How to line a knit or crochet purse

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So you've knit or crocheted a lovely handbag, purse or cozy, but something is missing to give your project the finishing touch!  This lining tutorial will introduce you to a few handy sewing tricks to create and attach a lining to your bag so that your result is top-notch.  

The first step in lining a purse is to actually sew the lining first.  Here is an effective and simple method of lining a bag without measuring or a lot of sewing and seams.  Of course, if you are lining a purse of a different shape, you will need to modify your approach slightly, but there are a few key points to keep in mind when sizing your lining no matter what the shape:

  • Make the lining a bit larger than the bag.  It should not pull on the bag if weighted down.  The bag should provide the "structure" of the purse.  Knit and crochet fabrics are stretchy: It's the bag, not the lining that should support the contents of the bag.
  • Make the lining about 1/2"taller than necessary to accommodate a generous seam allowance at the top of the bag.  Once you place your lining inside the bag to fit it, you can fold to create the final seam for the bag. 
  • Consider your seams.  If your knit or crochet fabric is lacey exposing the purse-facing side of the lining, you will need to make a seam that looks nice on both sides of the lining.  Good choices are a Flat Fell Seam or French Seam.
  • You can't use your iron enough.  Press your fabric before you seam it into a lining. Press your work after you make each seam.  Pressing your work as you go yields really professional results.


 Now that your lining is finished, it is time to sew it into your purse.  We've got some tips for that!

1. Select a stitch line. If you are working into knit or crochet work where you can clearly see the stitches, identify a stitch line to which you will line up your lining.  The photo above shows a line of stitches in the Icord bind off that we will stitch our lining to.  If you crochet, Future Girl has posted a fabulous tutorial showing how she selected and worked into a stitch line in crochet (scroll down to step #19 to see her working her stitch line).

2. Orient lining to bag through sides and midpoints. Use stitch Markers to mark the midpoints and sides of the bag. 

3. Pin the lining to the bag, starting with pinning at the midpoints and sides. Continue to pin your lining by pinning the spaces between the sides and midpoints.

4. Cut a length of thread 4 times the circumference that you will sew.  If you are sewing with doubled thread, don't forget to double your starting length before quadrupling!

5. Examine the stitches you will be sewing into.  Determine if there is a way to consistently sew into the stitches as well as into the upper back side of the lining so that the stitching is almost invisible and looks to be an extension of the knit or crochet stitches themselves.  Here's an example of what made sense for this knitted bag:

The stitch line we selected for this bag was a line of stitches at the end of the i-cord bind off.  We stitched into the purse consistently by bringing the needle up through one knit stitch and down through the adjacent stitch as pictured.  This will ensure a consistent line of stitches above the lining attachment point.

We then stitched in to the BACK side of the seam at the top of the bag.  In this way, our stitches attaching the lining to the bag are virtually invisible.

6. Sew evenly around the bag to complete the lining. Knot and press your final seam.  Admire your work.