How to Instructions for Internal Tubular Purse Frames

sewing image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Things You'll Need

  • Main fabric
  • Lining fabric
  • Sturdy piece of paper
  • Pencil
  • Straight edge
  • Medium-weight fusible interfacing
  • Internal tubular purse frame
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • Iron
  • Ironing board

Internal tubular purse frames make accessory bags, clutch purses and handbags. Depending on the type of internal frame you buy, you can snap the purse open or press the corners so it snaps open. Unlike an external metal frame, which uses glue, internal purse frames provide a strong structure encased within the fabric, which makes a strong, long-lasting bag. Internal tubular frames are affordable and work well with both cotton and home décor fabrics in a variety of finishes and weights. (See References 1)

Draw your purse pattern. Lay your frame on a piece of sturdy paper and draw a rectangle around it with a straight edge. Add 2 inches to the top of the rectangle to allow for seam allowances and the bulk of your frame. Add 1 inch to each side of the rectangle for seam allowances. If you would like a more rounded bag, use a round plate or saucer to add curved edges to the bottom corners of your pattern.

Cut out your pattern. Cut two of your main and lining fabrics and interfacing. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the lining fabric, according to the manufacturer’s direction.

Place your frame 1 inch below the top edge of one of the lining pieces. Mark a dot ¼-inch below the side hinge of the frame on both the left and right sides. Repeat these marks on the remaining lining and main fabric pieces. Mark a point 2½-inches from the top of both the lining and outer fabric pieces.

Place your main fabric right sides together and pin around both sides and the bottom edges. Sew from the mark on the right side to the mark on the left side with a straight stitch, back stitching at the beginning and the end of your seam.

Place the lining fabric right sides together and pin around both sides and bottom edges. Make a 3-inch mark along the center bottom edge of the bag. Sew from the mark on the right side to the right edge of the 3-inch mark on the bottom, back stitching at the beginning and the end of the seam. Cut stray threads. Sew from the left edge of the 3-inch mark on the bottom to the mark on the left side of the bag.

Turn the main fabric piece right side out and place it inside the lining. Pin carefully along the raw top edge. Sew from the mark on the left side of the lining, through both layers, across the top to the right side of the lining. Continue to sew onto the other top edge until the entire top edge of the bag is sewn.

Turn the bag inside out through the hole in the bottom of the lining. Press out all the edges and iron the bag carefully. Close the hole in the lining by folding the raw edges down into the wrong side of the lining and iron into place. Sew the hole closed with a straight stitch ¼-inch away from the fabric edge. Push the lining into place inside the main fabric.

Fold the top edge and side top edge down 1 inch and iron into place. Sew ¼-inch away from the bottom edge of this casing.

Insert the open ends of the frame into the casing, one on each side. Slide them through the entire length of the casing and out the opposite end. Press the hinged ends together and insert the hinge pin into the hinge pin hole. Press the hinge ends and pinch with pliers so they stay in place. Finish your bag by ironing it.


  • Experiment with the pattern for your bag. You can make it more round for an elegant circle bag shape, or wider for a gathered effect. The options are limitless. Back stitch at the beginning and end of all your seams to reinforce them.