pleated purse detail

Sewing skills project 10: Pleated Purse

pleated purse in camel and chambray
This roomy pleated purse with both zippered and flat interior pockets has a substantial feel without being too stiff


Pleated Purse from School of Sewing by Shea Henderson

Project features:

  • magnetic snaps
  • pleats
  • zippered interior pocket
  • boxed corners
  • topstitching

Process notes


  • chambray
  • Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton Honey
  • Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex woven fusible interfacing

Equipment and settings:

  • Universal 90/14 needle for topstitching strap
  • Microtex 90/14 for topstitching exterior, 3.5/3.5 with 1/4-inch guide foot, tension 5


My favorite part of this project was learning how to do the zippered interior pocket. I’m really glad to have one of those under my belt and definitely want to do more of them in the future. The interior panel that I put the zipper in got a little distorted during the process, so that’s something I’ll be more careful with next time. The main issue was that I pulled the rectangular zipper opening to close together when sewing in the zipper, so it pulled it out of alignment a bit. For the other interior pocket, I made a simple flat pocket with stitched divider as suggested.

interior zipper pocket in pleated purse
The way the zippered pocket comes together is sort of magical, but it’s not hard to do

It was great to get some experience with pleats. My exterior panels were a tad narrower than instructed once the pleats were sewn down, so on the final piecing of the exterior I reduced my seam allowance to 5/16″ to compensate and that worked fine.

Now that I know how the magnetic snaps work, I’ll know how to position the fleece stabilizer behind them better next time. Mine are up too high and barely align with the snaps. I think it would also be nice to have some coordinating fleece interfacing on the exterior panel because during the final pressing I ironed over the snaps, causing shiny spots where the snap tabs were.

For me, the most challenging part of this project was getting through the thick layers with my sewing machine, and it was hard to choose the right needle. It would be awesome if the instructions came with needle suggestions to help point us in the right direction.

I’m excited to use this purse this summer — I already have a black purse, so for this one I chose a summery camel and chambray combo. It’s very roomy and will easily hold a little cardigan along with all of the ordinary purse stuff.