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Velvet Border Portfolio Clutch: Renaissance Ribbons

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Sometimes, you gotta go bold, or go home! We love the amazing new French Velvet Border trim from Renaissance Ribbons. From 2½” to 6½”, it brings a wide swath of colorful design to your project. We created a classic portfolio clutch that makes the Velvet Border the star of the show as a wraparound feature against a rich solid denim. This is a low-nap velvet. While it’s luxuriously soft to the touch, the shorter pile allows the intricate designs and colors to really stand out.

These beautiful Velvet Borders are from French artist and textile designer, Odile Bailloeul. Her work has not been available before in the United States, so it was very exciting to have Renaissance Ribbons be the exclusive home of her US debut. Her unique look is inspired by folk art from around the world to which Odile adds her own sparkling colors and fantastical floral and fauna. In addition to the Velvet Borders, you can also find her jacquard ribbon collection as well as some innovative kits for totes and sculpted animals. So cute!

We selected the widest of the available borders: the 6.5” Red, Purple & Pink Dahlias on Green & Orange Velvet Border. Some of our other favorites included the 5” Purple Enchanted Flowers with its deep, rich tones; the 5” Red Peonies on Black, which has an almost electric brightness; and the 5” Fleury & Stripes that carries a definite folk art feel. We invite you to take a look at the full selection of Velvet Borders to find your favorite. 

To keep the Velvet Border as the centerpiece of the project, you want to select a solid color for the exterior that can hold its own in terms of tone, yet won’t compete with the border. We chose a fuchsia denim. You do want the heavier weight of a denim, canvas or similar. For the lining, either a solid or a subtle print works well in a standard weight quilting cotton. Again, don’t pick a print that will fight with the Velvet Border. The wraparound design means you see the trim on both the outside and the inside of the portfolio. 

A sleek twist lock is our recommendation for the closure. It’s a classy look and we have a full tutorial showing you how easy they are to install. That said, you could also try a button or even Velcro®.

The back of the Velvet Borders is a woven polyester type of substrate. This gives the trim more stability than a traditional jacquard ribbon, but it is still very flexible. We found it extremely easy to work with. But remember, you are working with multiple layers throughout this project. Make sure you start with a new needle (we recommend a jeans or denim needle), and if possible, consider using a Walking or Even Feed foot or engage your machine’s built-in feeding system. 

If you’re a regular Sew4Home visitor, you know how much we enjoy using Renaissance Ribbons. Their woven jacquard ribbons are the simply the brightest, most beautiful ribbon we’ve ever found, with exquisite patterns matching many of your favorite designer fabric collections.

Because of the vibrant color palette of the majority of the Renaissance Ribbons products, and especially these amazing Velvet Borders, we prefer to stitch with a monofilament thread in the top and bobbin for a nearly invisible finish. This is not mandatory, but is a nicer look. For best results, you may need to loosen your upper tension slightly. It's also a good idea to lengthen your stitch and sew at a slow and even pace. This type of thread does not stretch as well as regular thread and can break more easily under pressure, especially if it accidentally slides off the spool and wraps around the spool pin. Using a spool cap against the spool helps hold it in place on the pin, and again, going slowly and evenly helps the thread to feed correctly off the spool. Finally, always sew in the same direction along both sides of the ribbon/border. This will help prevent any shifting and puckering. If you'd prefer not to use invisible thread, choose colors that very closely match your ribbon/border, and take the time to re-thread as often as needed to maintain a perfect match. 

You can find Renaissance Ribbons at fine in-store and online retailers everywhere, or shop directly from the Renaissance Ribbons online store. The Velvet Borders are currently only available from Renaissance Ribbons, but all options are in-stock and ready to ship out to you.

