If you love fabric as I do you probably have bushels of scraps ranging from skinny strips only good for use as frayed ribbons on small packages all the way to a 12 yard home decor sized roll of red velvet waiting in the corner of your dining room. (OK, maybe that one is just me)
When it comes to making purses, I have found that the fabric has to match the function of the purse. Let’s start with everyday purses (as opposed to occasional, fancy, or delicate purses). You will want to find some fabrics that are thicker than your typical quilting cotton but probably not the thickest upholstery fabric you can find if only to save your sewing machine from undo stress. Most home decor fabrics work great. Most are a wonderful strong medium weight fabric meant for a little wear and tear.
If you do not want to commit to buying even a whole yard of home decor fabric, which can be quite pricey (remember my couch? $35 per yard!), I recommend finding some of those sample or swatch books.
Many off them offer fabric pieces up to 18 inches and usually have coordinating patterns and colors. I find many of mine in Fairport, NY (near Rochester) at a store called Craft Bits and Pieces that sells donated arts and crafts supplies for great prices. The store and donation center are run by volunteers. All proceeds support the Elderbus and Volunteer Drivers services and Senior Options for Independence. These programs offer transportation and counseling services for the senior community. Although they have an informational website they are unable to list things for sale on the internet because of their high turnover rate.
sample book from Waverly, available at Joann Fabrics.
If you are making an evening bag or something that will only be used on occasion and that will be used gently, then the doors are wide open. Try velour, try, silk, try vintage embroidered table linens.
Seriously, they work…
Enjoy hunting for the right fabric and let me know what you find.