Londa's 2 Cents Worth: Get a Grip Clutch Purse

Get A Grip Clutch Purse - Londa's 2 Cents Worth
 I was introduced to this pattern by vickitricksdesign on a Webinar from my main supplier.  Since they seemed to so highly recommend it, and I thought it was cute – I decided to give it a try.  Though I am happy with my first clutch purse – I have to say, I feel that is really only because of the changes I made.  However, since the concept is simple, and utilizes just 3 fat quarters of the equivalent, I decided to write my ‘additions and changes’ expanding and correcting (in my humble opinion) the problems with the pattern, and to then promote it to my customers.  I especially think its simplicity lends this design to being perfect for creating for keeping on hand as a gift.   Its simplicity makes it a nice design for very elegant, beaded fabric and use as an evening clutch purse.  With the addition I made, the small size makes a nice travel jewelry pouch. Find this pattern HERE.

 Materials needed:

I made use of scraps I had leftover from a jacket, and also re-cycled the hand-dyed silk fabric evening gown I’d made (and never wore after I’d worn it once).   Garments made from fabric I love turn back into ‘fabric’ when I don’t wear the garment (for any reason) any longer. 

I did not have Fusible Fleece on hand – so I ‘replaced’ that by spraying the purse batting fleece I DID have on hand with temporary spray adhesive.  This worked just fine.  I have determined though, that the thickness of the purse batting fleece I utilized is the same thickness as the Fusible Fleece designated. 

The Magnetic Purse closure I used was a clamp on style from Clover rather than a sew on version.  Either can be used.

I would have found it helpful to have finished measurements for both of the sizes.  Having made them both, here is what I found:

Small:  7.5" x 3.25"   Large: 13.5" x 5.25" 


1.  The sandwiching layer directions are quite clear.    Then it says “Secure all layers in your favorite way for easier handling” which doesn’t make sense to me, since the fusible fleece would have secured them already.    It then instructs you to ‘secure the layers together using free motion quilting or a ‘walking foot’ .  That’s kind of vague – I’d have given some options, as a beginning sewer wouldn’t have any ideas.  You could ‘quilt’ in any stitching manner that complements the fabric you’ve used.  Free motions stitching (lower the feed dogs, put on the free motion foot, and then ‘paint’ with the needle) would work well with a floral.  Solids could be stitched in straight lines – in equal spacing or unequal as well.  I recommend keeping the space in proportion with the size of the clutch – smaller, closer for the small purse, and more spaced  for the big clutch. 


On my project, I elected to couch a yarn in a serpentine manner from top to bottom of the piece.  I utilized clear monofilament in the needle, and set my machine on a zig zag of 3 long and 1.5 wide.  Lowering the upper tension ensured that the bobbin thread didn’t peek up to the top. 


Clamp Magnetic Closure:  if utilizing a clamp on magnet like I did (from Clover), the ‘male’ portion on the top flap needs to be attached through all but the top layer BEFORE doing this stitching – AND you need to plan for it – in that you certainly can’t stitch through that area – or even very close to it.  For this reason, the sew- on magnetic snaps would obviously be easier.

2.  This step says to go ahead and “cut the pattern out from fused and quilted fabric”.  Additional directions from the Webinar I attended showed the pattern pieces actually stitched around the perimeter of the shape.  I do think that is a good idea.  To do so, and not increase the size, I would first chalk mark around the pattern piece, then stitch 1/8” or so inside that mark, THEN cut out on the chalked line.  If the layers seem to shift, I would not hesitate to secure with some pins, and I definitely engaged the dual feed on my Pfaff.  An Even Feed Foot or Walking Foot would also come in useful .

 At this point, I decided the size was looking appropriate for use as a jewelry tote so I decided to add a strip along the inside back side of the clutch.   To accomplish this, I cut a piece of fabric the width of the purse by 6”.  Then I folded it in half, right sides together and took a 1” seam allowance.  I then pressed the seam open, so it would set properly on the edge of the piece, turned it, and then pressed.  I straight stitched along some of the serpentine stitching I had previously done to provide ‘sections’  for storage of small jewelry.r. 

