Saturday, June 14, 2014
Agave Clutch Tutorial
When I saw the first pictures of April Rhodes' Arizona collection, I was absolutely enthralled. Her prints are so well developed and executed. The dreamy color scheme and the uniquely modern take on southwestern design motifs are perfection. Our family's annual trips to southern Arizona over the past few years to visit my in-laws have earned the state a special place in my heart. Green Valley is just thirty minutes south of Tuscon, and to me it is always a study in contrasts. Yes, there's mind numbing heat, but there are also lush groves of pecan trees, soft brown bunnies playing among the cacti, and spectacular thunderstorms every July evening. April's collection captures the untamed spirit of Arizona in such a fresh way. I've been wanting to write a new clutch tutorial for a while, and this fabric was exactly what I needed to do it. I'm thrilled to present you today with a tutorial for the Agave Clutch.
Those of you who are familiar with my work know that I love simplicity when it comes to design. This clutch is nothing more than a zipper pouch with a smaller zipper pouch attached to the front. Batting gives it a comfortable stability, and linen is an almost rustic backdrop to the colorful prints. One of my constant complaints with clutch purses is that they are too small. I'm so used to carrying my enormous purse with me everywhere I go, and downsizing to a clutch is usually beyond my abilities. I designed this one to have a clean style yet plenty of room. I can easily fit my wallet, sunglasses, keys, and phone inside this bag without worrying that it's going to burst at the seams. To top it all off, this is a fairly quick project. You can easily make one during an afternoon of sewing.
Okay, let's sew!
(2) 10 x 14" rectangles of linen for the clutch exterior
(2) 10 x 14" rectangles of batting for the clutch exterior*
(2) 10 x 14" rectangles of cotton print for the clutch lining
(2) 6 x 14" rectangles of cotton print for the front zipper pocket exterior
(2) 6 x 14" rectangles of batting for the front zipper pocket exterior*
(2) 6 x 14" rectangles of cotton print for the front zipper pocket lining
(2) 16" or longer coordinating zippers
(2) 6" long thin strips of leather (optional and not pictured above)
Binding clips or pins
*I prefer to use regular quilt batting which I attach with adhesive basting spray, but you can also use fusible batting. Do what works for you!
1. Attach the Batting: Fuse the 10 x 14" pieces of batting to the linen rectangles and the 6 x 14" pieces of batting to the wrong side of the 6 x 14" pieces for the front zipper pocket exterior.
2. Make the Front Zipper Pocket: Stack in this order from bottom to top along a long side: front zipper pocket exterior piece (right side up), zipper (right side down), and front zipper pocket lining piece (right side down). Sew 1/4" from the long edge, and then press the fabric back from the zipper on each side.
Repeat on the other side with the other front zipper pocket exterior piece and lining piece.
3. Attach the Front Zipper Pocket: Fold the two front zipper pocket exterior and lining pieces down so that the lining pieces are touching each other, and the exterior pieces come down on each side of the zipper. Unzip the zipper slightly so that it's out of the way of your sewing. Place the front zipper pocket on top of the lower half of one of the linen clutch exterior pieces, and use binding clips to hold it in place. Set your sewing machine to its longest straight stitch and baste the front zipper pocket to the linen clutch exterior piece about 1/4" from the edge.
4. Insert the Main Zipper: Stack in this order from bottom to top along a long side: front linen clutch exterior piece with front pocket -- be sure that you attach the zipper to the side opposite the pocket! -- (right side up), zipper (right side down), and clutch lining piece (right side down). Sew 1/4" from the long edge, and then press the fabric back from the zipper on each side.
Repeat on the other side with the other linen clutch exterior piece and clutch lining piece.
Be sure to unzip the main zipper at least halfway.
5. Sew the Main Body of the Clutch: Fold the exterior clutch pieces back from the main zipper so that their right sides are touching and clip them together with binding clips, being sure that the zipper teeth are pointed toward the bag exterior. Fold the clutch lining pieces back from the zipper so that their right sides are touching, and clip them in place as well. Following the diagram above, sew 1/2" from the edge all the way around the outside of the lining and exterior pieces, backstitching at least once over the main zipper as you go and leaving a large gap in the bottom of the lining.
6. Finish the Clutch: Trim your seam allowance down to about 1/4" and clip the corners. Reach in the through the gap in the lining and pull the exterior of the clutch out through the hole. Use a chopstick to push out the corners of the clutch and give it a good pressing with your iron.
Tuck the raw edges of the lining gap inside, press, and stitch it closed by sewing about 1/8" from the bottom edge of the lining. Push the lining into the bag and press it one more time. If you like, thread thin strips of leather through the zipper pull and knot them for a both practical and decorative touch. Use and enjoy!
If you make one of these please share it on Instagram with the hashtag #agaveclutch and be sure to tag me @fabricmutt. I hope you'll enjoy using this clutch as much as I do. I can't wait to take it along on our upcoming summer trips!