Our Portfolio Clutch finishes at approximately 14½” wide x 11” high when closed and latched and 14½” x 19” with the flap fully open. The pocket is 10” deep.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Getting Started

  1. Fussy cut the Velvet Border into ONE 30” length. We selected one of the biggest dahlias for our center point, putting the 15” mark on our measuring tape at the center of this flower. 
  2. We then measured 15” to either end from this center point, and carefully sliced the extra off the ends. 
  3. Save both of the end pieces, you will use the largest one to become the lining pocket.
  4. Cut TWO 30” lengths from the ⅜” ribbon (Tiny Gold Tortoise Dots in our sample).
  5. From the exterior fabric (Cactus Flower denim in our sample), cut ONE 15½” high x 30” wide rectangle.
  6. From the lining fabric (Uppercase in our sample), cut ONE 15½” high x 30” wide rectangle.
  7. From the fusible interfacing, cut ONE 14½” x 29” rectangle.
  8. From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
    ONE 14½” x 10” rectangle
    ONE 14½” x 11” rectangle
    ONE 14½” x 8” rectangle

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Fuse the fleece to the exterior

  1. Place the exterior panel wrong side up and flat on your work surface. 
  2. Position the three fusible fleece blocks as shown in the illustration below. There should be ½” of fabric showing beyond the fleece along all the outer edges, and there is just a “crack” – about ⅛” between each of the panels. These "cracks" will allow the portfolio to fold up into its finished shape more easily. 
  3. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the three blocks in place.

Apply the Velvet Border and Ribbon

  1. Flip over the exterior panel so it is now right side up and flat on your work surface. Make sure it is still oriented in the same way as above with the 10” fleece panel at the top and the 8” fleece panel at the bottom.
  2. Trim off the white “selvedge” along each side of the Velvet Border. We used scissors to carefully follow the edge of the motif. You could also use a rotary cutter, but be very precise.
  3. Center the Velvet Border down the middle of the exterior panel. With our chosen Border, after trimming, the raw edge of the border sat 4½” in from each raw side edge of the fabric panel. Pin the Velvet Border in place along both sides.
  4. Baste the Velvet Border in place along both sides. 
  5. Find the two lengths of ⅜” Ribbon. Place one length along each side of the Velvet Border, covering its raw edges. Because the selvedge you trimmed off might be slightly different side to side, use the motif on the Velvet Border as your guide for the Ribbon placement. On our sample, the inner edge of the Ribbon sat 1” from the edge of the dividing line of orange to green; this provided a perfectly even reveal through the center.
  6. Re-thread the machine with thread to best match the Ribbon in the top and bobbin – or go with our choice: clear monofilament in the top and bobbin. Edgestitch the Ribbon in place along both sides.

Insert the turning half of the lock

  1. Place the exterior panel right side up and flat on your work surface. Again, make sure it is still oriented in the same manner as before with the 10” fleece panel at the top and the 8” fleece panel at the bottom.
  2. Measure to place the turning half of the lock. The lock should be centered side to side within the Velvet Border and the bottom edge of the plate should be 5” down from the top raw edge of the panel.
  3. The illustration below will help give you a perspective of where this half of the lock is positioned on the full exterior panel. 
     
  4. Using the lock’s washer as your guide, cut two slits for the turning half of the lock. 
  5. Insert from front to back. 
  6. Secure the prongs through the washer at the back. If you are brand new to inserting a multi-part lock like this, check out our full tutorial: How to Insert a Turn or Twist Lock Closure.

Create and place the lining pocket

  1. Find the largest of the two ends you cut from the Velvet Border. Trim off the white selvedge from both sides as you did above. 
  2. Use this Velvet Border piece as a pattern to cut a matching piece from the lining fabric.
  3. Place the Velvet Border and the lining right sides together. 
  4. Pin around all four sides, leaving an approximate 2” opening along the bottom edge. 
  5. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the opening. Clip the corners.
  6. Press open the seam allowance
  7. Turn right side out through the bottom opening, gently push out the corners so they are nice and square. A long blunt tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner works well for this. 
  8. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Press from the lining side or, use a pressing cloth to press from the Velvet Border side.
  9. Find the lining panel and the interfacing panel. Place the interfacing on the wrong side of the lining panel, centering it so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing along all sides. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.
  10. Place the fused lining panel right side up and flat on your work surface. 
  11. Place the pocket right side up on the lining panel. The top of the pocket (the open end of the pocket) should sit 10½” up from the bottom raw edge of the panel. 
  12. The illustration below may help you better visualize the pocket’s position. Although the plate half of the lock is not yet in position at this point, you can see how the top of the pocket is facing down.
     
