Hey There, Shirley Bird! Crochet Purse Tutorial

Cross stitch crochet

The 1st day of Spring is my one of my favourite days.

I feel like I can shake off the drudgery of winter.

There are wafts of floral perfumes in the air and a warmth.

It's also my Nanas birthday!

She has one of those lilting voices you hear out of the old movies from the 40s and 50s and is always ready to smile, laugh and hug.

My lovely Nana. Isn't she beautiful? I pinched this photo of my Auntie Horse Whisperers Facie page. Hope she doesn't mind!

We share a love of birds. So for her birthday I gave a bit of cross stitch crochet another go and made this little purse I have called 'Shirley Bird'!

My first effort was this little swatch which I completed a couple of months ago.

I then made a little jar holder with a simple love heart.

It isn't extremely professional I assure you!

Me and sewing don't love each other.  If you've read some of my other posts, you would have heard all about how we only do it maybe once or twice and year. Like an unhappy 40 year marriage, we tolerate each other for the sake of the kids.  Generally Sewing and I avoid each other but there are rare circumstances where we have no choice but to get on and do the business because our options are limited and necessity prevails.

I did have to do the Sewing a little bit in this. I'll try to avoid showing you too much of my manky thready close ups because it's a bit of a dogs breakfast. 

The crochet bit was the fun part!

I'm calling this a tutorial instead of a pattern, as it's more of a description of how I did something, rather than a precise set of instructions about how to do something.  

Shirley Bird Tutorial

3mm Crochet Hook
Darning needle

Some DK acrylic for the main body of the purse (soft salmon)
An assortment of cotton blend 8 ply for the cross stitch:
Dark Blue
Mid Green
Light Green

A swatch of fabric to fit inside your purse
A 5 inch zipper

*American crochet terms are used*

The body of the purse is super easy.

With the 3mm crochet hook and the DK acrylic chain 30.

Now in terms of gauge, this needs to be wide enough to accommodate a 5 inch zipper.

Row 1: Single crochet into the 2nd chain on the hook and into every ch across. Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: SC into the first stitch, then in every sc across. Ch 1, turn.

Repeat Row 2 until you have a total of 52 rows or until you achieve the size you require. Then finish off.

This rectangle will be folded in half widthways to make the purse body.
You will cross stitch on the top half of your rectangle as the bottom half will become the back of your purse.

Now it's time to cross stitch!

If you've never cross stitched before, it's quite easy but make sure all the little criss cross lines are all pointing the same ways for all your stitches.  
There is a great tutorial for cross stitching on crochet by Purlbee .  I encourage you to pop over and have a look at her adorable cross stitched cushion (where I Iearnt and drew inspiration!)

Follow the graph below to create your cross stitch pattern.  Or jump on Pinterest and find a cross stitch pattern that you love!

Cross Stitch bird graph

Trying to make sure all my little criss crosses go the same way...

Shirley Bird Purse
Now I just have the light green part of the leaves left to go!
Once your cross stitching is finished, it's time to move on to the fabric insert.

I cut out a pocket from a scrap of spare fabric that was just a few millimetres narrower than the crocheted rectangle.

Then I used yarn to sew a chain stitch onto each side of the zipper, so it would be easy to stitch to the crochet rectangle later. It might not be strictly necessary but if you'd like to try it out there's a tutorial on the Frog Knitting website.

I then did some extremely dodgy zipper sewing....
Zipper crochet
First it looks all nice and professional....
how not to sew on a zipper
Then things start getting a little freaky....
 Now the pouch is complete.

The zipper is sewn so it is the 'right way' up, and sewn with each side on the 'wrong side' of the fabric.

I then sewed up each side of the pouch making it 'pouchy'.

Handmade purse

And here are the two separate pieces before assembly.

embroidered crochet

Then I hand sewed the crochet rectangle to the zipper.

And once that was complete, I was able to hand stitch up both sides of the purse, tucking in all yucky sewing threads AND ensuring the zipper ends were firmly tucked and sewn in.

cross stitch bird

To finish, I grabbed that 3mm crochet hook and did one row of single crochet around the entire top edge.

crochet purse

 Then for Row 2:
From starting at first stitch, *skip 2 SCs, 5DCs in 3rd SC, sk 2 scs, slip stitch in 3rd sc.

Repeat from * all the way around to join with a slip stitch at beginning sc.

Finish off and Tah-dah!

Embroidered crochet

The Shirley Bird Purse!

I sent it in the Post to Nana and she received it the day before her birthday, but waited to open it on the big day and told me she loved it!

Embroidered crochet

Before I posted it I took a few photos and tried to get Axel the Gender Confused Budgie to pose for a photo. I even tried giving him some grass seed, but sadly (and unsurprisingly) he was non-compliant.

He just chomped his way through the seed, mashed and chucked it all over them place, then flew off. Little bugger.

If you've got any questions please email me at balibelibear@gmail.com, or pop over to my Facebook page and say hello!

If you did enjoy my tutorial or any others you've found on my little blog.  Many of my tutorials are free for everyone, however if you'd like to make a little donation, it would be gratefully received and contribute towards future free tutorials!


  1. AWESOME! - IT really turned out well. I'm sure your Nan will adore it! - BTW, Happy B-Day to Her!

    My Mom has been sewing and tailoring for 70 years... She still hates doing ZIPPERS! - So kudos to you for having a go at it! - Me, I haven't touched a machine in *decades*! I just like to *buy* FABRIC! :-D These days, I leave the *machine* sewing [and sowing] to my Sister.

    So, hope the BIRD didn't leave any further "gifts" on your nice mat..?

    1. No but he left me a lovely gift on my shoulder, the floor under the curtain railing and on top of the coffee machine. It must be love xox

  2. Happy Birthday Nana, so elegant. Love the little birdy pouch so pretty, the cross stitch really adds dimension. Enjoy your week x

  3. Fabulous make, I love it! Your post is also pretty cool and had me chuckling from start to finish xx

    1. Thanks for visiting Josie. Glad you got a laugh! :)

  4. What a cute little make, I'm sure your nan will love it. Its good to know there are others who dislike sewing too! But omg you did a zip, not just a lining! Cross stitch I could probably handle tho! X

    1. I zipped, I lined, I swore, I nearly committed murder of the sewing machine but I got there in the end!

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  6. Aww what an adorable little purse! I'm sure your Nana will treasure it :) Love the pot holder too, so cute x

  7. What a sweet little project!!
    My sister loves cross-stitch, and I love crochet.
    I'll definitely visit again.

    1. Thank you! I am really enjoying cross stitch on crochet. I hope to make another project in the next few months!

  8. Share great information about your blog , Blog really helpful for us .
    crochet sunflower decoration


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