Metal Tubular Internal Purse Frames – how to use

We sell multiple sizes of these internal frames in the shop – anything from 8 inch to 16 inch wide – and they are great for making carpetbag style handbags. They are very easy to use and patterns usually call for you to make a tube during construction into which you insert each side of this frame and then screw them back together. However, so that you know what you are dealing with, if you haven’t used these frames before, here is a quick deconstruction.

Each frame consists of two metal tubes (8, 10, 12, 14, 16 wide) connected by a screwed hinge-joint on either side.


tubular frame 2 DSC_0607[1]
take hold of the inside part of the screw set with the pliers and pull
To de-construct, first unscrew the outside part of the screw set.  This will be reasonably loose and you should be able to unscrew it by hand.

For the next step, you will need some pliers as the inside part of the screw set is not a screw but a small tube that the screw that you removed by hand, screws into and creates the hinge. You do not need special pliers, just any old pliers will do so long as you can get a good grip on the inner part of the screw set.  It will be easier to remove if the frame is opened flat first. Then take a good grip on the pliers and ease the tube out.  You should now have something like this:

tubular frame 3 DSC_0608[1]
you will now have something that looks like this
Your first hinge will be de-constructed.  Each hinge consists of a male and female side of the bag frame, plus the screw set that holds it together.  Each side of your bag frame has these parts.

tubular frame 4 DSC_0606[1]
the four parts of the hinge
You can repeat this on the other side of the frame but sometimes, depending on your pattern, you might only need to open up one side of the frame, and you might be able to keep the other side intact while you slide it into the prepared fabric channels in your bag.  After you have the frame inside the channels in the bag you are making, it is usually easier to have the frame in the closed position, while you line up the holes where the tube should be reinserted, and then slide it back into the hinge joint, and screw the small screw back in place.  You should also tighten the small screws with the pliers to make sure they don’t come loose while you are using your lovely new bag.

Tip: I always put the screw set back in the opposite way to what it was originally.  The frames come with the small screw on the outside and the metal tube part in the inside.  I swap that around after I have made the bag and I insert the tube from the outside pointing to the inside of the bag, and attach the screw on the inside of the bag.  That way, if the screw does come loose and fall out, it will more likely fall into your bag and not out onto the ground and get lost.

tubular frame 1

So there we are, hopefully that is nice and clear but if anyone has any questions or comments just post them below.


Love Ellie
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Love Ellie

Designer | Maker | Artist at Love Ellie
Ellie lives in the land of lochs and mountains and beautiful beaches otherwise known as Scotland though sometimes it rains so much that you can't see any of that.She is the creator of, a designer|maker|artist and author of this blog where she writes about living a more creative life. She is also runs the shop here and on Etsy
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