When I go out on the town (two or three times a year) I always have to run to the closet to find a purse that's not a diaper bag. I usually grab what used to be my everyday purse, which is a black leather hobo by Fossil. It's a great purse, but it's just too big for a date night. All I need to bring are my wallet, phone, keys, and some chapstick. I'm very high-maintenance like that. Several weekends ago I found myself all dressed up carrying a huge purse with, like, two things in it. I wished I had a colorful little clutch, so I decided to make one. Designing and making stuff is fun, but if you're a less-than-stellar seamstress like me, it can take a lot of trial and error. In this case, the third time was the charm. Yes, it took three times, but I finally figured out the fastest, easiest way to make a custom fabric clutch. And yes, I am happy to share it with you. Now go pick out some cute fabric and let's get this road on the show.
- 1/2 yard of fabric for the outside of the bag (green in this tutorial)
- 1/2 yard of fabric for the lining (umbrella print in this tutorial)
- 1/2 yard of extra-firm stabilizer (I used Pellon 926)
- 1 magnetic button clasp
Step 1: Cut your fabric, lining and stabilizer. You will be cutting them into a house shape. That is, a rectangle with a point on top. The fabric and lining should be the same size, the stabilizer needs to be a bit smaller (subtract one inch from all measurements) because it will have to fit inside. The measurements I used are in the image to the right. (20"x13" with the top corners lopped down 6") Of course you can resize to your liking. Think of your wallet size before you commit! Mine's huge. The final size of the clutch using these measurements is 12"x6".
Step 2: Before you do any sewing, you have to attach your snap closures. Decide on where you want them by putting your fabric and lining wrong sides together and folding them in the middle of the rectangle. (see image 2 below) The base of the snap will be attached to the outer fabric. The top of the snap will be attached to the lining. Remember to think about seam allowances when you decide on placement. If you want to add interior pockets, now is the time to do that, too.
Step 3: Here is a Youtube video tutorial on how to install magnetic snaps. It's not at all hard. I promise. 'Cause if you've read any of my tutorials, you know I like to complain about things that are hard. I used a little piece of scrap canvas as backing for support. (see image 3) Also, I watched the video after I installed the snaps. Don't do that.
Step 4: Place your fabric and lining right sides together and stitch most of the way around your house shape with a half inch seam allowance. *Leave one side of the rectangle open. This is where you will insert the stabilizer. Turn the piece right side out and press.
Step 5: Insert your stabilizer. I accidentally bought a non-fusible pellon, but I think it actually worked out better. I made one version with fusible and it made the lining all wrinkly. The non-fusible just sorta floats around in there, but it still does its job, and it doesn't make the fabric all wonky. (Yes, wonky is a technical textile term.)
Step 6: You're almost finished, my friend! Fold your clutch so that the lining is on the outside. Run a stitch as close to the edge as possible on the side that is already closed up. Backstitch both ends for good measure.
Step 7: Okay, now you're going to stitch just the outer fabric together on the side that is open. Your clutch should still be inside out and you'll have to shove the lining and stabilizer out of the way so it doesn't get caught in the stitch. Sew as much closed as you can.
Step 8: Hand stitch the lining closed. I used an iron to press the raw edges in and then a simple running stitch along edge of the crease. My lining fabric is pretty busy, so it conceals the stitch. If you have a solid lining or care more than I do, use a blind stitch.
Step 9: Turn your clutch right side out, but your phone and chapstick in it and go! Then brag to everyone about how you made it yourself. Or just say you bought it on Etsy, 'cause that's what all the cool kids do.