3. This step directs to bind the outside edge ‘beginning and ending where indicated on pattern’.  However, there is no such indication on the pattern. 

 PROBLEM:  I decided that the straight stitching as directed in Step 4 that creates the bottom of the clutch would be better stitched BEFORE binding.   Once I did that, I folded the clutch as it would eventually ‘be’ and realized that the bottom front of it actually extended up too far for the top to fold down over it and still maintain the ‘bottom’ as the ‘bottom’.   It was apparent that a full ½” had to be cut off the straight inside front edge.  I did that, and re-stitched along the edge.  This happened because of the bulk of the layers – and the ‘turn of the cloth’ principle’.   My fabric was a very lightweight silk…  So, I definitely recommend stitching those topstitching lines along the bottom that connect the side cut-outs, creating the bottom of the clutch, fold it like it will end up, and check this for yourself.  This also obviously changes the location of the other part of the magnetic closure from where it is located on the pattern. 

Recommendation:  I actually did the binding with a double fold French binding, mitering the squared corners.  Before finishing the binding, I decided the mitered corners were very heavy – so I un-stitched that edge and up the sides a bit and simply rounded off those right angle corners.  I feel that dong so makes the binding FAR, FAR easier, and especially more suitable for those less experienced sewers. 

Binding Techniques

1.  The webinar suggested the bias tape foot for the machine.  Personally, I never had much luck with such feet – and I don’t see how it would work on a mitered corner anyway.  Use this technique only if you have mastered it.

2.  Single Bias can be used – having created it using the Clover Bias Tape Maker.   The larger clutch can utilize a wider finished binding, but be sure that the binding end width for the smaller clutch is no more than 3/8” wide for good proportion.   For attaching a single bias (both long edges folded in ¼” to the wrong side), I would stitch the right side of the binding to the WRONG side of the clutch, stitching along the fold, then press it firmly out, then around to the outside.  Whether stitching bias to the INSIDE or the OUTSIDE, I always trim the seam allowance down some to make sure it is a clean, equidistant edge from the stitching.  To secure, you have several choices:  1) Straight stitch along the remaining folded edge either with monofilament thread or regular thread.    2) Invisibly stitch with monofilament using a narrow zig zag, blind stitch or buttonhole stitch.  3) Hand slip stitch. 

I actually did this stitching by hand.  If electing to finish by hand, you can certainly also opt to stitch the right side of the bias to the right side of the clutch edge. 

Steps 4 & 5 I would be sure to stitch along the notch cutting lines before stitching.  Due to the bulk, this step was quite hard – and I can see it being virtually impossible on many simple, inexpensive machines.  My pieces overlapped at this step, and I feel it looks best for the long backside of the purse to get laid in first, then the front lower portion to layer over top of that.  Hand stitching may well be necessary for this step – using a BIG, strong needle. The seam allowance of this step shows inside the purse at the end – pretty ugly.  I plan to take a rectangle of fabric, turn the edges under and slipstitch it ontop of that seam allowance to ‘hide’ it.    

6. Stitching of the sides really seems to be possible (at least on the small size Clutch) only by HAND. 

7.  Now you can locate the lower front clutch portion of the magnetic snap by actually marking the necessary placement from where the top inside of the magnetic clutch touches the front bottom half. 

8. This step calls yet again for a line indicated on the pattern – which just does not exist.  I didn’t find stitching to create the top flap necessary anyway.  If you desire to do so – just ‘locate’ where a straight stitch through all the layers would be helpful, and do so.

9.  The button or embellishment as shown on the photo cover is truly that – a non-operable embellishment. 

10.  For an evening bag, I could see a chain handle attached appropriately at the top as indicated on the pattern…

Copyright 2009 by Londa J. Rohlfing   Londa’s Creative Threads


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