on how to machine sew some of these things, let me know. I’m always looking for shortcuts!
- Shirt (if you buy short sleeves, I’ve also added how to add sleeves to look like it’s a layered shirt)
- 1/4 yard of fabric (you could use only 1/8 yard if you aren’t doing sleeves)
- Ribbon/Rick Rack in matching color
- Thread in matching color (I actually did it in a contrasting color, though)
- 1 button
I included a pattern for the purse because it was much easier than explaining. If you need the purse bigger or smaller, it’d be simple to enlarge the pattern slightly. This purse is for a size 2T shirt.
MEASURING AND CUTTING
**If you are doing sleeves do this step, otherwise go to next step. Measure the length of a sleeve for your child. Make sure you start from the corner of the shoulder (usually if you take a long sleeved shirt that your child already has, just start from the seam of the shoulder and sleeve) and measure to the wrist. Subtract the length of the short sleeve that you will be attaching the layered sleeve to get your finished length. I got 6 inches. I did not use elastic to keep the sleeve tight at the wrist because I like to pull up my kid’s sleeves when she plays with dirty things and then I don’t leave little marks on her chubby arms when I roll them down. Therefore I only added 1/2″ for seam allowance, equaling 6.5″. Then I took the diameter of the hole in the arm of the shirt (in my case 4 inches). I added 1/2″ for seam allowance-4.5″. **
Fold fabric in half, selvage to selvage. Pin and cut the two pattern pieces A & B on the fabric so that when you are done cutting you have two pieces of each part. These will be your purse pocket.
patterns pinned on folded fabric
cut out pocket pieces
Measure your sleeves also at this time. I measured a rectangle of 6.5″ by 4.5″. I did this twice on the folded fabric (therefore having 4 rectangles total).
- Face the 2 matching pieces together and pin for both parts A & B with nice sides facing each other.
pinned with nice sides facing in
- Sew, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance. Leave one side open (smallest side to make it easier on yourself) so that you can turn it inside out.
sewn pocket pieces with an opening
- I like to cut notches in the corners so that it makes a cleaner edge when it is turned around.
cut notches in corners
- Turn parts inside out so now you see the nice sides.
- Thread a needle with the thread you used for your pocket. You will be hand-sewing these closed. In order to “blind stitch” this closed (where you don’t see the stitches), I start on the inside in order to hide the knot I made at the end of the thread. I then fold the cut edges in so that it matches the look of the other seams in the piece. I usually use my fingernails to press the folded edges. I then use a running stitch and go from side to side, alternating, stitching just below the folded edge on each side. Pull the thread as you go and you will either not see the stitches or BARELY see them. That’s good! Just don’t pull the thread too tightly or it will bunch the fabric.
- Finish it when you get to the end by grabbing a little part of the inside of the seam, as you are pulling the thread through, weave the needle through the loop your thread has made in order to form a knot. I usually do this twice as a double loop to give it a little extra stability. Cut off extra thread.
- Place parts A & B on your shirt close to the bottom side of the shirt (I placed in a diagonal). Pin in place.
- I added a button on part B and a loop on Part A. To see how to do a loop, look at this tutorial on sewn button loops. Just make sure you line up where you want your pockets before putting on the button and loop (which is why I had you pin it on the shirt first), because otherwise it might not be perfectly aligned and unable to close.
pin purse on shirt
Start from the top corner of the top flap that is pinned to your shirt. Pin the corner of the ribbon. Then drape the ribbon across the shirt, over the shoulder, around the back, and then back to the other corner of the top flap. This should look like the straps of a purse. I play around with the ribbon to make sure it is lying the way I want it to and then pin it to the shirt. I use a lot of pins so it stays where I want it.
pin ribbon on shirt to look like straps of purse
back of shirt – ribbon pinned to look like purse strap
Keep the purse pinned to the shirt still. Now sew the strap on the shirt. I go slowly so that the ribbon stays in place and I don’t bunch the shirt up as I sew.
I sew the top flap of the purse first. I double check that the ribbon strap ends will be sewn into the top flap. In order to cleanly finish the ribbon off would be to fold in the ends so that when it is sewn in place, you will not get any frayed edges. Then I only sew the top side of the flap in order for it to open and close. I straight stitch it with the sewing machine as close to the edge as possible (1/8″ to 1/4″ depending on how confident you feel about staying straight and on the fabric). When you are done sewing, the ends of the ribbon should be under the flap.
straps sewn – top flap of purse pinned
keeping top flap aligned while sewing it on shirt
Now make sure that the bottom is still lined up with the top flap. This time you will sew 3 sides, leaving the top side open so you can put your hand in like a pocket.
sewn bottom with top left open for pocket
You are done with the purse!
I thought this shirt might be cuter if I added sleeves. This way it gives it a more store bought look. I didn’t exactly do it the way that I am telling you how to, but after messing with this sleeve, I realized a more simple way.
- Take all four pieces and zigzag stitch all four sides on each. I say this so you don’t have to worry about doing a rolled hem at the ends of the sleeves.
- Pin 2 rectangles together on the long sides with nice sides facing in. If you have a pattern like I have, make sure the patterns are aligned. I made sure my owls were all facing the same direction. Now stitch along the sides with a 1/4″ seam allowance. This will create the sleeves.
pinned along sides
- Repeat with the other pieces to form 2 sleeves.
- Fold 3/8″ on the bottom of each sleeve and finger nail press it so you create a hem.
- Pin the hem in place.
- Sew 1/4″ hem on each sleeve.
finished sleeves before put on shirt
- Pin top of sleeve to the sleeve of the tshirt. To do this I turned both sleeve and shirt inside out. I evenly pinned the top of the sleeve to the bottom of the tshirt sleeve starting with the seams on both, going around the sleeve. Turn it back around to make sure it is even with the pattern.
pinned sleeve to shirt
- I take a needle and thread (preferable the same color thread as your shirt) and hand sew in a straight stitch all around the sleeve. I did my best to hide the stitch underneath the hem of the shirt. Knot it at the end just like you did above with the blind stitch sewing above.
sew under hem of shirt to hide stitches
- Repeat on the other sleeve.
I put it on my little lady bug and got SO many compliments! She had fun with it, too! I found little toys in it when I took it off of her in the evening.
As with all of my tutorials, if you are intimidated by this or don’t have as much time as you’d like to make it, I will make it for you! Just visit my site Bobbin’ Along on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/bobbinalonggifts.