Tiny purses and envelopes

In my determination to sew from my stash, I have been diving into my scrap bin and looking at my Pinterest boards for ideas for things I can make from scraps. The little coin purse tutorial from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s I Heart Linen blog seemed perfect.

And the tutorial is perfect. I happily followed her instructions to sew a few little purses. No problems there. Like Rashida, I remember having little Japanese purses like this in my childhood.

Tiny coin purses

All fabrics, inside and out, came from my scrap bin.

All went smoothly until I came to attaching the snaps. I could only find one brand locally (Birch brand press fastener kit with tool from Spotlight), and they need to be hammered in. The instructions are badly written, and the diagrams do not match the tools and parts supplied, but eventually we hammered a few snaps in place.

I have no qualms about operating hammers and other tools, but I wanted an extra head to help decode the poorly written instructions, so I called in my husband for a second opinion. It is almost impossible to hammer them hard enough to bend the bit that needs to be bent without also bending part of the snap, making the snaps difficult to close and even harder to open. If you get your husband involved, it gets worse. His strength with a hammer will guarantee a bent snap. One purse’s snap is so stiff that I fear tearing the fabric every time I try to open it.

Tiny coin purses

I would be so thrilled with these if it were not for the pesky snaps!

All of the fabrics for these three little purses came from my scrap bin, but at least one of them might end up in the rubbish bin because of the snaps. Why have a purse if it will only open under duress? To save money? I am glad I decided not to spend too much time decorating them with embroidery stitches and the like!

I would love to make more of these little purses, but I would need to find a tried and tested brand of snaps that will not leave me snappy, grumpy and unhappy. Any recommendations?

While on a roll, I made some envelopes, inspired by Susan of Patchwork n Play’s tutorial. Just find an envelope, carefully tease it apart to use as a template and off you go! How easy! I added some lightweight fusible interfacing, which is not in her instructions. I can see more of these, maybe in Christmas or birthday fabrics, in my future.

Fabric envelopes

The fabric on the left is from one of my earliest sampler quilts.

Fabric envelopes

I am happy with the fussy placement of the rose on the right envelope. Well, as fussy as can be given the size of the remnant I was working with.

Fabric envelope

I tried to have the Japanese text the right way up when you open the envelope, but I got all muddled so it ended up upside-down. Whoops!

Fabric envelope

At least the fans on the top flap sit the right way. I got it half right.

As I was hand sewing the finishing touches on these, friends kept asking me what I was making them for. I could not give them a sensible reason. I was making them because I am compelled to make stuff, whether it has a purpose or not. Do we need a reason to make things? Is an overflowing scrap box not reason enough?


47 thoughts on “Tiny purses and envelopes

  1. I hate press stud fasteners. I think I’d have used a magnetic snap. My LQS sells them individually in three or four sizes from about a centimetre across to about 2cm across. They need to be fitted before you assemble the envelope, and I’d put a button or bead or something on the outside but they are a lot less stressful than what you describe, and husband intervention is not required!
    I think you should tell curious friends that you are exchanging one stash for another; scraps for useful gifts. You can never have too many handy gifts….

    • I have heaps of those magnetic fasteners, but I wanted to try the press snaps. I never had a problem with the old sew-in press-studs, but they can look a bit messy. There must be a brand that is not a nightmare to put in.

      Yes, you can never have too many little handy gifts!

      • I’ve only ever seen the snaps you used on ‘western’ shirt pockets, etc, where the fabric substrate is sturdier. I bet there’s a huge industrial machine for inserting them, which gives the perfect result every time. Husbands and hammers should not get involved in sewing activities!

  2. very pretty – I remember having something like it when I was child and adults would give me coins. I would save them up for a book! I really like the envelopes – sorry can’t help on the fasteners. I only used the bigish magnetic ones for bags.

  3. An overflowing scrap bin is certainly reason enough! However, hand written notes and cards inside those envelopes will be extra sweet, I think. And bummer about the snaps, I know exactly what you mean and wish I had a great recommendation for you. I hope you get some great suggestions from friends in the comments.

    • That’s what I thought when I first saw them on Susan’s blog. She made them to give money with style, but they are great for gift cards and jewellery and anything small.

      Ooh! And what about envelopes for the tooth fairy!?

  4. I admire your efforts with these Carla! How frustrating that the snaps were so difficult to operate! I’m wondering about the magnetic snaps that are available. I used those with success. I also use a piece of iron on interfacing behind these to reinforce the area. (Oh I see others have suggested these snaps) Good luck for next time.

    • Good tip about using fusible interfacing with the magnetic clasps, Susan. I have also added a patch of felt if I worried the prongy bits might wear through. The ones I have are just a bit too big for these tiny purses.

      Thanks again for the envelope idea!

  5. The coin purses are very cute and a great way of using scraps. I agree with you about the process on shapes, I bought a plier -like tool for one brand, but when in desperation I will usually default to the Sew on snaps and hide the threads with a decorative button.

  6. So pretty! I have ruined projects more than once, when I tried putting snaps in. Recently, I’ve been sewing little garments for my granddaughters, and have not had a problem with the snaps – I still hold my breath, though, when I’m putting them in!

  7. Bummer about the trouble with the snaps. Those little bags are really adorable! I may have to give those a try. I smiled about your friend asking why you were making the envelopes. My husband used to ask me that, but he has given up! I agree that sometimes we make just because we want to be making something. Those envelopes would be great for making a gift card look a little fancier.

    • It wasn’t just one friend, it was several. They must look particularly hard to find a purpose for.
      Oh, well. I will keep on singing my version of Taylor Swift’s lyrics to ‘Shake it off’: Baby, I’m just gonna make, make, make, make, make. I make it up, I make it up …

  8. No, you don’t need a reason to take on a project! And these lovelies are perfect to hold on to until a good occasion presents itself. We’re in the middle of cold season in my part of the world, and it would be nice to have a few of these on hand to cheer up friends when they’re sick and stuck at home. : )

  9. Delightful little projects……no harm done in spending some time creatively with your scraps. I often ask myself why I’m making something, and I’m finally coming to realise that “sheer pleasure” is a valid response. Mind you, it doesn’t always seem a good answer for non sewers!

    • Thanks! I think I need a brand like the one she uses – something that has a tool to hold everything in place. I am reassured by her ability to pick the wonky ones off with a screwdriver too. That is a relief!

  10. I love the design of the coin purses – makes it easy to see your change. I usually avoid using snaps as it is hit and miss (no pun intended!) with getting it right. I am sure you will find lots of uses for the envelopes! A larger version would make a great case for an iPad!

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