Placemat Purse

Placemat Purse

Making this purse is so easy and makes great use of old place-mats lying around the house.

What you need

Fabric Napkin to match or ribbon


1. Fold your placemat in half so that the long side is folded. Put the two edges right next to each other and sew a very short zigzag stitch down as far as your machine can go. There will probably be about 1-2 inches not sewn, this is ok. Do this on both sides.

2. Turn inside out. It should be a rectangular shape with a fold on the bottom. Fold one side down so that the seam lays against the bottom fold. This will form a triangle at the bottom of the seam. You want to sew across this from one side to another about 2 inches from the tip. The distance from one side to the other is going to be how wide your purse is.

3. Turn your purse right side out and take the tip of the triangle and push the corner of the purse out and tack the tip of the triangle down to the bottom of the purse. I use a zigzag stitch to do this and just go back and forth a few times to hold it down. It’s important to make sure that the edges are pulled out as far as they can go and you sew this tightly because it hold your purse open so the corners don’t fold in.

4. I like to use a matching napkin to make the straps but ribbons are a lot easier way to go. To make the straps cut the napkin into 2 strips about 5′ wide. On this purse I used 2 colors so the strips only had to be about 2-3′. Using one color: fold the rough edges in and then fold in half so the 2 folded edges meet. It’s much easier if you use an iron for this part. You may need to play around with this so you get the width that you like. Sew along each edge. I’ve also used a different color thread and/or a decorative stitch to add a cool effect to the strap.

For two tone strap: Fold the rough edges in making it as wide as you want the strap. Make sure both colors are the exact same width. Sew along edges to hold them together.

5. To attach the strap it looks best if you are using a place mat that has 2 layers sewn together on the sides. You can open the edge up with a seam ripper, sandwich the strap inside and sew closed again. If you do not have this option you can just use a zig zag stitch to attach it to the inside of the purse.

6. I also sewed a pocket for a cell phone in this one. Just cut out a a rectangle of fabric out of a napkin , fold over the edges and sew it into the purse. I hand sewed it to the inside layer so it wouldn’t show on the outside.

7. I also got a magnetic snap from the store and added this so the purse will close on the top. You can buy these at most sewing/fabric stores for a couple dollars.

8. Put your stuff in and you’re ready to go.

You can also experiment with different purse straps sold at craft stores. Have fun with it and make it your own. I get compliments on mine everywhere I go and I’ve had many friends have me make them one or ask me how. Its a great easy and very cheap way to make a fun purse. Enjoy!

Image Courtesy ofย laurenodellusher via Flickr


  1. Could someone who has successfully made this post a pic of end product? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Would love to try it but I have probs visualizing it and am a noob at sewing. ^.^”
    Much thanks in advance! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. For those having trouble picturing this, I think in step one she’s butting the edges together to sew the sides. She’s ending up with a bag that’s square on the bottom (thanks to the triangle she’s sewn in the corners) and open at the top, with straps added. Then it’s held closed with the magnet. I think I might have to give this a try. Sounds kind of cute, once you figure out what’s going on.

  3. Seems like the instructions were written by someone that does this all the time and they weren’t very clear… pictures also would have been fabulous.

  4. I couldn’t figure out how this would look. Please re-post with pictures. If anyone else has made this using these instructions maybe you can post your pictures. Thanks :0)

  5. wheres the picture?
    Instructions very hard to follow a picture would help

  6. Without a picture, I just can’t imagine how this is supposed to look.

  7. ok, i’ve got a degree in fashion merchandising, textiles and design and I just don’t get your instructions. illistrations would have been nice.

  8. where’s the pix?

  9. xoBorn2Shopxo says

    I think that you need to put up some pictures so its easier to visualize.

  10. Excellent! I understood it and made it. LOVE IT!
    Sew easy!!

  11. wow, I have been sewing for several years and this sounds really confusing – it’s a good idea, just not well explained

  12. I must be dense, I can’t picture this in my mind?


  14. sounds a litle dorky but hey its something

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