Bags, totes, purses, clutches. Jumbo, petite and in between... if you can carry it in your hand or over your shoulder, it immediately rockets to the #1 position on our Project Popularity Chart. (Yes... we have one of those, and every year, one project is voted Prom Queen!) If you're looking for a way to show off your creativity, there's nothin' better than a bag. Today's pretty little purse, with its dramatic bow and shiny metallic zipper, makes a bold fashion statement. The unique slip-through pleated band is a very clever way to clutch this clutch! We chose Amy Butler's Sateen Bliss, part of her Alchemy Studio Collection, for both the bag's exterior as well as its lining. This substrate has an absolutely lovely feel and just the right amount of sheen.
This clutch coordinates beautifully with our Elegant Pleated Wrap in Velveteen and Rayon.
Sewing Tools You Need
Fabric and Other Supplies
There is extra yardage figured in to allow for fussy cutting. All the pieces for the clutch to carefully cut to take advantage of the strong horizontal motifs on the fabric. If you are new to fussy cutting, check out our handy step-by-step tutorial.
- 1 yard of 58-60" wide sateen bliss for the exterior panels, pleated panel and bow; we used Victoriana in Zinc in Sateen Bliss from the Alchemy collection by Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics
NOTE: As we mentioned above, if you are not using the same fabric and do not have such a strong horizontal motif, you can get away with as little as ½ yard.
- ¼ yard of 58-60" wide sateen bliss for the lining; we used Flora in Berry in Sateen Bliss from the Alchemy collection by Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics
- ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide medium-weight fusible interfacing for the bag; we used Pellon 809 Decor-Bond®
- ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide low loft batting for the bag; we used Pellon 2107 Natural One™ Cotton Fleece
- ⅝ yard of 20" lightweight fusible interfacing for the bow; we used 950F ShirTailor® by Pellon
- One 7" zipper; we used a Coats Metallic zipper in silver
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See through ruler
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Fabric pencil, pen or chalk
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- From the fabric for the exterior (Victoriana in Zinc in our sample), fussy cut the following:
TWO 7½" high x 10½" wide rectangles - fussy cut so the pattern is exactly the same for the front and back panels.
ONE 13" high x 11" wide rectangle for the pleated panel - fussy cut so the multi-colored floral bands are centered in the middle of the height; when folded and with the seam rolled to the back, these floral bands will end up top and bottom.
ONE 10" high x 21" wide rectangle for the bow - fussy cut so one multi-colored floral band is centered in the middle of the height; then when folded the top edge of the finished bow will feature the floral motif.
ONE 3½" x 3½" square for the bow's faux knot
TWO 1¼" x 2½" strips for the zipper tabs - fussy cut to match the top of the bag
- From the fabric for the lining (Flora in Berry in our sample), fussy cut TWO 7½" high x 10½" wide rectangles
- From the medium-weight fusible interfacing (Pellon Decor Bond in our sample), cut TWO 7½" x 10½" rectangles.
- From the low loft batting (Pellon Natural One in our sample), cut TWO 7½" x 10½" rectangles.
- From the lightweight fusible interfacing (Pellon Shir-Tailor in our sample), cut the following:
ONE 10" x 21" rectangle
ONE 3½" x 3½" square
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Fusing and batting
- Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the medium-weight interfacing to the wrong side of both exterior panels. Fuse the lightweight interfacing to the wrong side of the bow panel and faux knot square.
- Place the two batting pieces right side up on your work surface. Place a fused exterior panel right side up on each piece of batting. Pin lightly or hand baste the fabric and batting together.
- Find the 13" x 11" panel for the pleated accent band.
- Fold the panel in half, right sides together, so it now measures 6½" x 11". Pin along the 11" edge.
- Using ½" seam allowance, stitch along the 11" edge, creating a tube.
- Turn the tube right side out. Roll the seam to the center back and press the tube flat, using a pressing cloth. As mentioned above, you should have now a floral band along the top and the bottom.
- Make three ½" pleats. The first pleat is 1½" from the top of the band, the subsequent two pleats are ½" apart, and the edge of the final pleat is ½" from the bottom of the band. Pin the pleats in place, do not press.
NOTE: If you are new to pleating, check out our tutorial: How To Make Knife Pleats.
- Repeat to create a matching set of pleats at the opposite end of the band. Pin through the middle of the band as well to secure the pleats.
- Lay the pinned pleated panel at a slight diagonal across the front exterior panel. The left edge should be approximately 1" from the top left corner of panel, the bottom of the band should be approximately 1" from the bottom right corner of the panel.
- Pin in place, then machine baste each end of the band in place, staying within the seam allowance.
- The band may extend a bit beyond the panel on each end. Simply trim flush once you've basted the band into place.
Insert the zipper
- Find the 7" zipper and the two 1¼" x 2½" strips.
- Place one strip on each end of the zipper. The strip and the zipper are right sides together and the raw ends of each strip are approximately ½" from each end of the zipper. Pin in place.
NOTE: We based the width of these strips on our zipper. Cut your zipper as needed to best fit your zipper; you want the strip to fit within the zipper tape.
