i am totally aware i’m behind the trends. typically, by the time i start thinking something is cool, it’s on the way out. and you know what, i’m okay with it. if you are too, perhaps i might interest you in a tutorial for this cute little clutch i just added to my shop today! that’s right. i am posting a full, photographed, step by step tutorial to make exactly the item i am trying to sell. while i’m not an expert business person, the past few months of blogging and selling have demonstrated that my readers are not my buyers of ready made products. but you guys support me in other ways, so why not share the love, right? as i mentioned, i wanted to create some engaging content for you guys, and a big part of why i read sewing blogs is to learn new skills–that’s most of it really. so, hopefully this will provide some knowledge for you.
over a year ago, my friend cherie posted a tutorial to make a very similar foldover clutch with a leather bottom that just blew me away with its cuteness. she had remixed a clutch made by her friend kristin. and so, you may be asking yourself, why does the blogosphere need yet another foldover clutch tutorial? i have a few little gems of my own to add, including how to work with waxed canvas, how to shorten a zipper, how to install a zippered pocket, and how to put in zippers without a zipper foot (any tutorial of mine is going to have a rogue element). so, if you’re interested, read on!
first, gather your supplies. you will need:
- two pieces of your main exterior fabric (i used some of the beautiful meadow line by leah duncan) measuring 8.5×10″. if your print is directional, note that the LENGTH is 8.5″.
- two pieces of contrast exterior fabric (i used waxed canvas i ordered from here) measuring 4.5×10″.
- if you are using a quilting cotton or other lightweight fabric for your main exterior and something heavier for the bottom portion, you should reinforce with interfacing (or baste to canvas) to make the entire exterior similar weight (and more durable). i used pellon sf101, a fusible interfacing. cut two pieces roughly 8×9.5″. making it slightly smaller than what you’re fusing it to will take bulk out of your seams.
- two pieces of lining fabric measuring 12×10″ (mine is an orange dot from joann)
- for the zipper pocket, two pieces of fabric measuring 6×7″ (mine is a peach shot cotton)
- one zipper for the interior pocket–i used a plastic zipper because you can adjust them to any length. anything over 7″ will do.
- one 9″ metal zipper for the clutch–you can find these at joann labeled as “fashion” or “denim” zippers. importantly, the 9″ zipper has an extra 0.5″ of zipper tape on either end of it, so it will be the same width as the clutch fabric. metal zippers are not easy to adjust!
- if you are using a heavy fabric like the waxed canvas, you should use an appropriate needle, or you and your machine will get angry with each other. 100/16 or 110/18 should work fine–i used a denim needle because it’s what i had on hand, and it worked great.
- optional, a short length of faux leather cord to make a zipper accent. you can buy this in the jewelry section of your craft store.
ok! let’s get started! begin by fusing the interfacing to the WRONG side of your main exterior fabric, like so.
next, we’re going to attach the waxed canvas. depending on the type you get, one side will be more waxy, while the other will feel like plain canvas. i like to crumple it up so the waxy side gets some cool looking creases. gives it a nice rustic appearance. you are going to attach your two exterior pieces (main and bottom) with a 0.5″ seam allowance. again, keep in mind that waxed canvas does have a right and wrong side–you want right sides together here. also, if you have a directional print, remember that the clutch will fold over, so right side up will become upside down.
anyway, attach the main pieces to the bottom pieces. you will see that i use pins very infrequently.
press the seam allowance down toward the bottom. technically, you should use a press cloth with waxed canvas, but a) i am lazy and b) i went out of my way to not touch my iron to the waxy side, so take it easy.
topstitch the seam in place. you can see i used my presser foot as a guide, running the left side right along the seam.
when you are done, you’ll have two pieces that look like this.
now, it’s zip pocket time! tutorial within a tutorial. this is a great skill to have that will elevate any purse type thing you’re making, and it’s really not too difficult. first, center a pocket lining piece on a clutch lining piece, right sides together. the top of the pocket piece should be 2″ down from the top of the clutch lining piece. pin in place. about 1″ down from the top of the pocket piece, use a water soluble pen to draw a centered rectangle 3/8″ tall and 5.5″ wide.
sew all the way around the perimeter of the rectangle, right on top of the line you just drew.
now you are going to (carefully!) cut through the center of the rectangle, making a slit all the way across. when you come to the corners, you cut in a y shape to, but not THROUGH your stitches (see photo below).
now, stuff the pocket piece through the slit you just made. it will be sloppy–that’s okay. get to work with your iron and make it as flat as possible, with no pocket piece showing on the right side of your lining piece. here is what the WRONG side of your clutch lining piece will look like,
and here is what the RIGHT side now looks like.
and now, the zipper! lay your clutch liner over your zipper like so, and pin in place.
