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Wristlet

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Sometimes you want to travel light – with just the essentials at hand. For this, you need: the wristlet. A tiny, tidy tote that hangs from your wrist. It's just 5" x 7", but holds all the necessities with room to spare. Zip up your spending cash, a couple o' credit cards, maybe a bit of makeup and a comb. Ours has a detachable strap, so you can unclip it, and drop it into a bigger bag, like a handy wallet. So versatile, so itty-bitty cute, and with our excellent step-by-step instructions and photos ... so easy!

This is a perfect project to use up bits and pieces. Our wristlet was made from scraps of Heather Bailey's Freshcut we had leftover from the summer's Patio Party projects. We added a plain cream linen from our fabric stash, which coordinated nicely with everything. Our only purchases were a little interfacing, the zipper, and the hardware for the strap, which meant we still had a little folding money to put inside the wristlet.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Fabric scraps to work with the cutting dimensions shown below
  • ½ yard medium-weight fusible interfacing
  • ¼ yard light-weight fusible interfacing
  • 7" zipper
  • ¾" D ring
  • ¾" swivel clip
  • All purpose thread
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

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Based on the diagram above, cut all the pieces listed below. These kinds of precise cuts of small pieces are best done with a rotary cutter, mat and see-through ruler. You'll get straighter edges and truer 90˚ corners.

For the bag:

A -- strap: 14" x 3"

B -- strap tab: 3" x 3"

C -- top front accent square: 2½" x 2½"

D -- top front rectangle: 6½" x 2½"

E -- bottom front: 8" x 4"

F -- back: 8" x 6"

For the lining:

G -- back lining: 8" x 6"

H -- front top lining: 8" x 2½"

I -- front bottom lining: 8" x 4:

From the medium-weight fusible interfacing:

C -- top front accent square: 2½" x 2½"

D -- top front rectangle: 6½" x 2½"

E -- bottom front: 8" x 4"

F -- back: 8" x 6"

G -- back lining: 8" x 6"

H -- front top lining: 8" x 2½"

I -- front bottom lining: 8" x 4:

From the light-weight fusible interfacing:

A -- strap: 14" x 3"

B -- strap tab: 3" x 3"

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Fusing all pieces

  1. Match up each fabric piece with its corresponding interfacing piece. Following manufacturer's directions, use your iron to fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of each fabric piece.
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  2. It's easy to tell which side is which on fusible interfacing by feeling it. Rub your fingers over both sides; the side with the fusing will feel slightly bumpy. Place the bumpy side against your fabric and press to fuse. Don't set the temperature on your iron too high. I like to fuse from the interfacing side first, then flip the piece over and iron from the fabric side. This way I can make sure there aren't any weird little folds or wrinkles on either side. However, lightweight interfacing tends to be very sensitive to heat and can ripple easily. In this case, I reverse my normal method, and fuse from the fabric side first - only lightly pressing (if at all) from the interfacing side. Again, read and follow the manufacturer's directions that come with your interfacing for best results.
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Bottom front panel

  1. Take piece E (bag bottom front) and place it right side up on your work surface. Lay your zipper upside down (teeth facing down on the right side of the fabric). The edge of the zipper tape should be even with the fabric's raw edge.
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  2. Lay piece I (lining bottom front), right side down, on top of piece E, sandwiching the zipper in between the two pieces of fabric. As above, line up the top raw edge with the edge of the zipper tape. Pin all three layers together, 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 through the whole thing.
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  3. Fold back the lining (piece I) to reveal the zipper, and zip it open about half way.
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  4. Fold the lining back down into position and take the assembled layers to your machine. Attach your zipper foot. Your needle should be in the left-most position.
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  5. Stitch a ¼" seam. 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 open up the layers so you can access the zipper. Be gentle! Carefully close the zipper. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end.
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  6. When finished and open, your lining piece should be on one side of the zipper and your front piece on the other.
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  7. Fold lining and front piece wrong sides together, so the zipper stands straight up, and press.
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Top front panel

  1. Switch your machine from the zipper foot back to the regular all-purpose foot.
  2. Find piece C and piece D (the two pieces that make up the front top panel). Pin them, right sides together, along one 2½" edge.
  3. Stitch, using a ½" seam allowance, to create one finished top panel piece 8" x 2½".
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  4. You're now going to make another ‘fabric sandwich' out of the top panel pieces.
  5. Place piece H on your work surface (the front top lining piece), right side facing up. Place the finished front bottom panel (from step 7 in the section above) on top of piece H, right side facing also facing up. Finally place, the stitched-together top panel (from step 3) as the final layer, wrong side facing up. Make sure the accent square is to your left. Line up the top raw edges with the edge of the zipper tape. Pin all three layers together, being careful to pin through just the top of the zipper. As before, you need to be able to open and close the zipper and can't do that if you've pinned through the whole thing.
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  6. Fold up the top panel to reveal the zipper, and zip it open about half way.
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  7. Fold the top panel back down into position and take the assembled layers to your machine. Re-attach your zipper foot. Your needle should be in the left-most position.
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  8. Stitch a ¼" seam. Go slowly. Just like you did before, 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 open up the layers so you can access the zipper. Be gentle! Carefully close the zipper. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end.
  9. Fold lining and front panel wrong sides together, up and away from the zipper. Press.
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  10. Re-attach your regular sewing foot and top stitch 1/4" from each fabric edge on either side of the zipper.
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Strap and tab

  1. Using your see-through ruler and fabric pencil, find and mark a center line through the middle of piece A and piece B. It's easier to work from the wrong side so you can easily see your line on the white interfacing.
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  2. On both pieces, fold the sides in to meet in the middle. Press in place.
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  3. Fold each piece in half again to end up with a ¾" finished width. Press in place.
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  4. Edgestitch down the double-folded edge of both the strap and the tab to secure.
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  5. Slip strap through swivel clip. Fold in half and pin raw edges together.
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  6. Stitch strap ends together close to the raw edge – about ¼" is good. Go back and forth on the seam line several times to make sure the seam is secure.
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  7. Flip strap right side out. The little seam you just made should now be pointing inwards.
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  8. Slide the swivel clip from the folded side to the seam side – so the clip's ring is sitting right against the seam.
  9. Re-attach the zipper foot, and make a seam across the strap, getting as close to the clip as you can. You are 'locking' the swivel clip into place at the seam end. Again, go back and forth along the seam line several times to make sure the seam is secure.
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Positioning the strap tab

  1. Take your ¾" wide strap tab piece, fold it in half, and slip it through the D-ring, so the straight side of the ring sits against the fold.
  2. Lay your finished bag front right side up on your work surface, and find the center point of the top panel's accent square.
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  3. Lay piece F (bag back piece) right side up, next to the front piece. Find the matching center point on the top RIGHT side of piece F. This is the position for your strap tab.
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  4. Align the raw edges and pin the tab in place. Then, hand baste or machine stitch the tab in place with a short line of stitching close to the raw edge.
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Finishing - the final sandwich

  1. Lay the finished bag front on your work surface, right side facing up. The zipper should be open about half way.
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  2. Lay the back panel (with the strap tab in place) on top of the front, right side down (the right sides of these first two layers are facing each other). The strap tab with its D-ring should be facing into the middle of the sandwich, and in position over the top panel's accent square.
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  3. Finally, lay back lining piece G on top, right side facing up. Match up the raw edges of all three layers so the bag is nice and square. Pin around all four sides.
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  4. Re-attach the regular sewing foot, and stitch a ½" seam around all four sides, pivoting with the needle in the down position at each corner. Stitch with the front panel side facing up so you can see the zipper. GO SLOWLY. You are stitching though a lot of layers. When you stitch across the zipper on each side, make sure your seam line is crossing just below the zipper stop (right side) and just above the zipper teeth (left side). This will help insure your zipper opening is a perfect fit side to side.
  5. Trim the seam allowances close to your stitching line on all four sides, and clip all corners at a diagonal.
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  6. Turn the bag right side out through the zipper opening. Your strap tab should pop out from the left seam. Use a blunt edged tool, like a large knitting needle, to poke out the corners so they are nice and sharp. You can also carefully pull out the corners from the outside with a straight pin. Press well.
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  7. Attach the swivel clip to the D-ring.
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Hints and Tips

