Recently I came across this great tutorial for a small handbag on the site http://www.craftster.org/. There are so many great sites out there with free patterns and tutorials that I spend quite a bit of time (sometimes too much time) looking through them to see what I can find. You can find the tutorial for the Jordy Bag here.
The above picture is one of the Jordy Bag's that I made. I had a student recently also make one and hers came out really cute. It is not a big bag but it could definitely be made larger and with variations. I think it teaches some really important techniques like appliques, using interfacing and linings, sewing straps, and giving a bag a square bottom. If you have some extra fabric laying around, I would definitely give this little handbag a try! I made mine a little bigger than the pattern and I plan on making an even bigger one next time.