  13. Pin the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom (the seamed edge).
  14. Edgestitch the pocket in place along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners. 

    NOTE: If you do not end up with a large enough end piece to use as the front of the pocket, you can simply cut two pieces from the lining fabric at 4¾" high x 6½" wide. Interface one piece to add stability. Then, follow the rest of the steps as above.

Assemble front to back

  1. Place the exterior panel and lining panel right sides together. The raw edges of the two panels should be flush on all four sides. Pin together the layers.
  2. Leave an opening for turning along one side, nearer the bottom of the panel. We used the bottom of the pocket as our placement guide.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the opening. Clip the corners.
  4. Turn right side out through the opening. As above with the construction of the pocket, gently push out the corners so they are nice and square. 
  5. Press flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
  6. Pin the opening closed. It will be sealed with the final edgestitching. 

Insert the plate half of the lock

  1. Measure to place the plate half of the lock. The lock should be centered side to side within the Velvet Border and the bottom curved edge of the plate should be 1” up from the bottom raw edge of the panel. As your chosen fabrics may vary, causing a slightly different measurement, we recommend folding up the panel to double-check this position, aligning it with the turning half of the lock. 
  2. Use the plate to trace the center cut-out. Then, use a small, sharp pair of scissors to cut out the traced area.
  3. Insert the plate from front to back, place the back of the plate in position, and secure with the tiny screws. 
    NOTE: As mentioned above, if you are brand new to inserting a multi-part lock like this, check out our full tutorial: How to Insert a Turn or Twist Lock Closure.

Fold and stitch to finish

  1. Press the finished panel from both the front and back. Remember to use a pressing cloth to protect the Velvet Border. 
  2. Place the panel lining side up and flat on your work surface. 
  3. Fold up the bottom along the original fold lines, which means it will create a 10” pocket. The illustration below shows the proper fold from all angles.
  4. Pin in place along both 10” sides.
  5. Edgestitch in place along both 10” sides. You are stitching through all the layers at this point. We recommend a Walking foot or similar. You’ll also want to slightly lengthen your stitch. We used a Triple Stretch Stitch for this final edgestitching for the best security. In addition, if possible, use a lock stitch to secure the beginning and end of each seam; it will give you the neatest finish. If you do not have this feature, use a small, careful backstitch. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas    
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

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Comments (6)

Chris Comfort said:
Chris Comfort's picture

Do you think a faux leather could be used instead of the denim? Would you still use a fusible fleece?

Thanks,

Chris 

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

@Chris - there are lots of different types and weights of faux leather, so I can't give you a 100% guarantee, but if you were to choose a lighter-weight faux leather or suede, like a garment substrate, it would probably be fine. You can't get too thick or rigid or the final edgestitching would be very difficult and it probably wouldn't fold nicely. Since you would be working with the thinner faux leather, nothing like a vinyl, you would still need to use the fusible fleece. It's a bit of a balancing act: thin enough to create a smooth fold over and keep the bulk at the edges to the minimum, but with enough body to hold its shape and create a stable pocket in which to put all your stuff.

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

Love the bold colours and design. Doing a handmade christmas this year and think this would make someone a lovely gift.

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

Great! If you follow us on social media, we'd love to have you post a picture of your finished clutch.

LynneinNC said:
LynneinNC's picture

Simply gorgeous! I'll need to go pretty slow on this one, love ALL the tips you provide. Thanks!

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

@ LynneinNC - Thank you so much. You can do it! Let us know how yours turns out!

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