- Stitch the zipper tabs in place, running your seam just below the top and bottom zipper stops.
- Press the zipper tabs away from the zipper on each end. Open the zipper about half way.
- Find the front and back exterior panels.
- Place the front exterior panel with its pleated band right side up on your work surface.
- Lay your zipper upside down along the top edge of the front panel (ie. right sides together with the zipper teeth facing down on the right side of the fabric). The edge of the zipper tape should be even with the fabric's raw horizontal edge. Make sure the zipper is centered between the left and right sides of the panel. The zipper tabs will extend beyond the raw edges of the panel.
- Pin the zipper to the panel, being careful to pin through just the top of the zipper. You need to be able to open and close the zipper; you can't do that if you've pinned across the zipper teeth.
- Attach your Zipper foot. Your needle should be in the left-most position.
- Stitch as close to the zipper as the foot will allow, removing the pins as you sew.
- Go slowly. When you get to the middle, where you can start to feel you're approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position.
- Twist your fabric around slightly and carefully close the zipper. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end. Be very careful and go slowly; you want your seam line to be super-duper straight.
- Press the panel away from the zipper.
- Repeat to attach the other side of the zipper to the back exterior panel.
- You now have panels stitched in place on either side of the zipper and the excess width is neatly filled in with the zipper tabs.
- Topstitch along each side, running your stitching as close to the edge of the fabric as possible.
NOTE: If you are new to working with zippers, check out our newly updated tutorial on regular zippers. The process for this little bag is also somewhat similar to how we inserted the zipper in our Zippered Pencil Case and our recent Ty Pennington Tasseled Pouches. There are some additional photos within these projects' instructions, which may help you walk through the process.
Complete the exterior bag
- Unzip the zipper about half way again.
- Fold the two panels right sides together, aligning the raw edges along both sides and across the bottom. Pin in place.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the bottom corners. Use a substantial backstitch at both the beginning and end of your seam to reinforce these stress points at either end of the zipper.
- Clip the corners at a diagonal and trim away the excess zipper tab fabric.
- Turn right side out through the zipper opening and press flat, using a pressing cloth.
Create and insert the lining
- Find the two 7½" x 10½" lining pieces.
- Place the two lining pieces right sides together. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
- Clip the corners at a diagonal and turn the lining right side out. Gently push out the corners so they are nice and square. Press flat.
- Turn back the top raw edge of the lining ½" all around. Turn the lining right side out.
- Find the exterior bag. Turn it wrong side out.
- With lining still right side out, slip the exterior bag inside the lining so the two bags are now wrong sides together.
- Align the bottom and side seams. The top folded edge of the bag should fall below the zipper teeth by about ⅛". If it doesn't, adjust the fold to fit and gently re-press.
- Pin the layers together.
- Thread the hand sewing needle.
- Slip stitch or whip stitch the lining to the bag.
- Stitch along the front and the back, but leave the lining loose where it wraps over the side seams. This allows some "give" in the lining so it folds smoothly as you zip the bag open and shut. Turn the finishing bag right side out.
Make and attach the bow
- Find the 10" x 21" fused rectangle for the bow. Fold it in half so it is now 10" x 10½". Pin in place, leaving a 2-3" opening in the center of the seam for turning.
- Using ½" seam allowance, stitch together, creating a tube. Remember to lock your seam on either side of the 2-3" opening.
- Roll the seam to the center back and press the tube flat.
- Pin along the top and bottom.
- Using ½" seam allowance, stitch along the top and bottom. Clip the corners and press the seam allowances flat.
- Turn right side out through that opening you left in the first seam.
- Gently poke out the corners so they are nice and square. A long knitting needle or chopstick works well for this. Press flat, using a pressing cloth.
- Working from the back (the side with the seam), accordion fold the entire piece through the center.
- Wrap some thread around the center to hold the folds in place and set aside.
- Find the 3½" x 3½" square for the faux knot.
- Fold right sides together and pin.
- Using ½" seam allowance, stitch together.
- Turn right side out. Find the accordion-folded bow. Wrap the strip around the center of the bow. Pin the raw edges together at the back of the bow. Thread the hand sewing needle and knot the end. Whip stitch the ends of the faux knot in place.
- The bow shoiuld be positioned on the upper left hand side of the pleated band, approximately 3" from the left edge. The band itself should be gathered slightly at the point where the bow will sit.
- If necessary, re-thread the hand needle and knot the thread. At the 3" in mark, run the needle and thread through all the pleats and pull taut to gather up the pleats.
- Place the bow against the gathered point on the band, making sure the smooth front of the faux knot is facing out. Hand stitch the knot to the band.
- Whip stitch along both the top and bottom inside edges of the knot. You are first stitching just to the band.
- When the bow is securely stitched to the band, reach inside the bag and tack the bow in place, stitching through the lining and batting into the back of the bow. You just need a few stitches, but it's important to anchor it through the layers of the bag in order to keep the large bow from flopping around.
- The clutch is held by slipping your hand behind the pleated band, in front of the bow, and grasping the bottom of the bag.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild