Monday, February 27, 2012

Tutorial: The Fabric Strip Clutch

One of my goals this year is to get around to some projects that I have been meaning to complete. I saw a zippered clutch similar to this at Anthropologie last spring, and I decided that it was something that I wanted to try and make. So one year later...

This clutch is so much fun! I chose to use a thin, pin-striped fabric for the main body of the clutch, with a black interior. I chose a pop of color with the yellow zipper (one of my 50 zippers I am using this year!), and I inset the zipper. You may notice a flower and some swirls on the outside of the purse. This is an embellishment that I added to the exterior of the purse using some careful planning and a thin strip of fabric. I cut the strip of fabric with the stripes going horizontally, so the stripes would really pop! I am going to show you exactly how I made the whole clutch - including the inset zipper and the fabric strip embellishment! After making the floral design, I got excited about all of the possibilities of how to use strips of fabric in different ways. I hope you will make this clutch and send me some pictures of how you used strips of fabric to embellish.

  • 5-1/2"x10-1/2" - cut 2 of fusible fleece, cut 2 of outer fabric (in my case, the striped fabric)
  • 1"x10-1/2" - cut 2 of lining fabric (in my case, the black fabric)
  • 5"x10-1/2" - cut 2 of lining fabric
  • 10" zipper (use my tutorial on fixing the length of a zipper to get it to the perfect size!)
  • 1/4" wide strips of outer fabric to form flowers, prepped with a thin bead of Fray Check down each side
  • a scrap of fabric for the zipper pull
  • a bowl/mug for a template to make rounded corners
  • basic sewing supplies (thread, sewing machine, scissors, pins, etc.) 

*All seam allowances are 1/4" unless otherwise noted.

#1 - Iron the fusible fleece on the wrong side of the outer fabric (repeat for other piece of outer fabric).
#2 - Using a bowl/mug, trace and cut two rounded corners on the bottom of both pieces of outer fabric.

#3 - Using chalk (or a fabric marker), draw a design on one side of the clutch. Start on one edge and form one continuous line, ending on another side of the clutch (you should not pick up your pencil while making this line). This took me several tries, and I found it was best to practice on a piece of paper a few times before I drew on the clutch. You will need to remember the path you took, because you will follow the same path when you sew your strips of fabric on top.

#4 - Taking a long strip of 1/4" wide fabric (long enough to make it along your whole design), start on one edge. Put your presser foot down, and slowly sew down the center of the strip of fabric following your line as a guide. You can see here how I started on one end and slowly turned the clutch as I sewed. One of my favorite features on my sewing machine is the needle down button. When I use this feature, anytime I stop, my needle stays down in the fabric. I can then lift the presser foot and rotate the fabric a little bit. When making the flower, I took a couple of stitches, and then rotated the fabric just a little bit. My flower has 6 petals.

Here is what the clutch looks like from the front when completed.

 On the back, you can better see my stitch lines.

#5 - If you choose to sew strips of fabric on the back of the clutch as well (like I did), you will want to do that now.

Here is a view of the stitching I did on the back of the clutch.

Both outer sides of the clutch are ready to go! Good job!

Now we are going to install the zipper and finish the clutch.

#6 - Pin the 1"x10-1/2" piece of lining fabric on top of the outer clutch piece (right-sides-together). Repeat on both sides. Sew along the top edge of both clutch pieces.
When referring to the outer clutch piece from now on, the top of the outer clutch piece will be this 1"x10-1/2" piece of lining fabric folded open.

#7 - Round the bottom two corners of both 5" x10-1/2" lining pieces using your bowl/mug.

#8 - Make sure your zipper measures to 10". Use this tutorial if it is a little bit short or a little bit long, in order to adjust the length so it fits this project.

#9 - Pin a three-layer sandwich. The two pieces of "bread" are the outer clutch piece and the lining fabric (with right-sides-together). The zipper is the peanut butter in between and should be facing the outer fabric. When you are pinning the three layers together, pin the zipper to the 1"x10-1/2" lining fabric that you sewed onto the outer fabric. Center the zipper, leaving a 1/4" gap on each side of the zipper.

#10 - Sew along the top edge, making sure to sew all three layers together.

#11 - Now pin together another sandwich. The two pieces of "bread" are the other outer clutch piece and the other 5"x10-1/2" lining fabric (with right-sides-together). The peanut butter is the zipper piece (that is now connected to a layer of lining fabric and outer fabric). Place the zipper piece face down, facing the other outer clutch piece of "bread". You will be sewing through three layers of fabric: the black edge that was sewed onto the outer clutch piece, the raw edge of the zipper, and the top edge of the other lining fabric piece. Make sure your zipper is centered, leaving a 1/4" gap on each side of the zipper. Clear as mud, right? 

#12 - Sew along the top edge. You now will have all of your fabric pieces connected.

#13 - Open your zipper about halfway. Lay your clutch so the two outer fabrics are facing right-sides-together, and the two lining pieces are facing right-sides-together. Pin all the way around the clutch. You will see that I have two pins close together on the left side. I start at one set of double-pins (backstitching), and sew all the way around the clutch and end at the other set of double pins (backstitching). I do this so I make sure I am leaving a gap in order to turn the clutch right-side-out. Sew around the clutch, leaving a gap so it can be turned right-side-out.

#14 - Turn the clutch right-side-out.

#15 - Pin the gap in the lining closed. Handstitch or use a small seam-allowance with your sewing machine to sew the lining closed.

#16 - Pin the top of the clutch so all of the black lining is on the inside. I pressed this seam while pinning.

#17 - Sew around the top edge of the clutch using coordinating thread (I used 1/8" seam allowance at this point).

#18 - Optional: Tie a small strip of fabric to the zipper.

And you are done!

Please ask questions if any of the steps were confusing to you.
And, of course, share what you made!

Happy Sewing!

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  1. sono incantata di questi pochette mi piace a farli a crearli in tutti modi e colori o provato tantissimi modelli lili
    se ti va vieni a vedere i miei modelli

  2. this is so cute! thanks for the tutorial! :-)

  3. Very cool! I love the fabric strip embellishment idea - I can see it on a top or dress, too! Thanks for posting this!

  4. That's it. I totally need to make this clutch. A girl can never have too many clutches. The details on your purse are so so cute. Now I know what to do with that vintage fabric I bought. :)

  5. What a great tutorial...and super cute clutch! I'd love for you to stop by Etcetorize to share this at the Make it Great linky party that starts tonight ( Hope to see you there~

  6. Spotted your tutorial on so I came for a peek - your zippy is adorable - that pop of yellow is perfection, and your design and embellishments are fabulous!

    I haven't yet tried an inset zipper but I'd really like to learn how to do it - I've pinned this tutorial and will give it a try - thank you! (I recently bought 50 zippers from an Etsy seller so I have a goal this year too, of using lots of them up, LOLOL!)

  7. LOVE your bag!! I saw that Anthro version too and I like yours even better. That yellow zipper is so super cute!

  8. I'm scared of zippers! But, you make this look so easy! I'm going to try it sometime. I have a new sewing tutorial linky in a permanent tab on my blog. If you'd like to link up any other sewing tutorials, feel free!

  9. I love the strip design idea but how does the fabric not fray?