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Necessities On The Go Mini Clutch in Simple Marks by Moda Fabrics

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I love watching old black and white re-runs of the original TV police series, Dragnet. The most famous "catchphrase" from this series is Detective Joe Friday's iconic line, "Just the facts, ma'am." But, here's your little-known-fact-of-the-day: he never actually uttered this line! Since old myths die hard, we'll continue the parody as the theme behind today's cute little mini clutch, because sometimes you need, "Just the necessities, ma'am." When you're running out the door, you need a little purse to hold the essentials, like cards, cash, and a shopping list. You could even use one as a mini wallet to toss into a larger bag. And this time of year, these quick and easy clutches make great gifts - especially when a gift card or a little cash is tucked inside. 

Each of our mini clutch samples was made with two Fat Quarters from Malka Dubrawsky's gorgeous Simple Marks collection for Moda Fabrics. A Fine Arts graduate, you can see Malka's deep sense of color and pattern expressed in this collection. Her love of hand-dying, bleaching and other fiber arts is translated into rich colors, strong graphics and a beautifully natural randomness to the lines and shapes.


Our thanks to Moda Fabrics for sponsoring this month's series. We end our set of Simple Marks projects today, but have much more coming up in Bonnie & Camille's Marmalade, Flirt by Sandy Gervais, Wee Wovens Brights, and BasicGrey's Kissing Booth.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies listed below are for ONE mini clutch, which finishes at approximately 6" wide x 3¾" high.

  • TWO Fat Quarters - one print and one coordinating solid (if you choose not to use Fat Quarters, you'll need approximate ½ yard cuts from four coordinating fabrics from which, depending on the size of the print, you should be able to make multiple mini clutches); we used the following four Fat Quarters from Simple Marks by Malka Dubrawsky for Moda Fabrics
    Pebble Fields for the exterior and pocket of clutch one
    Pebble Hand Dyed Solid for the interior and divider of clutch one
    Brick Red Pebbles for the exterior and pocket of clutch two
    Brick Red Hand Dyed Solid for the interior and divider of clutch two
  • ¼ yard of 45" wide medium-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon's Shir-Tailor®
  • Scrap or ⅛ yard of ½" - ⅝" sturdy twill tape
  • ONE elastic hair band
  • ONE ½" - ¾" button; we used a ½" faux wood button purchased locally
  • ONE 1" split ring(like the rings used for keys)
  • ONE 2" carabiner(optional)
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Seam gauge 
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the On The Go Carrier Top and On The Go Carrier Bottom patterns.
    IMPORTANT: Each pattern download consists of ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out each piece along the solid line and tape together at the points indicated by the arrows.
  3. From the fabric for the exterior and pocket, cut the following: 
    Using the pattern, fussy cut one exterior panel
    ONE 5" high x 4½" wide rectangle for the credit card pocket
  4. From the fabric for the interior and divider, cut the following: 
    Using the pattern, fussy cut one interior panel
    ONE 7" high x 6¾" wide rectangle for the divider
  5. Cut one 3" length of twill tape.
    NOTE: If you want to preserve your patterns, print TWO of each. Keep one at full size and trim the other back for the interfacing's pattern.
  7. From the fusible interfacing, cut the following:
    Using the trimmed pattern, cut TWO panels
    ONE 2" x 3½" rectangle for the credit card pocket
    ONE 3" x 5¾" rectangle for the divider

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board


  1. Center a corresponding interfacing piece side to side and top to bottom on the wrong side of both the interior and exterior pieces. You should have ½" of fabric showing all around. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing in place.
  2. Fold the pocket rectangle and the divider rectangle in half widthwise and press to set a center crease.
  3. Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Place the top edge of the corresponding interfacing along the crease line of each piece so it is centered side to side. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.

Make and position the pocket

  1. Place the fused pocket piece wrong side up on your work surface.
  2. Fold in each long side ¼" and press well.
  3. Fold in half, right sides together, and pin along the top raw edges only.
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along the top edge only.
  5. Turn right side out through the open sides. Press flat. The folded edge (not the seamed edge) is the top of the pocket.
  6. Place the interior panel right side up and flat on your work surface. The pocket should be centered on the panel, approximately 1½" in from each side. The top of the pocket should be approximately 3" from top curved raw edge of the panel, which is about ¾" below the horizontal line where the flap will fold closed. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom. 
  7. Lengthen you stitch. 
  8. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom. This will close the open sides of the pocket used for turning. Use a generous backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam, ie. at the pocket top. This is a stress point for the pocket and it's smart to secure the seam well.

