Handbags never have enough pockets or compartments for everything the woman on the go carries. There’s the flat zippered compartment and usually two slots for pens and other long items. If you’re lucky, there might be a flat zippered compartment dividing the bag into two parts, or enough external pockets for everything else.

I found a handbag that did have all the pockets I need, but there was a design flaw to the handle and I swapped it for another bag with standard fixings. So I end up having the same problem everyone has – not being able to find anything you throw into the bag because it’s swimming under everything else.

Most women also tend to have more than thirty three bags that we swap around depending on where were going and what we need to tote along. There’s always a handful of items that gets moved from bag to bag. This is tedious and people like me tend to accidentally leave one essential item in the last bag.

This is not a new problem so there are already solutions floating around the market, including commercially available purse organisers. There are also super easy sewing patterns, so I went with that route.

The pattern I used came from The Giving Flower. All you need is iron-on interfacing, two complementing fabrics, a sewing machine and ironing board.

I bought interfacing at Fah Company, the fabric shop in town where you’re likely to find anything you need for sewing anything you can think of. The fabric I used is recycled from my stash of old clothing.

If you’re not gonna read the sewing pattern, it basically goes like this:

Cut out the cloth to the measurements stated. Iron the interfacing to the reversed sides of the cloths. Sew both pieces together with the interfacing facing out, leaving a gap for you to turn it inside out. Flatten it out once you turned it right side out and sew all around the edges. Fold it over lengthwise, sew up the two ends, and measure out pockets depending on what you want to store in it.

My first try was kinda rough, with a lot of crooked sewing. But this is what I’m using in my bag now.

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I didn’t really plan my ‘essentials’ outright but here are the contents of my purse organiser: (L-R) wallet, phone, lip balm and gloss, pen, name card holder, planner and a digital recorder.

This pattern allows you to roll up the organiser and pop it into a smaller bag. Here’s how it looks inside one of my smaller bags:

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I spread out the roll so that it is pressed against the inner walls of the bag. This allows me to put larger items in the middle, or folded pieces of paper between the roll and the bag wall. It gives a bag with no compartments some structure.

Here’s how it looks inside my work bag. Top photo shows it spread against the side, and the bottom one shows it rolled in a corner.

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I’ve been storing my camera inside the roll and this is good because it doesn’t roll around the bottom of my bag and knock into the other items in there.

The celtic knot cloth came from my well-worn pareo which is ripped up the middle and is unwearable now. I’m glad that it found a new purpose. The dark brown lining came from an old wrap skirt that was actually in good condition… except it’s too small and probably out of fashion now.

I used the same lining and a different cloth (from a Thai silk wrap skirt I won’t wear again due to the colour being something I won’t wear in my current incarnation) and made a second one. However it did make a lovely purse organiser.

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By some good fortune, I had thread in the same colour as the fabric. The stitches are nearly invisible and so is my crooked sewing!

It has gone off with its new owner. My next project, on request of my mother, is to make one that keeps a water bottle standing up inside a bag.

Have you bought a purse organiser recently? Are you planning to make one now?

8 comments

  1. ooh cool! i saw this for sale somewhere but it was sold out… and all the other bag organizers were more like the bag-within-a-bag sort, not the the roll-up type. i’ll try making this one (or more likely get someone to help me with it, seeing how rusty i am with the sewing machine). thanks for posting this up!

  2. Gette: See? Now I REALLY need to buy a sewing machine! LOL. What brand do you recommend? Singer? Electronic one or the old fashion type? Clue me in my dear!

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