as i mentioned, i always buy longer zippers, because they can always be shortened. once your zipper is centered and secured, make two marks. the first, darker mark on the left designates my new zipper stop, which i will go over several times with a short, zigzag stitch. it’s barely an inch from the end of the slit for the zipper. the next, dotted line designates where i will trim my zipper with pinking shears. this mark is somewhat arbitrary–i just made it short enough that it will fit inside the pocket lining once it’s all stitched up, but because this will all be between the clutch lining and exterior, nobody will know if you have a little zipper tape hanging out of your pocket lining.
sew and trim as explained above.
now, topstitch your zipper in place by sewing carefully around the perimeter. again, i used the left side of my presser foot as a guide. no zipper foot is necessary here. if your presser foot is knocking around the zipper pull, just unzip it an inch or two to get it out of the way.
last step–i told you this was easy! place the second pocket piece over top the one you have already sewn in place, right sides together. again, you are looking at the BACK of your clutch lining piece with the WRONG side up, with an attached pocket piece RIGHT side up.
now all you have to do is sew around the whole perimeter of these two pocket pieces to attach them together. use a 0.5″ seam allowance and move the clutch lining piece out of the way as you go–you are ONLY sewing the pocket pieces.
look! you have a pocket. stop for a moment to admire your handy work. this would also be a great time to add a label if you plan to do it. too many times i have fully assembled something with a lining and had to handstitch a label in later. which makes me VERY ANGRY. put your label in now that you see the pocket placement, before you forget and start throwing things in rage.
ok, home stretch here! take one of your exterior pieces and lay it RIGHT side up. place your main zipper so it is centered and aligned with the top edge of the fabric, zipper side DOWN, zipper pull to the LEFT.
place a lining piece on top, making a zipper sandwich, right side DOWN, so that the lining and exterior right sides are facing each other. please ignore that my zipper pull is on the right in this photo, it should be on the left, you haven’t gone crazy. now, here is my best trick for putting in zippers without a zipper foot. i have made a LOT of zippered things this year, and early on, my zipper foot vanished into thin air. it’s the only thing to ever 100% disappear from my sewing room and it remains an unsolved mystery. rather than getting another one (sure i’d find the original eventually…), i decided to adapt to using a regular foot. i recently caved and replaced the zipper foot, and now i absolutely hate it and prefer my adapted method. so here it is. open the zipper a few inches, and make sure to keep the edge of the tape aligned with your fabric.
place your lining fabric, right side down, on top as we previously discussed. make sure all three are aligned.
sew all three layers together with a 0.25″ seam allowance, back stitching when you are just about to reach the zipper pull.
stop, cut your thread, and close the zipper. now put all three layers back together, and resume your seam where you left off, sewing to the end. and just like that, you beat the zipper. ha!
fold the exterior and lining fabrics so they are now wrong sides together. place this piece, zipper side DOWN and zipper pull to the RIGHT on top of the remaining exterior piece, right side UP.
place your remaining lining piece on top, making another zipper sandwich. repeat the process as outlined above to attach the three layers together.
again, fold so that the wrong sides of the exterior and lining are together. press.
topstitch zipper in place using your presser foot as a guide. if you are brave, you may use a contrasting color thread here. i am not brave, nor can i sew in a straight line to save my life. repeat on either side.
now we’re just putting it together! IMPORTANT: UNZIP YOUR TOP ZIPPER HALFWAY RIGHT NOW. do it, or you won’t be able to turn your bag right side in. DO IT. ok. now fold the fabrics so that the exterior pieces are right sides together, and the lining pieces are right sides together.
pay close attention to how your exterior pieces are lining up. for the best, most professional results, you want to make sure the two bottoms are as perfectly aligned as possible. the other place you really want to pay attention to is the junction of the main and lining fabrics. it’s so critical in fact, that even i am willing to use four pins: two to secure each side of the bottom pieces together, and two to secure the two lining/exterior junctions together.
starting about 2/3 through the bottom of your lining pieces, sew around the perimeter of this whole contraption with a 0.5″ seam allowance (i used green thread here, mostly out of laziness, but it does make it quite easy to see). take extra care when you get to those important, pinned areas to make sure everything is matching up where it needs to. stop when you’re about 1/3 of the way down that bottom of the lining again, leaving a good few inches open to turn the bag. you should not have any issues sewing around the zipper, because you have that 0.5″ of tape on either side. still, be cautious anytime your needle is close to metal.
reach in and turn that sucker right side out. press the opening in the bottom of the lining closed, turning 0.5″ inward so the seam will be continuous.
sew the bottom of the lining shut. you can hand sew this, but honestly, it’s the bottom of a bag lining that few will ever see, and i trust the integrity of machine stitches over my wacky hand sewing anyway.
tie a little cord on the zipper pull if you’re feeling festive, and you are…
DONE. and so am i. tutorials are exhausting! jeez! but i really think this one has some widely applicable skills.
look at you, you zipper superstar. there are zippers all over the place here, and i bet they didn’t make you cry once. and now you have a cute little bag, too. enjoy!