There are reasons I’ll continue to purchase my totes and handbags, even though this quick DIY clutch didn’t turn out so badly. I think my sewing machine hates me, or it hates the threads I choose, or it hates my fabrics, but it’s evident that I should stick to home improvement-related projects and leave the seamstress experts to the fancy purse-makin’ stuff. But if I can make something like this, you probably can too. And that’s why I’m sharing it.
I’m not really one to make a lot of clothing items, but I did make an awful lot of Beanie Baby sleeping bags one year, so the sewing machine isn’t as a foreign tool as, say, the rototiller. It occurred to me one day while I was digging through my scrap fabrics that I could make a cute little carry all with what I had, and maybe, if I could be so lucky, for (basically) free! And so I tried.
I started by cutting a piece of blue flowery linen fabric sized approximately 14″x26″ from the bolt that I bought (for $1) from a recent yard sale. To add a little interest to the base of the bag, I decided to add little feet to the corners, a supplementing detail that involved trimming a full circle of faux-leather fabric that was leftover from my latest ottoman project (using a small plate as a template) and then cutting it into half-circles for each corner of the bag.
When folded and sewn, the clutch would theoretically look like this:
I sewed the faux-leather to the main piece of fabric first. They’re the clutch equivalent of elbow patches.
As you can kind of tell here, as I sewed it on slowly I tried to roll the unfinished edge under to make it appear a little more polished (even though the pleather fabric does not tend to fray). Had I not done that, the faux-leather underside may have shown a bit, so I think my efforts, albeit imperfect, were worthwhile.
The blue fabric was, on the other hand, starting to fray at the edges. Also, having white areas that I didn’t want to stain from the inside if my lip gloss started to melt, I decided to line the inside of the bag using a heavier white outdoor canvas that has a bit of stiffness to it. After the pleather patches were sewn in place, I lined what would be the inside of the bag with the white canvas and folded it cleanly so that I could sew up either side of the bag.
With both sides sewn up, I flipped the bag right side out. The patches aren’t perfectly symmetrical themselves, but they do align perfectly the way each wraps around to the back of the clutch. Handbag manufacturers, don’t worry, you’re not going out of business.
The zipper install went more easily than I expected. I chose a chunkier metal 14″ zipper from JoAnn’s for the job, in a muted beige color. It only cost me about $1.55, which was after I used one of my 50% off coupons. Anyone else ever feel wasteful using these coupons on what are possibly the least expensive items in the store?
The ends of the zipper were purposefully a little long, so I added little faux-leather tabs by sewing them to the overhanging ends. They started off pretty nice, but I trimmed them in to be closer to the seam, and now they’re imperfect. I’m OK with that. And I have trimmed that obnoxious stray string that’s popping northward since I took that photo.
The bag, although a little wrinkly from being sewn up and manhandled during its assembly, was pretty cute.
And because it’s still pretty big (12″x12″), it can be folded over and carried too, just like all of those styles I covet on Pinterest.
With a quick iron to get out the creases in the linen, it’s done! And offers enough room to store my wallet, phone, lipgloss, and anything else that I find myself needing on a casual day out.