One afternoon, an hour before I was due to meet Carlotta, I decided to whip up a little clutch to go with my scientific dress (detailed in Getting sassy with science) rather than buying another clutch I’d rarely use. As I’d only given myself an hour to make it, I kept the bag simple with a small body, big enough for the essentials, and a wrist strap to make it easy to carry. I had some of the patch work off cuts from making my dress to hand so dug out a medium weight cotton for my lining to give it a bit of stiffness. Any fabric will work for this project but if you are using a lightweight fabric for the outer you should use a heavier weight for the lining (and vice versa), otherwise you should use an interfacing to give the bag some structure
To make this easy little clutch bag you’ll need:
- Outer fabric –2 pieces of 20cm x 15cm
- Lining fabric – 2 pieces at 20cm x 15cm
- Outer fabric for the strap – 4cm x 35cm (I traced around a ruler)
- Zip – 18cm
- Pattern paper or baking paper is great for cutting out patterns
- Thread, pins and patience
- Using my zip to guide the length, I cut a square on pattern paper and rounded off the edges (using a glass). Cut the 2 outer pieces and 2 lining pieces from this pattern.
- Cut the rectangular strap piece from the outer fabric. Fold the strip of fabric in on itself so the two edges meet in the middle, then fold it over again in half. I found it easiest to iron the strap as I folded to help it stay in place without using pins on such a small surface area. Using a narrow seam, sew along both edges of the strap. Aside from finishing it nicely, this will also give help the strap sit flatter.
- To add the zip, pin one of the outer fabric pieces to the edge of the front side of the zip. Then pin the lining to the other side so the zip is sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric – sorry I didn’t take a photo of this step. Sew as close to the zip as you can. Repeat this one both sides of the zip. Once you’ve completed this step you will have the zip front between the two pieces of outer fabric and the back of the zip between your lining pieces.
- Pin your strap piece to the edge of the top of your zip. The reason I suggest having the strap and the zip on the same end is because it makes the bag easier to open and close when it’s around your wrist.
- Open the zip to half-way for this finishing stage to get it out of the way of the sewing machine foot but also, it’ll make it a million times easier to turn your finished bag in the right way. Spread your bag apart so that the lining pieces are matched and your outer fabric pieces are matched and pin all the edges together. I used a plastic zip so I could sew straight over it so I made sure that when pining the zip edges down the pieces were facing the same direction for a cleaner finish. Make sure to mark a gap not to sew in the lining – this is so you can turn your bag inside out. I do this my pointing my pins in the opposite direction to the others. Sew along all the edges with a slightly narrower seam allowance on the lining pieces. Your lining pieces need to be slightly narrower than the outer bag so that they sit nicely inside without bunching. Trim off the excess from the lining.
- Once you’ve sewn the pieces together, turn the bag inside out through the gap you left in the lining. Using a simple stitch, sew up the gap.
- Push your lining back into your bag and you’re done! A quick press with the iron will flatten the seams.
This pattern was a deviation from a bow clutch I’m made a few times from Whitney from elmstreetlife.com, her tutorial for which is excellent. The bow feature also gives you something to tuck your hand into when holding it. Having only decided to make this clutch on the spur of the moment it was fairly crude and simple but made a nice themed accompaniment to my dress without being overly complicated to whip up.