Metal frame purse pattern: How to make and test your own

metal frame purse patternMetal purse frames patterns are not so easy to come by because of the enormous number of sizes and shapes, but it is very easy to make your own just by following a few very important steps.  Let me show you how.

metal frame purse patternI have been trying for quite some time to get a common metal frame so I can make a pattern that anyone can make.  But no matter how much I search, there simply doesn't seem to be any store capable of carrying more than a few frames at a time and they're rarely a common size. (By that, I'm really referring to “offline” stores.  If you go online, it's a different story.  Please check out my comments below about Dan's Etsy store called 3DAN.)

I'm making a few purses for Mother's Day to say thank you to a few teachers since my son is graduating this year.  Metal frame purses take very little time and they look great when worn as clutches or cross body bags.  So I thought, that I can't be the only one frustrated by the lack of free patterns for these types of purses.  So what if I just try to figure a way to make it easy for people to use the frame as a template to make their own purse pattern?  Please read on..

metal frame purse pattern

Material for the pattern

Materials and tools for the purse:

  • quilting fabric, vinyl, oil cloth, canvas or leather (see selection below for recommendations)
  • batting, fusible fleece or iron/sewable interfacing
  • fabric for lining, thin cotton, nylon or satin
  • thread to match
  • hand needle
  • sewing machine needle
  • leather needle (optional)
  • walking foot (optional)
  • D-rings

metal frame purse pattern

Fabric Selection

Where to get metal purse frames?

By far the best place we have found to get metal purses is through Amazon.  A quick search and you will be able to see a few stores that carry many types and lengths of frames. Don't forget to check your local store they are sure to carry a few diferent types.

metal frame purse pattern

Template download

While the point of this tutorial is to teach you how to make your own metal frame purse pattern, if you want to have a look at the templates I made for 7″ X 2.5″ square frame and a rounded 5″ X 2.5″ you can download the FREE template from our sister site at

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Download the Free Template

You can download the FREE template from our sister site at  Just look for the download icon below the main image.

For help downloading and printing PDF patterns, please CLICK HERE.

Trace your metal frame

In this tutorial, I'm using both the 7″ X 2.5″ square frame and a rounded 5″ X 2.5″ frame.  I switch back and forth between them but the process is exactly the same.

Trace a vertical line roughly the length you want the purse to be.  I like things proportional so I have made mine the width of the frame plus two inches.

Trace a horizontal line a bit larger than the frame, at least 1 inch on either side and roughly the width of the purse. 

Align the middle of the frame with the vertical line and ends of the frame with the horizontal line.   Trace the top of the frame.  (7″ X 2.5″frame shown)You will only draw half the frame since we will be tracing the other side of the pattern from this first side.

Draw a 1″ square next to the end of the frame.

Pivot the frame at the center raising the end of the frame to the top of the square.  Here is where it changes a bit depending on what type of frame you are using.   Below is the 7″ X 2.5″ frame.

We need to true up the pattern by redrawing the top of the frame.

If you have one, use your flexible curve ruler to measure the new frame outline and compare it to your frame.  It should measure the same.

Adding seam allowance to the metal frame purse pattern

Erase all unnecessary lines.  Extend the top of the square by adding 3/8″ seam allowance. Extend the seam allowance vertically down to the horizontal line and beyond to the bottom of the purse.  Mark the stitching line and square the corners.  You can always just sew across the corners.  For an idea on how to box corners, we have three methods for you.  Use whichever you find easiest.

Finish the pattern by folding the paper in half and tracing the other side of the pattern.Draw all necessary markings, grain line, cutting directions and the size of the frame the pattern belongs to.  I have added the placement of pockets so I can carry a mobile phone and some cards.

Testing your metal frame purse pattern

Regardless of what frame you want to use, the best practice is to make a mock up of the purse using muslin or another inexpensive cloth so you can test not only the pattern but also the proportions of the purse.

Here is mine using a 5″ frame rounded or curved frame.

