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Bumblebee Purse

Laura Strutt

This sweet bumblebee motif is quick and fun to stitch and because only a few colours of floss are used, it's really striking. Play up the motif by using a bold honeycomb-print cotton to create a really pretty snap-frame purse.


Modern Embroidery



Print cotton, 22-in. (55-cm) square

Solid white cotton for lining, 22-in. (55-cm) square

Snap-frame purse kit—3⅛-in. (8-cm) size used here

Embroidery flosses (threads)—one skein of each, all six strands used—in the following shades:

      Anchor 291 (Dark Lemon)

      Anchor 403 (Black)

      Anchor 926 (Cream)

Fabric and embroidery scissors

Embroidery hoop, 5 in. (12.5 cm)

Embroidery needle

Thread conditioner (optional)

Sewing machine


Sewing needle and cotton thread

Small tassel

Pressing cloth and iron

Motif and stitch guide (see step 2)



Bumblebee motif: 2½ in. (6 cm)




Fern stitch

Long and short stitch worked at random and Satin stitch


TIP: If your snap-frame purse kit doesn't have a template included, use this one and adapt it to fit, or simply draw around the upper portion of the frame and draw out the base of the purse, being sure to add a 3⁄8-in. (1-cm) seam allowance all around.

TIP 2: Although it’s more common to embroider on a plain fabric rather than a printed one, sometimes it can really add to the design. If in doubt, draw out your embroidery motif on tracing paper and place it over the fabric to see how well the fabric pattern and the embroidered design work together.



1. Use the template or the pattern from the kit (see tip) to mark out the purse pieces on the print cotton and lining fabric. Cut out two pieces from each fabric.

Modern Embroidery

2. Transfer the bumblebee motif onto one of the print cotton purse panels. Be sure to set it at least 1 in. (2.5 cm) away from the side to avoid it being lost in the seams when you construct the purse. Secure the fabric in the embroidery hoop  to create a neat, taut stitching surface. Following the stitch guide, work the design in the corresponding colours and stitches:

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3. Once the design is complete, remove it from the hoop and ensure that all the thread ends are neatly trimmed. Cover with a pressing cloth or soft towel and press on the reverse.


4. Pin the two outer purse pieces right sides together. Repeat with the lining pieces.

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5. Machine stitch the two outer purse panels together, taking a ⅜-in. (1-cm) seam allowance. Start at the base of the snap frame and work down the side, across the bottom, and up the second side before finishing at the other end of the snap frame. Repeat with the lining pieces.

Modern Embroidery

6. Create box corners in the outer purse by aligning the side and base seam on the inside, marking a line across ¾ in. (2 cm) from the corner, and sewing along this line to secure. Repeat on opposite corners and snip away the excess fabric. Repeat with the lining.

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7. Turn the lining right side out. Slide the lining into the purse outer via the upper opening, so that the right sides of the fabrics are together. Align the upper sections and pin in place.

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8. Working in two separate seams, join the lining and the outer purse together around the upper portion of the purse, using a straight machine stitch and taking a ⅜-in. (1-cm) seam allowance. Be sure to leave a small gap in one of the seams for turning through.

Modern Embroidery

9. Clip small V-shapes in the seam allowance around the curve at the top of the purse. Turn the purse right side out through the gap in the seam. Press neatly, pressing the seam allowance at the gap inward, and then slipstitch the gap closed.

Modern Embroidery

10. Place the upper part of the purse in the snap frame and sew it securely in place to finish. Secure the tassel to the frame.

Modern Embroidery


This project is from Modern Embroidery by Laura Strutt. To get more fab blog posts like this one - direct to your inbox - be sure to sign up to our mailing list here.


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