Friday, October 17, 2014

Let's Make a Clutch Purse with a Modern Frame

I'm finally able to get into my craft room after a couple of months of tending to other family issues. So today, I decided that it would be fun to demonstrate how to make a clutch purse with a modern frame.

Recently I bought these modern frames from an Etsy shop, Robin, the owner of the shop demonstrated her process with Martha Stewart when she was on Martha's show. How cool is that??? 
Robin's purse
Before beginning, I want to make it known that the design basics and concepts belong to Robin. However in my clutch purse,  I did make some improvements in the gusset area and added a small zipper pocket on the inside. In addition I made a larger purse size from her basic design. So let's begin.

Materials needed:
sewing machine
5/8 yd of decorative fabric for the outside (natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, etc. work best)
5/8 yd of fabric for the lining and optional zipper pocket
1/2 yd of heavyweight stabilizer (fusible like Pellon 71)
1/2 yd of fleece (fusible or sewn in)
1/4 yd of medium weight interfacing (optional)
5" zipper (optional)
rotary cutter or scissors
pliers for attaching chain
craft glue (one that adheres fabric with metal and the tip is small enough to fit into the metal frame channel)
8" Upstyle modern purse frame of your choice with or without chain handle loops (link below) 

Chain for handle (optional)
3/4" jewelry bar clamps  (optional)
ScotchGuard for Fabrics (optional)

Note: This tutorial is done in measures of inches, but if you would like to know centimeters, the conversion rate is 2.54 cm = 1"

Assembling materials and cutting fabric pieces

Assembled materials
After assembling all the materials, cut two 14" X 18 " pieces of fabric. One for the outside and one for the lining. Now cut a 13" X 17" of the heavyweight stabilizer and of the fleece. On the 17" side, measure down 7". Mark and draw a 1-1/2" line inward from edge. Now measure down 3" from the first mark and draw another 1-1/2" line like the first one. Connect to two inward end points.  Pin the 2 pieces together matching corners. Cut out that rectangular section. (There will be less bulkiness later when making the gusset).

Pin heavyweight stabilizer and fleece together.
Putting the pieces together
Option 1: Center the heavyweight stabilizer to the wrong side of the outside fabric and fuse it together. Then center and fuse the fleece to the stabilizer, making sure the 13" side goes along the13" side of the other cut materials. (Make sure you use manufacture directions for fusible materials).
Option 2: Center and place the 17" side of the fleece along the 17" side of the heavyweight stabilizer. Sew the fleece to the stabilizer 1/2" from the edge all the way around. Then place the heavyweight stabilizer to the wrong side of the outside fabric. Fuse together. This is what it should look like when completed.
Fleece, heavyweight stabilizer and outside fabric fused together.

Zipper pocket insert (optional)
Cut out two 6-3/4" X 6" of the lining fabric and one of a fusible medium weight interfacing. Fuse the interfacing to one side of lining. With right sides together, pin pocket leaving enough space on one side to turn right sides out. Starting at one end of the opening edge, sew 1/2" around the outside edges to the other open edge. Trim; clip corners and turn right side out. Press. Pin zipper to underside of the top of the longer side. Make sure to fold the zipper ends under so they don't show.

Pinned Zipper
Sew the bottom part of the zipper to the top of the pocket using a zipper foot.  With a scrap piece of material, measure and cut a 1" X 3" strip. Fold the edges inward and fold again, making a 3/8" strip. Sew lengthwise. 

Fold both long sides to the middle and then fold again.
sew strips in place and press upwards

Cut the strip in half and place at the pocket edges. Pin into place. Sew the strip in place at the zipper seam line as in photo. Press up towards the top of the zipper. Tuck in the top ends of the zipper tape so they will not show.

Sewing the pocket to the lining 
Taking your lining piece and laying it flat, find the center of the 14" side. Lightly mark. Now go 2" down from the edge and mark again. Measure your pocket, which should be about 5-1/2". Subtract the difference and divide by 2. 

14 - 5.5 = 8.5 / 2 = 4.25

There should be about 4-1/4" from the lining edge to each side of the pocket. With the right side of the pocket turned upside down and facing the right side of the lining, pin the remaining zipper tape along the marked line on the lining. Sew into place. Cut any excess off the strip. Press downward, making sure the pocket lays flat. Pin pocket into place and sew close to the pocket edges. 

Pinning top of the pocket into place

Sewing the top of the pocket 
pocket completed
Continue with assembling purse:

Top and side seams
Now with right sides together, sew the lining fabric to the outside fabric down the longer (14") sides, using 1/2" seams. This will be the top of your purse. Turn right side out and press the seams.

Sewing the top of the purse

Note : At this point, I lightly spray 2 coats of ScotchGuard for Fabrics on each side of the purse. This will help protect your purse from dirt and stains. Apply according to manufacturers directions. 

Fold in half with the pressed edges at the top. Pin or use a paper clip to hold it in place. Starting at the top sew a 3/8" seam line down the sides. Trim to 1/8" and turn inside out.

Make a French seam by sewing again close the same edge to enclose the raw edges. (I usually stitch the first seam and then stitch another seam 1/4" away from the first.)

To make the gusset, take the right side of the fabric and fold corner into a triangle. and measure 1-1/2" from the bottom tip. This will be at the edge of  marked the cutout in the fleece and heavy stabilizer that was done in the beginning. Lightly draw a line across using the edge of the cutout section as your guide. Sew on the line; back stitching at both ends. Turn right side out and iron thoroughly.
Attaching metal frame to purse
Measure the distance from seam to seam with a tape measure. Then measure the length of the purse frame. Subtract the difference and divide that by 2. Place a piece of tape on both ends so that the frame can be centered between the taped edges and on both sides. Robin, from Upsytle, says it might be a good idea to practice inserting the frame before gluing it and I agree. Now start with one side of the purse frame and put some glue but not too much (less is better) into the channel, beginning about 1/2" away from the edge. Place the frame between the taped edges. Allow it to dry for about 30 minutes. Then do the other side.

This is a smaller version of the basic clutch without a strap
(I had to tuck it up in there a little bit at a time). If for some reason the edge of the purse doesn't get tightly secured to the purse frame, you can pull it out and redo. Just make sure you take all of the glue out of the channel first. Wait about a day for both parts to completely adhere together before doing the next step. Finally fold the side edges of the purse under the V-section of the purse frame. 

Push the excess material under the V-part of the metal frame
Purse with chain handle or combination of chain and fabric
Option 1: If a chain handle is desired, measure 20" of chain and crimp on to the loops. Note: If you don't want to cut your own chain, you can also buy these from Upstyle.
Option 2: Cut a piece of outside fabric 2-1/2" X 15". Fold and press the edges 1/2" towards the center, lengthwise. Fold again.  Press. Open and fold under the top and bottom edges. Stitch close to the folded edges of the strap. Attach the jewelry bar clamp to each end of the strap.  Attach a 2-1/2" chain to each end of the purse and to the bar clamp. Now you have a fabulous clutch purse! 

Don't you just love polka dots!

I would like to thank Robin, from Upstyle, for giving me the basics  for making this fabulous clutch. Please, take a look at her shop if your on Etsy. You can find her shop at

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