Making the purse

Trace the pattern on the fabric of your choosing.  For the 7″ X 2.5″ shown below, I am using leather for outside, satin for the lining and sew-in interfacing.  I will be adding the interfacing to the lining to give it a quilted look.  Regardless of what you choose to do, you will need some kind of fleece or batting to keep the shape of the purse.

I traced diagonal lines 1″ apart and sewed it to the linking with a very small stitch.  The design is aesthetic but holds the interfacing well.square metal purse frame patternsquare metal purse frame pattern

How to make the inner pocket for a 7″ purse frame

My finished purse will measure 7″ in width, 6″ height and 3″ in breadth across the bottom.  I have added D-rings to be able to wear as a cross body bag.  This is optional and there are some frames that already come with this option.

Make a 15″ X 8 3/4″ (38 cm X 22 cm) rectangle of lining fabric and apply fusible interfacing on the wrong side according to the thickness of your fabric.

Fold the rectangle right sides together and sew the sides at 3/8″ (1 cm) leaving a gap of 2.5″ to turn the rectangle inside out.

Turn the rectangle inside out, iron and sew the gap by stitching all around the edge.square metal purse frame patternFold the rectangle so it measures a 4″ pocket.  There will be enough room for a phone and a few cards.square metal purse frame pattern

Sew the pocket to the lining very close to the edge of the pocket.square metal purse frame pattern

Sewing the lining

Both lining and outer fabric are sewn the same way, the construction will differ a little though when you are using leather.  I will illustrate as best as I can.

Right sides together, sew the bottom and the sides of the lining.  If you are using fabric leave a gap of at least 2.5″ on one of the sides to turn the purse around.square metal purse frame pattern

Box the corner by joining the side and bottom seam together. square metal purse frame patternsquare metal purse frame pattern

Sewing the outside layer

I am using leather here, but the following instructions are the same for fabric.  If you are using leather, there will be no need for interfacing.
square metal purse frame patternPlace right sides together.square metal purse frame pattern

You will need to change to a Teflon foot and a leather needle if you are using leather.

As before, box the corners by joining the side and bottom seams.  It will be difficult for some sewing machines to sew this amount of layers in leather, so you could consider the use of a walking foot.  Or walk your machine manually one stitch at a time.  I found this worked for me.

Joining the lining and the outside fabric

Since I am using leather for the outside and satin for the lining, I am going to use double sided tape to keep the two together. square metal purse frame patternIf you are using fabric, place right sides together and sew at the top at 3/8″.  Leave a gap to turn your work.Turn the purse right side out using the gap you left open.You can see on the sides that there are no raw edges.  This is only possible because you have sewn the top.  I have added a small pocket in the lining, just because I like to have the option of caring some cards or a phone in the purse. 

Sewing the square metal purse frame into the purse

Mark the middle of both the purse and the frame.square metal purse frame pattern  Start by aligning the hinge to the side seam. Using a matching thread sew the frame to the purse.  Lastly, sew the gap you left open to turn your work by hand.

On my leather purse though, I will not be sewing the purse inside out and turning it through a gap but rather sewing straight into the frame and adding 2 strips of leather and a couple of D-rings on the sides with a rivet to be able to use it as a cross body bag and hide the raw edge under the hinge.

I have made 3 purses and I love the look of them.  They are big enough for a large mobile phone and a few cards –the perfect accessory for a party or night out in a restaurant.

If you rather just use an already made rounded frame coin purse check this tutorial with a free pattern.

metal frame purse pattern

Until next time! I am off to wrap these purses before my teenage daughter sees them.

metal frame purse pattern

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25 Responses to Metal frame purse pattern: How to make and test your own

  1. carmen m Irish says:

    I’ve been wanting to do this a while with children’s footys but can’t figure out what to put on the inside and it also is a sew hole frame. Can you give me a few pointers thanks

  2. Kristi says:

    How did you determine the length of the purse? Thank you for your instructions & great photos.

