Last month, Kristin shared a tutorial for a foldover doily clutch that was so super cute and seemed like the perfect gift for the upcoming holiday season. Then I saw Vanessa‘s hand stamped foldover clutch with a block of vegan suede which was damn near perfection. Which made me think of Delia‘s lil leather shoes that she’d make out of thrifted belts and purses. Basically I just steal other people’s ideas and mix them all together into something a little different, because that’s how I came up with my go to Christmas gift for this year, the . . .
I basically took Kristin’s tutorial and added faux-leather to the bottom. For the large triangle clutch, I hand stamped my own fabric. So there are a bunch of ways you can mix it up, or you can go with the original doily clutch just as it is – regardless, the tutorial is FANTASTIC. Really simple, very clear and well written and so cute and practical – I highly recommend it.
So I started by going to the thrift store and looking for some cheap purses in great colors and with enough material to cut into rectangles for the bottom of these clutches. If you are going with faux-leather, you can pick one up for just a couple bucks.
For this clutch, I busted out some Nani Iro Little Letter Flannel in sage green that I bought from Miss Matatabi because it matched soooo perfectly with this light brown leather I found. I actually used the zipper from the original purse as well, which is why it matches so perfectly! And I decided to go a little fun and funky with a tassel zipper pull :P The lining is a Japanese double sided gray and white fabric that I used in Yuki’s nursery. These materials just came together so beautifully and I love the combo so much it really hurt to give this clutch away! But it’s headed to someone who I know will appreciate it, so that makes me happy.
Anyways, I’m going to give you some tips that I learned about sewing with leather and show you how to remix Kristin’s foldover clutch to make a leather accented clutch. It’s easy!
Leather sewing tips:
- Look for leather that is not too thick or hard (it’s obviously harder to sew with and your seams won’t press flat)
- Use a denim or leather needle – you’ll need something heavy duty that will hold up sewing two layers of leather
- Lengthen your stitch (so as to not perforate the leather)
Also, when choosing your fabrics, pick something in similar weight to your leather. If you’re using a thick heavy leather, don’t use a flimsy fabric – it just won’t work. You can use canvas or duckcloth, or add interfacing to your fabric. Likewise, if your leather/faux leather material is very thin, a regular cotton will probably be perfect.
Alright, let’s get started! If you’re using an old purse, carefully cut out the largest panels of material possible. Also feel free to cut and save any other hardware you might want to keep (zippers, buckles, etc).
The rectangles of fabric in the original tutorial are 10×12 inches, so you’ll want to cut your leather 10 inches wide. The height will depend on how large you want your leather block to be (and how much you have). Be sure to add 1/2 an inch for seam allowance to the height. Cut 2.
To figure out the size of your coordinating fabric for the outside of the clutch, you’ll want to take 13 and subtract the height of your leather piece. That number will be the height and your width will be 10 inches. The reason for this is that you want your finished piece to be 12 inches and you’ll need 1/2 an inch on each piece for seam allowance. So for example, if I cut my leather piece at 10 inches by 4.5 inches, my fabric will need to be 10 inches by 8.5 inches (because 4.5 + 8.5 = 13).
Cut your lining fabric according to the tutorial directions. You should have 2 of everything.
Sew your leather to your outer fabric by placing them right sides together, holding them in place with paper clips or binder clips (you don’t want to/won’t be able to pin the leather). Sew them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Press your seam flat (but be careful pressing the leather – use a low heat and test it out on a scrap piece of leather first).
From here you can follow the original tutorial exactly! The only part that is a little different is when you are sewing the front and back together, you’ll have to take some extra steps switching your needle and thread colors. I like to sew the leather first and then the regular fabric. If your leather is pretty thick, you may want to round your bottom corners instead of trying to make them square.
Be sure to clip your corners.
And that’s it. Kristin’s tutorial will walk you through the rest!
The hand stamped version required an extra few steps, but was totally worth it. I carved a simple triangle shape and used fabric paint to make a fun pattern on canvas.
(testing on paper)
Once it’s dried and set, you can cut and assemble as instructed above!
I had so much fun sewing these up these last couple of weeks and even more fun watching friends receive them. It’s been a big hit, so if you’re looking for a last minute gift to sew up for someone stylish and special, definitely go check out Kristin’s foldover clutch tutorial. You won’t regret it!
So are you still working on some last minute gifts or other holiday projects or are you all done? Truth is, I’m so behind that I know I’ll be working past Christmas. Better late than never right?