A few months ago I happened across a website that was full of inspiration and guidance. Nicole Mallalieu Design sells supplies, patterns and gives great tips on how to make bags, purses and hats. If you live in Melbourne there are also classes and workshops for basic sewing and bag making.
The very cute 'Puff' purse looked like one I bought on a trip to Japan - so I thought I'd have a go at making this one and then maybe tweek the pattern a bit. The kit comes with reasonably clear instructions (black and white pictures of the main construction steps help alot), the purse pattern, the purse clasp, and some iron-on interfacing which is needed to give the outer fabric a bit more body. You need to supply the final fabrics - but all up it is a great project for random remnants or a fat quarter.
I chose some wholesome looking japanese fabric I bought from Peppermint Stitches (a new quilting fabric shop here in Brisbane) for the outer fabric and the inside lining was a remnant of red polka dot cotton fabric from Lincraft.
The hardest bit (apart from choosing fabrics) was fiddling around with putting the top into the purse clasp - there was a near disaster with the hobby glue and I decided to change the way the clasp was stitched on as I think it gives a neater appearance (and I didn't use the little beads as suggested in the pattern - just some contrasting red embroidery thread).
I'm glad it worked out as it's actually a birthday present for a friend - yes, finally my friends and family will get to appreciate the toils of my incoherent mutterings and ramblings about craft and sewing.