Milk Carton Coin Purse {free sewing pattern}



I call this my ‘Milk Carton Coin Purse’ because plastic cut from a gallon milk carton was the best plastic I tried to give it that cute shape! This darling little coin purse is about 2 1/2” wide and 1 3/4” tall. Use it to carry coins as suggested – they won’t fall out as easily as you would think. Or hide a treasure in it  and use it to give a gift!

I put a little loop in the side of this purse so we can add a strap. If you want to make one I suggest my Wrist Strap Keychain, Tie the Knot Key Fob, or Pretty Lanyard tutorial for inspiration.

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I made three versions, each with different materials on the inside. Plus I tested them with three different thicknesses of fabric – regular quilting cotton, thin quilting cotton, and home decor weight fabric.

Here’s the one that I sewed with regular quilting cotton. I used Pellon Peltex single sided fusible stabilizer on the inside. It’s not as sturdy as the other two that have plastic inside, but I was able to attach the side pieces with my sewing machine. If you want to sew this little purse entirely on your sewing machine (except for the snap and button), I suggest using Peltex instead of plastic.

Note: this was my first one, and for the next two I re-designed the main pattern piece to be about 1/4” shorter. That’s why the flap on this one comes down a bit lower.

I sewed this one with very thin quilting cotton on the outside (Retro 30’s Child Smile from Lecien) and I cut up a plastic milk carton for the inside pieces.

I really liked the thickness of the milk carton plastic for this project. It bends easily and I can also sew through it with my hand needle when sewing on the snaps to make them more secure. I was able to cut my pieces from the smoother sides of the carton and the few bumps that are on them are hardly noticeable on the little purse.

However, the combination of thin cotton plus plastic was not my favorite. If you really want to use thin cotton with plastic then I suggest fusing Shapeflex 101 woven interfacing to the fabric, which will give it more weight and make it perfect for this project.

This is the last one I made. I used home decor weight fabric (Oxford 50 Flower Sugar Maison from Lecien) for my exterior pieces and I cut my inside pieces from a Clorox wipes container.

I feel like the home decor weight fabric is perfect if you are putting plastic inside your little purse because you can’t feel the hard edges of the plastic so much.  But like I mentioned before, you can add woven interfacing to your thinner cotton fabric to get the same effect.

The plastic that I cut from a Clorox wipes container is thicker than the milk carton, but it already had a nice curve to it, which I used to my advantage and placed my long piece around the curve so it would curl closed naturally. It was a little trickier to cut and sew, so that’s why the milk carton thickness of plastic is my favorite.

Now that I have tested different plastics and told you how they worked, I encourage you to try making this project from plastic containers that you have around the house. I bet that plastic soda cups from 7-11 or the containers that sour cream or cool whip come in would be a about the same thickness as a plastic milk carton and work beautifully.

So enough blah blah blah! Let’s get sewing…

Download the Milk Carton Coin Purse PDF Pattern here.


You will need:

  • about an 8” square of fabric (plus woven interfacing, if desired)

  • 1 sew-on snap

  • 1 small button

  • needle and thread for hand sewing (in addition to machine sewing)

  • a plastic container to cut up for the inside, or some scraps of Peltex stabilizer


On your downloaded pattern pieces, the outer lines are the fabric pattern piece, and the inner lines are the stabilizer pattern piece.

1. Cut 2 from the main pattern piece and 4 from the side pattern piece.

2. Cut a 1 1/4” x 2 1/2” strip to make the little hanging loop.

Cut and fuse interfacing to your fabric pieces, if using. Do not apply interfacing to the 1 1/4” x 2 1/2” strip.

This is the plastic from a Clorox wipes container.

This is the plastic from a Clorox wipes container.

3. Cut apart your plastic container. If possible, trace the inner line on your plastic, and then you can cut out the pieces. If the plastic is to opaque to trace through, cut out the inside patterns and trace around them on the plastic.

Cut out 1 from the main pattern piece and 2 side pieces in plastic.

Machine Sewing:

Place the fabric pieces right sides together and sew around the side and bottom edges using a 1/4” seam allowance. Leave the top curved edge open on the main piece and the straight edges open on the side pieces.

Trim around the sewn curved edges with pinking shears, or clip notches in the curves. Do not trim or clip the top curved edge on the main piece.


Insert the plastic or Peltex stabilizer pieces into the fabric pieces. Trim the stabilizer pieces, if needed to help them fit.

Tuck the raw edges inside and press them to help them stay. I was using a hot iron and I didn’t have any problems with the plastic melting if I didn’t stay in one place too long. Do not touch the plastic directly with your iron.

Make the hanging loop:

1. Fold the 1 1/4” x 2 1/2” strip of fabric in half, right sides together and sew the long edges together with a 1/4” seam allowance.

2. Use a turning tool, or attach a small safety pin to one end to help you turn the loop right side out.

3. Roll the loop in between your fingers and thumb to help if make a nice round strip.

The next steps are to sew the top edges of your pieces closed and then sew the sides to the main piece. If you used Peltex stabilizer instead of plastic, you can do this with your sewing machine. It is tricky, and mine looked a bit wobbily, so I like the hand sewn look best. But I did want to show you that it is possible to sew this on with your sewing machine if you really want to.

If you do this, make sure you skip ahead and read on to see where to insert your hanging loop and how to sew on the snaps.

Hand Sewing:

Sit down, turn on something to watch and get ready to finish this little purse by hand! I LOVE hand sewing if I have something good to watch (or listen to) while I do it.

1. Hand sew the openings closed on all three pieces.

2. Then line up the top edges on the main piece and one side piece. Sew the corners together  securely…

And then continue sewing the curved edge of the side piece to the main piece. Curve the main piece to fit the little side piece as you go. I found it easier to just take one stitch at a time.

3. When you get to the other corner of the side piece, take a few extra stitches to secure the corner tightly.

4. Sew the remaining side piece on in the same way, except when you are about 1/2” from finishing, fold the hanging loop in half and insert the ends into the seam.

Finish sewing the seam together by sticking your needle through going back and forth.

5. Trim away the ends of the hanging loop on the inside to make it look neat.

Sewing the Snap and Button:

1. Hand sew the male end of the snap to the inside top of the purse, about 1/4” from the edge.

2. Fold the flap closed and make a mark where you want the other half of the snap to go.

3. Hand sew the other half of the snap in place. As you can see from the picture above, I like to sew through the plastic once or twice when attaching my snaps so they are secure.

4. Sew the button on the front and you’re done! This button is just an embellishment so feel free to leave it off or use something else.

And that was a long tutorial! If you make some little Milk Carton Coin Purse, be sure to tell us in the comments what kind of plastic or other stabilizer you used and how it turned out!


Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