Place the elastic and key ring

  1. Fold the lining panel in half lengthwise to find the exact center point of the top curve. Pinch a tiny fold at this point or mark with a pin. 
  2. Fold the elastic and place it at this center point. A hair band can move around quite a bit and is hard to pin.We found holding it in place with a bit of painter's tape was a good solution. 
  3. Machine baste the band in place within the seam allowance, ie. slightly less than the ½" seam allowance you will use to sew front to back.
  4. Find the 3" length of twill tape and slip it through the key ring. Fold the tape together, matching the raw ends.
  5. Position loop along the left side, just below the top edge of the pocket. This position is approximately 1" below the horizontal line where the flap will fold closed. The raw edges of the tape and the fabric are flush and the loop is facing in towards the middle of the panel. Machine baste in place within the seam allowance.

Assemble front to back and attach button

  1. Place the exterior panel right side together with the interior panel, sandwiching the pocket, hair band and key ring loop between the two layers. 
  2. Pin in place all around, leaving an approximate 4-5" opening along one side for turning. 
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the entire piece, remembering to lock your seam at either side of the opening. Pivot at both bottom corners and go slowing around the top to maintain a smooth curve. 
  4. Clip the corners at a diagonal, being careful not to cut into your seam.
  5. Trim the seam back to ¼".
  6. Clip the top curve, being careful to not clip through your stitching. For more information on curves, check out our tutorial about Sewing Curves.
  7. Turn right side out through the opening. Use a long, blunt-end tool, like our fave - a chopstick, to square the corners.
  8. Press well, turning in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  9. Flip over the clutch panel to the exterior side. Position your button so it is centered side to side. The center of the button itself should be approximately 3" up from the bottom straight edge of the clutch panel.
  10. Hand stitch the button in place through all the layers and knot securely. If you are new this technique, we have a tutorial: How To Sew On A Button.


  1. Find the fused divider panel. Fold it in half, right sides together. Pin along both sides.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides.
  3. Clip corners and trim seams back to ¼". Turn right side out, gently poke out the corners and press flat. 

Placing divider and final fold and seam

  1. Flip over the clutch panel to the interior side.
  2. Place the divider at the bottom of the panel. The divider should be positioned with the folded edge along the bottom and the raw edges along the top. 
  3. Center the divider so it sits ⅛" up from the bottom edge of the panel and is centered side to side. Lightly pin in place.
  4. Fold up the bottom of the panel so what was the bottom edge now sits just below the horizontal line where the flap will fold closed. The side edges should be flush. The raw edge of the divider is now hidden within what is now the bottom fold of the mini clutch. It will secured in the final seam.
  5. Pin the along both sides through all the layers.
  6. Lengthen your stitch.
  7. Edgestitch the folded clutch along both sides and across the bottom through ALL the layers, pivoting at the corners. As you did with the pocket, use a generous backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. You are going through quite a few layers, so go slowly and use the handwheel if necessary.
  8. Fold the flap down into position, looping the elastic over the button. Press well. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas      
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Aimee McGaffey



Comments (23)

Alisha said:
Alisha's picture

This is so cute!  I just made two of them, and there will be more to come!

Great instructions and pictures.  Very well done!

Rjc said:
Rjc's picture

I just made wallet and the directions are very clear Can't wait to make my next one......thanks

Linda Braun said:
Linda Braun's picture

Thank for such a cute idea.  I made two in very little time and plan to use them when I am wearing my "across the body" handbag that is very flat and cannot hold a bulky wallet.  

Dorothy Schreffler said:
Dorothy Schreffler's picture

I bought one of these from the Vera Bradley collection except that it had a plastic window on one side.  That is where I keep my driver's license.  My keys are attached to the ring so I put in my insurance papers, credit card or cash and go to run errands without having to carry a big purse.  Now, since the one I have is beginning to fray around the edges, I will have to make another one only I think I will try and put in the plastic.  Thanks for all of the good ideas you give us!!

babs4008 said:
babs4008's picture

I just made this clutch as a gift for a friend to match a handbag that we made together.  That's to follow up on Sew4Home's suggestion to share my love of sewing with someone for the New Year.  One question:  For some reason, my divider came out 1/2" too narrow and did not catch in the side seams.  I made do by adding another row of stitching at 1/2", but I was wondering if the divider fabric should have been 7" WIDE instead of 7" in length so that the 1/2" seams would have made it 6" wide to match the width of the finished product?  Did I miss something there? 

