Thursday, June 14, 2012

Navigator's Clutch Tutorial

I was so pleased to see the positive response to my Navigator's Clutch earlier this week. It was a fun project for me to make, and I was thrilled to be able to share it with you. It was even more exciting to hear that many of you wanted to make one for yourselves, so today I have the tutorial for you. If you make your own clutch -- or anything else inspired by my tutorials or blog posts -- please post pictures in my new flickr group here. I would absolutely love to see what you're making!

A few notes in the interest of full disclosure...I actually made this clutch about a month ago, taking pictures and jotting notes as I went along. Unfortunately, I got busy with other things and neglected to finish writing down all of my steps, so I did my best to finish writing up the tutorial from memory. If you find that something is missing or unclear, please let me know. Also, I made the clutch over the course of an afternoon, and by the time I was finished, my light was almost gone, so please forgive the last few process pictures which are not quite as nice as I'd like them to be. Okay, let's start sewing!

Gather your materials:
  • About 1 yard of material in three different prints – more or fewer depending on how you want yours to look
  • fusible batting (I used Fusible Thermolam Plus)
  • fusible interfacing (I used Pellon 809 Decor Bond)
  • 15.5" strip of sew-in Velcro
  • fabric glue stick (optional but helpful) 
  • coordinating thread

1.  Cut out your pieces
  • 17 x 20” – (1) print for exterior body and (1) fusible batting
  • 14 x 17” – (2) prints for exterior and interior of front pocket and (2) fusible interfacing
  • 11.5 x 17” – (2) interior side pockets and (2) fusible interfacing
  • 5 x 5” – (2) exterior and interior flap, (1) fusible batting for the exterior flap, and (1) fusible interfacing for the interior flap
  • 12” sew-in Velcro strip for pocket
  • 3.5” sew-in Velcro strip for clutch flap

2. Fuse all pieces of fabric to their appropriate backings (see the information under step one).

3. Make the clutch interior.

Fold the fabric for the inner pockets in half lengthwise, press, top stitch a quarter of an inch from the fold, and then pin them to each short end of the interior fabric. Be sure to line up the raw edges with the folds facing inward.

Use a pencil and straight edge to draw the stitching lines to separate one of the pockets into slots. You can base your lines on the items you plan to put inside the sections. I personally drew a line 7 inches from one end and another line 1.5” to the right of that.

Baste the pockets along the raw edges and stitch along the pencil lines to form the pocket slots.

4. Make the outer pocket.

Place the pocket exterior and interior pieces together, right sides facing, and sew a quarter of an inch from a short end. Fold the pieces back over so that the wrong sides face each other, press, and top stitch a quarter of an inch from the sewn end. Sew half of the 12” strip of Velcro about 1” from the top stitched end on the exterior pocket side, being sure to center it on the fabric. I like to use a fabric glue stick to hold the Velcro down before I sew it.

Measure 6.5” from the sewn end; fold the exterior fabric back onto itself. Do the same with the interior fabric side, lining up all the raw edges so that the sewn end is sandwiched in between and the fusible interfacing is showing on both sides.

Sew along the three raw edges, leaving a 5" gap on the 14” end for turning. Clip the corners and turn the pocket inside out through the opening, pressing out the corners with a chopstick.

Stitch a quarter of an inch from the edge of the interior pocket flap, all along the sides and top to where they meet up with the front of the pocket. (Important note: In this picture, you ought to see a strip of Velcro along the top of the pocket exterior. Unfortunately, when I made my clutch, I completely forgot to sew the first piece of Velcro to the exterior of the pocket earlier in the process. Believe me, it’s much harder if you wait until now to do it!)

Sew the matching 12” strip of Velcro to the top of the pocket flap interior, centering on the end of the flap so that it will match up correctly to the other strip when the pocket is closed. Position the pocket on the exterior clutch fabric, centering it about two inches from the short end. Stitch a quarter of an inch away from the edges of the sides and bottom of the pocket, making a complete rectangle by sewing along the interior fabric where the pocket flap will fold. Check to see that the pocket is completely secure before going on to the next step.

5. Make the clutch flap. 

Sew the two flap pieces together, right sides facing, along three sides -- being sure to leave the fourth side open. Clip the corners, turn the piece inside out, push out the corners with a chopstick, and press. Center half of your 3.5" Velcro strip on the end opposite the opening, leaving about a quarter inch around it on three sides. Secure it with fabric glue, then stitch all the way around the sides of the Velcro.

6. Finish the clutch.

Sew the other piece of Velcro on the right side of the exterior piece, about 2-3” from the short end without the pocket, stitching all around the Velcro once or twice. I like to sandwich all the pieces together with the flap in place just to test out if everything is where it should be and make sure that the flap will actually reach the exterior Velcro before I sew it down.

Sandwich the flap between the exterior and interior (right sides together), centering it on the short side with the pocket. Be sure that the exterior side of the flap is facing the exterior's right side. Let about an inch of the flap (the end with the opening), hang outside. 

Pin along all the raw edges and then stitch a quarter to a half inch along all the raw edges of the pack, leaving an approximately five to six inch opening on one long side for turning. Clip the corners and turn inside out, pushing out the corners with a chopstick.

Give the pack a nice pressing all over, turn the remaining open raw edges inside to match the sewn edges, and stitch an eighth to a quarter inch from the edge around the entire exterior of the pack.

Turn the pack over and sew two seams about a quarter inch on either side of the center fold down the interior of the clutch

You're done! Use and enjoy!


  1. Oh I'm really glad you shared this! Thank you! I pinned & hope to make one before vacation later in the summer. Plus I just joined your flickr group - yay!

  2. Thanks so much for taking the time to write this out! Great tutorial :)

  3. I love those fabrics! I seem to be into orange these days : )

  4. Great job! I think I must share this on my FB wall! (join us: It's such a great size.

  5. What a great idea (says the family navigator)! Really cute fabrics - thanks for the tute!

  6. Great- I'm so glad you wrote up a tutorial! I'm so excited to make this.

  7. Oooh, it's gorgeous Heidi! I love your colours and fabric choices. I'm visiting from the P&J blog hop :)


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