  3. Laur Reaves says:

    curious about the different frames I bought one and it does not have the edging to sew in the material it has screws on the inside???

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Yes, that is a diferent kind that the one I am showing you, but the principal is the same. Instead of sewing you need to glue the fabric to the frame.

  4. Rachel Rose says:

    Thank you so much. I have a piece of pink velvet I want to make into a purse and I just didn’t know where to get started! Can’t wait to try this.

  5. Sandy says:

    Thanks, this is is a great tutorial! I love the as you go pictures. I have been trying to draft a pattern using a rectangular frame and adding side gussets as I have seen in many curved frame purses. Any suggestions on how to accomplish this successfully?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi, Sandy, that is a little more complicated but not impossible. Follow the same example once you have your pattern decide where you want the gusset cut the pattern and add seam allowance to the left side of the gusset. The right side of the gusset should be marked on a fold. Do test your pattern on an inexpensive piece of fabric.

  6. Can you give us any help with purse frames that do not have holes around the top for sewing? Ebay has several sellers of purse frames but very few have holes along the top edge. This tutorial is most excellent, THANKS!

  7. Denise Kledzik says:

    I have wanted to try making such a purse for ages, but I don’t understand HOW TO SEW THE PURSE TO THE FRAME. It is also not explained in this otherwise very detailed explaination.

    • So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Denise, we linked to this previous tutorial at the bottom of the article. Please check it out. It takes you through how to sew the purse to the frame. Best of luck with it and happy sewing:

    • Pamela Dale says:

      The instructions for attaching to the frame can be found with the coin purse. I found that enlightening and realised it was so easy. Hope that helps.

    • The metal purse frame has small holes for sewing to the fabric. Line up as instructed above then simply sew frame to fabric by hand. recommend using a thimble or even small nosed pliers to pull needle through.
      a) Make a knot in thread to prevent going through hole.
      b) From inside fabric of purse push needle up and through hole in frame which should be directly in front of needle if lined up correctly. Make sure all thread is pulled through.
      c)Push needle through next hole in purse frame and through the fabric, pull all thread through.
      d) repeat b and c to last hole. Either redo last hole x3 and before all thread pulled through pass needle through loop of thread and pull tight or 3 tiny stitches as close to frame as possible. carefully cut of excess thread. Hope this helped

  8. Andrea Letourneau says:

    Second hand stores or Antiques shows are also great places to find those metal purse frames. I’ve picked up several beautiful ones at excellent low prices. The best part is that if the tattered original purse portion is still present, you can trace off the shape to remake the vintage item using the original as a pattern. 🙂 I should make one for my mom since Mother’s Day is just around the corner…

  9. Kimberly says:

    Mayra, you’re brilliant! Thank you for taking the time to put together this wonderful tutorial.

    I’m curious if it would be possible to add a small sead bead to each of the stitches of the sew-on frames to give that part of the bag a decorative, beaded edge and to hide the stitches a bit better?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Yes absolutely, I think it will be be a bit more bling! the best thing would be to play around with a few sizes to see what you like.

  10. Maureen T says:

    I am confused about why you trace the top of the pattern and how you determine where you place it to retrace it. I haven’t ever made a purse, and everything else I understand.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Maureen,Using your frame draw the outline of the frame with a pencil. I would suggest to make the coin purse first, the link I have provided at the end of the tutorial then you can venture into making your own pattern.

  11. pkirkey says:

    Metal purse frames in all sorts of sizes, styles and finishes are available online from AilExpress. Shipping is very slow but the pricing is almost always worth the wait.

  12. Mary Lou Jordan- Vinnedge says:

    Purse great but trying to print free pattern was not softness.

  13. Karen O'Dea says:

    I am definitely going to try this. I really like the fact that there are no raw edges at the top. Going to Check out 3DAN now! Karen O

  14. Sylvia Brown says:

    Awesome thank you

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