You need power

As you've noticed, this project has a lot of layers: fabric, lining, interfacing, zipper ... one on top of the other. You need a machine that can stitch through the thickness without choking. Our Signature Sponsor here at Sew4Home is Janome, and one of the things that sold us on Janome quality was the stitching power of their machines. Even during the last steps of this project, when we were sewing through about ten layers up and over the strap tab ... there wasn't even a hiccup in the smooth, running power. I don't say this to brag ... well, maybe just a little. I say it so you keep quality in mind when you decide which projects to tackle. Just like you can't whip up a perfect meringue with a salad fork, you can't expect to have success with an under-powered machine.

More about zippers

Now that you've had success with this zippered project, you can officially delete zips from your things-I'm-terrified-of list, and move on to the next level. Take a look at our tutorial on Basic Zipper Installation.

Contributors
Concept and construction process is by Jody Scofield of Javajem Knits. Take a look at Jody's blog for other terrific tutorials.

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Comments (16)

ChrisV said:
ChrisV's picture

This is such a good tutorial and a lovely project.  Thank you so much.  Took me 2 and a half hours start to finish!

jackie rose said:
jackie rose's picture

This is a wonderful project and I cant wait to try one

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

@ javadiva - yay for you! I especially like the one in the Michael Miller Groovy fabric. Congrats - now... everything you make will need a zipper 

Alaroy said:
Alaroy's picture
Notes on mine...cut strap one inch wide foe thinner strap...use heavier duty machine
KellyS said:
KellyS's picture
This is such a wonderful tutorial. I have used it several times to make gifts for friends. So easy to follow and the explanations are great. Thank you for taking the time to do this!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Julie Ann -- what a cute combo! Thanks for sharing our project on your blog smilies/cheesy.gif
Julie Ann said:
Julie Ann's picture
just completed this as an add on to my daughters gift, it was great. now she call pull out the little bag when she travels with the big one. it was just what the the project needed. loved it Julie Ann

http://hanswife.blogspot.com/
Rosalie said:
Rosalie's picture
I made this and it turned out really cute. It was pretty easy too, quite proud of my first zipper project! smilies/smiley.gif
alicia.thommas said:
alicia.thommas's picture
Hi Liz! I have one of these little wristlets and use it ALL the time - such a handy size for running errands. I always get compliments. I'm so glad you found a bunch of new projects to try!! smilies/cheesy.gif
Liz @ Living My Sweet Life said:
Liz @ Living My Sweet Life's picture
I will be making one of these tonight! Thanks for the tutorial I just spent quite a while going thru your blog! I have a whole bunch of new projects to try!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi not-a-seamstress ... I hope this post means you are NOW sewing smilies/wink.gif. Thanks for your kind words. I hope you try some other projects. Come back often... and bring your friends!
not-a-seamstress said:
not-a-seamstress's picture
I just had to comment to tell you that this tutorial is probably the best one i have seen yet. Thank you for such clear, easy to understand instructions.
This should be used as a model for anyone who plans on doing a tutorial on anything. WONDERFUL
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
smullis7 -- Great job - love it! You'll knock their socks off at the reunion. These little things are addictive. I've made three of them already smilies/grin.gif. Thanks for visiting.
smullis7 said:
smullis7's picture
This was a great project. I needed a small purse to go with a dress for a reunion and this was perfect. I'm not really a seamstress, but the instructions were super easy to follow. I finished this in just a couple hours (with interruptions).

Here is my finished wristlet: http://smullis7.blogspot.com/2009/11/wristlet.html

Thanks for a great project!

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