Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sewing Clutch Time

Now that I have seemingly perfected sewing burb cloths (I think after making ~150, I should have that pretty perfected) I have moved on (for now) to bags.  First was trying tote bags, something I am still trying to perfect.  Then it was sewing clutches which is my current favorite thing.  I love how easy these are to make and all the options for mixing and matching fabrics.  I think I finally found something, other than burb cloths, that I am good at making.

standard style
I’ve used this same tutorial to make bags in three different sizes: a fold-over clutch, a wristlet (just adding a loop and wrist strap), and a standard clutch.  The wristlet, while the smallest, was definitely the most difficult because that darn strap took A LOT of time.  Waaaaay more than I expected.  At the end I was expected to sew through 24 layers of fabric, most of them home décor weight which is thicker than basic cotton.  Guess what, no machine I have can sew through 24 layers of fabric at once (and I've had 4 different machines in my house in the last 6 months).  So, if you decide to make a wristlet I would suggest finding a thin strap to sew.  And for obvious reasons (um...that I haven't figured it out myself) I'm not going to be posting one here.  One of the other clutches are the easiest to start with but I'm including my measurements for the wristlet body too.

fold-over style
I have a pretty good scrap fabric stash (largely from covering books and pillows) and so for the cost of the zipper and interfacing (~$3) I can whip one of these up and feel pretty good about my quiet time sewing.  So little is needed to make a cute clutch which makes it the perfect scrap stash project.  I've used vinyl leftover from recovering our jet ski, and I don't think I ever expected my purses to have something in common with our jet ski, other than owning both.  And I realize the overlap of people who have recovered jet ski seats and who are reading my blog are probably rather small but if you have leftover marine vinyl...this is an excellent use for it. (And when I've bought vinyl just for purses I've actually bought the marine vinyl because I prefer working with it.)
Another standard...I may have an addiction.

So, first step is picking fabric.  If you don’t have any scraps or a stash to use, buy 1/4 yard of each of the following (And, clearly, wait for a sale.  Those can make this super cheap):

-Cotton quilting fabric for the liner
-Home décor weight for the upper outside (I buy the stuff on the regular bolts, not the super wide, expensive stuff)
-Vinyl, leather or suede for the lower outside
-Medium weight fusible interfacing - I buy this one at Jo-Ann:

As well as a 14” zipper in a coordinating color (or white...I use white a lot).

You will also need standard sewing supplies:
-Sewing machine (I mean, you could do by hand if you want…)
-tape measure
-damp cloth for ironing interfacing

(These pictures are all from making a standard clutch but the process is the same for all.)

Once all the shopping/picking out fabric is done the first step is to cut the fabrics:

Fold-Over Clutch
Inner lining (x2) 12" x 12½"
Outer upper (x2) 12½" x 8¼"
Lower accent (vinyl, suede, leather) (x2) 12½" x 4½"

Inner lining (x2) 8¾" x 5"
Outer upper (x2) 9" x 4½"
Lower accent (vinyl, suede, leather) (x2) 9" x 2"

Standard Clutch
Inner lining (x2) 11½" x 8¾"
Outer upper (x2) 12" x 6"
Lower accent (vinyl, suede, leather) (x2) 12" x 3½"

As well as interfacing ¼" smaller on all side for each piece of lining.

Raw pieces (besides interfacing):

Start by fusing the interfacing to the backside of the liner fabric.

Follow the instruction sheet that came with the interfacing.  Set aside.
photo by Luke

Pin together the long sides of the two outside pieces, cotton and vinyl, right sides facing each other. 

Sew along the length, about 1/4” in.  
Open and press the seam (warning, vinyl will melt so keep the iron on the cotton side).  Do a top stitch on each side of this seam.  Repeat for the other piece of the outside.

To attach the first side to the zipper, place the lining right side UP (1).  Place the zipper, right side UP, on top of it, lining up the edges (2).  Top with the cotton/vinyl right side DOWN (3), again lining up with the edge of the zipper and lining.  (In this set of pictures everything is lined up against the left side of the zipper.)


Sew about 1/4” from the edge.  Remove pins.  Fold back the outside fabric so the backsides of the outside fabric and the lining are together.  Press the seams along the zipper.

This is always the part that requires extra thinking, to make sure I have all the layers exactly where they need to be, but rest assured, it’s not very difficult. Just make sure the like sides are together.

Lay out the outside fabric right side UP (4).  Next the zipper with the first side sewn on, with the two outsides together and the good side of the liner facing UP (5).  Then the second piece of liner, correct side DOWN (6).  Pin.  (Again, everything is lined up against the left side of the zipper.)

Sew just as before and iron open the seam along the zipper.  Iron the lining open as well.

You should be left with something looking like this:



Now is just finishing the bag!  MAKE SURE you leave the zipper open about half way or you will be stuck with a bag permanently inside out.  Or a lot of seam ripping to do.  I speak from experience on this.  LEAVE THE ZIPPER OPEN.

Pin together the good sides of the outside, making sure the vinyl seams line up on both halves.  Sew completely around the outside of the outside fabric (it will be inside out at this point.)

Pin together the two liner sides and sew almost completely around the lining, leaving ~3-4 inch opening somewhere, I prefer the bottom center but if you forgot (like I did here) you can leave it on the side.

Trim corners.  Turn right side out and it should look something like this:

Hand stitch the ~3 inch opening shut and push the liner down into the bag.  Ta-Da!  You are done!!

I know there are a lot of steps and I tried to take a lot of pictures but these really are pretty straight forward.  Once the fabrics are cut I can knock out all the machine sewing and ironing in 45 minutes which makes this a pretty fun and satisfying nap/quiet time project.  And you just made a purse!  Oh the possibilities...

Source: modified from Barbara Huber Designs

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