Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DIY Autumn Clutch

I'm not typically overly concerned about style and fashion, but I do try to match the season whenever I can. Every year, I transfer all my crap to a special bag that I think feels very autumnal. But I've had it for a million years and it's falling apart, so it's time to make a new one!

To make this little bag, you'll need a sewing machine because of the zipper. If you don't have one or don't know how to sew, you can use these embellishment instructions to fancy up a pre-made wristlet, or you can sew one by hand and use a button closure. I'm sure you can come up with something. And if you've never used a zipper before, this is a perfect project for your first time. I promise, it's so easy.

One sheet of felt (makes a bag about 6" x 4.5". I love Felt on The Fly's merino wool. Pure luxury. Kits are available HERE)
Felt scraps in autumnal colors*, plus a strip 1" x 11.5"
1/4 yard lining fabric
9" zipper
Glue gun
Matching thread
Contrasting embroidery thread

1. Cut the whole piece of felt in half. Use sharp scissors to round off the two bottom corners of each piece. Use one of the outside bag pieces as a template to cut two lining pieces.

2. Trim the end of the zipper if necessary. Stitch across the edge. Lay the zipper along the top edge of one of the lining pieces. Lay outside bag piece over zipper, matching top edges. Stitch, using .5" seam allowance.  To get around the zipper pull, I like to unzip it a few inches and sew along that first, then stop and zip it back up and continue sewing.

For the other side, lay the other half of the zipper over the top edge of the second lining piece, and then place down the other outside piece. Stitch, using the same unzip/sew/stop/zip/sew technique to get around the zipper pull.

3. Cut two strips of felt each measuring .5" x 11.5". Holding the two strap strips together, stitch along both edges with a scant 1/8" seam allowance. (Mine are two different colors because my scraps weren't wide enough.)

4. Unzip the zipper. Open out the bag pieces so that the two lining pieces are facing one way and the two outer pieces facing the other, with the zipper in the middle. Fold the wrist strap in half and lay it in between the two outer pieces with the loop inside.

With a 1/2" seam allowance, stitch around the outer edges of all pieces. Begin at the bottom of the lining, but a couple inches from the center. Stop at the other side of the bottom of the lining, again a few inches from the center. This way you have a little opening a few inches wide. Also be careful not to catch the loop of the wrist strap in the side seam as you go.

5. Trim the seams and corners. Turn inside out. Stitch opening at bottom of lining. If you want to be fancy, use an invisible stitch to do this. I prefer to just turn the two raw edges inward and close it up by machine. (Handstitching- ain't nobody got time for that)

6. From the felt scraps, cut layered leaf shapes. With three strands of contrasting embroidery thread, stitch veins along the leaves in varying designs. Arrange the leaves on one of the large bag pieces, leaving enough room for the flowers. Attach with glue gun.

7. Make and attach flowers with glue gun.

     Rose: Cut a circle of felt into a spiral, leaving a circle at one end for the base. (A circle the size of a CD will make a pretty good sized rose, while a circle the size of a water bottle will make delicate little ones.) Beginning with the tapered end, roll the strip until you reach the base circle. Spread glue on the base circle, and press into the spiral. Once dry, trim any overhanging edges from the base.

 Ruffled rose: Follow instructions for rose, but cut scallops into top of strip before rolling.

    Mum: Cut a strip of felt 1.5"x 11.5". Fold in half lengthwise, and glue the long edges together. Cut small diagonal slits into the folded edge, spaced about 1/3" apart. Starting from either end, roll up and glue along the bottom as you go.

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