A Statement Patchwork Clutch

I wrote in my last post that I was in need of a little non-deadline sewing, a project just for fun. Shortly after I wrote that, I spent a couple hours feeding my Pinterest addiction and came across this fabulous tutorial from Say Yes to Hoboken for a simple fold over clutch– just what I’d had in mind. The next afternoon, I stitched up my own version in just a couple quick hours. I made mine a bit larger since I’m the sort of person who will try to squeeze a small knitting project into any bag she carries. And naturally, I patchwork-ified it.

This is one of those statement accessories that would look great with a neutral outfit… if only I owned one. I might have to go buy a white shirt. There’s something I love about the feeling of a clutch, the way it snuggles under your arm, and the way you can never totally ignore it– not like a messenger bag that just gets flung to your backside. The clutch is a real participant in the ensemble.

Wanna know how I did it? It’s super easy, folks. Just read and learn…

Cut your fabrics. You’ll need 70 3″ squares in an array of colors. I used about 15 different colors but you could use more or less. I also didn’t cut exactly 70 squares (too much counting for my non-mathy brain) and am currently brainstorming a brilliant way to use up my leftovers.

Stitch together a row of five squares. You know, use the usual 1/4″ seam allowance, and press open the seams between squares.

Make six of these five-square rows. Keep track of your color placement so you’re spreading out your hues and don’t have repeats of the same color next or diagonal to each other. Once you have six rows, sew them together while lining up the seams between squares so you’ll have a block that is five squares by six squares.

Make two of these bad boys.

Pin each block to a backing fabric, with wrong sides facing. Allow about an inch of extra backing at each edge. Now, this is a bit unorthodox, but I wanted my clutch to be quilted, yet soft and easily foldable. So I used a sturdy outdoor fabric that almost has the stiffness of an interfacing, but I skipped the batting.

A cute pattern doesn’t hurt.

Quilt each block as desired. I went for one of my fave curly cue motifs, but a simple stippling or straight line quilting would do the trick beautifully. When you’re done, trim away the extra backing.

It’s zipper time– don’t be scared. I could only find a 15″-long zipper, so I trimmed off the extra after attaching it. Start by lining up the right sides of one block and the zipper, and stitch the zipper in place using a zipper foot (if your zipper foot is not in storage like mine– why oh why did I think I could go a month without a zipper foot?!)

Repeat on the opposite side. Sew the other side of the zipper to the right side of the other block.

Sew around the three edges of the bag. Make sure the zipper is halfway open before you begin sewing, or else you’ll sew your clutch shut (I may or may not have some experience with this very annoying situation). Trim away the excess zipper, and trim across the corners of the bag. Since I’m not a big fan of totally raw edges, I zig-zag stitched tightly across the exposed edges. Turn your bag inside out, press out the corners gently, iron the edges, and voila!

Funny how it just looks like a long, flat, rectangular bag. I guess it technically is until you throw in your keys, wallet, lip gloss, and sunglasses (or knitting, depending on your priorities), fold over the top, and it miraculously takes shape.

I’m thinking of buying some pleather and making a solid version for easier outfit matching. Might mess around with a finished lining as well so those raw edges are totally concealed, and stock a few in my Etsy store. But I’m also serious about that white shirt– for an outfit that’s all about the clutch.

Especially since my other favorite accessory is always neutral.

Sorry. I just can’t stop myself.


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