I decided to use the directions for your "binky leash" to make a strap for the mini clutch to which I added a spring snap instead of the key ring.  I might do a plastic snap instead of the elastic band for the next little bag.

I'll be attending my first SewExpo in Washington State with my sister next month.  I hope Sew4Home will be there!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ babs4008 - The measurements are correct as shown. The divider should finish at 5-3/4" wide so it sits just inside the finished 6" width of the main piece - as shown in the photo. Your final stitching along both sides and the bottom should be apx. 1/4" from the edge, which will then be plenty to catch all the layers. Make sure your pattern printed at the correct size from your printer. There's a guide arrow on each print out so you can confirm it has output at the correct size. Sorry, we won't be attending SewExpo, but I'm sure you'll have fun!

nalobro said:
nalobro's picture

Nice tutorial once again, Sew4Home! I made 4 of these this weekend--one for me and three for gifts for others. One thing I found as I went along was that the elastic band was easier to install by not basting it in place beforehand but just pinning it tightly between the two fabric layers when they were sewn together. The fabric and pins sandwiched it in place nicely so it didn't move at all when sewing. Then I backstitched over this band (and the key ring piece) several times to secure and cut the excess off before turning the fabric right side out. I'm very happy with the finished mini purses. Cheers!

nalobro said:
nalobro's picture

This is a great idea! What are the finished dimensions?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ nalobro - the finished size is hiding in the supply list:

Supplies listed below are for ONE mini clutch, which finishes at approximately 6" wide x 3¾" high.

nalobro said:
nalobro's picture

Aha! I thought you had it in there somewhere but just couldn't find it. Thank you!

GloriaLaVonne said:
GloriaLaVonne's picture

I don't know how I missed this.  I was looking for something like this in the (gasp) stores.  Now I find it when I am checking out the projects for your sinter series.  I have printed the pattern (thanks) and will be making this ASAP. This is cute and functional.

Jacky said:
Jacky 's picture

Love this little clutch and the ring to hook onto purse.

noemi said:
noemi's picture

Thank you very much for this tutorial, I just finished my first one and I am sure I will make a lot more.

Chantal from Paris, France said:
Chantal from Paris, France's picture

Hello, I made three of these for each of my three adult daughters as Christmas presents and they were all delighted, finding the mini clutch a clever idea. I used Michael Miller fabric for one (white Eiffel Towers on black background; lining with the same fabric but in pink) for one, Toile de Jouy for another, and white dots on dark beige for the third one. Thank you very much!

Gma D said:
Gma D's picture

Great idea with the key ring!  You have the best ideas!

susy823 said:
susy823's picture

This is very cute! Do you think one could add extra padding for a phone using fusible batting?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

susy823  - you could certain add extra padding, but you would want to adjust the seam allowances. The tolerances are very tight as it is now, with just the interfacing. You would need to increase the cut size in order to give yourself the extra flex for the thicker batting. How much? I'm not sure, since we didn't try it. As we always recomment, try a prototype first to check. 

Pamela said:
Pamela's picture

Should the smallest piece of interfacing for the credit card pocket be 1.75" x 4" instead of the stated 3.5" x 4"?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Pamela - sorry for the confusion. We originally were going to work with full pieces of interfacing and then went to half pieces; I missed that change in the list. I've fixed it above:

ONE 5" high x 4½" wide rectangle of fabric for the credit card pocket and ONE 2" x 3½" rectangle of interfacing for the credit card pocket

ONE 7" high x 6¾" wide rectangle of fabric for the divider and ONE 3" x 5¾" rectangle of interfacing for the divider

Sakiko said:
Sakiko's picture

Thank you for nice idea and pattern from Japan.

I will  try to mke it during  the winter holidays.

Then  I can use it with the New Year!

From  Japan.

MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

Reading that Joe Friday didn't utter the phrase "Just the facts" is disappointing - almost as much as learning there was no Santa.

Regardsless, this is a really cute clutch. I like the design of including dividers inside of the clutch. Thank you.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ MarciFlorida... I'm not even going to talk about the Easter Bunny then 

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