Let’s Make a Zippered Clutch!
These zipper totes are fun to make, and after the first time they’re pretty easy too! They seem a lot more complicated than they are and with a little experience whip up pretty quick. The zippers are finished into the lining for a clean look, and the same steps for inserting this zipper can be used to put a zipper into any lined bag. Are you ready?
Please read through the instructions completely before you begin. You will need fabric, fusible fleece, and a zipper. The amounts will vary depending on the size of your clutch.
I like to make clutches in different sizes depending on what I need or want at the time. A nice size for a clutch to carry in a bag is 9″ wide by 5″ high. A clutch that size can be made using a fat quarter (18″ x 24″) if you want it to be all one fabric, or you can piece together scraps to make the outside of the clutch. You can add ribbon, decorative stitching, or combine several fabrics. Let your imagination run wild! A couple of fat quarters will allow you to make a 9″ x 5″ clutch and a coordinating tissue holder. You will want about the same amount of fusible fleece as fabric. and a matching zipper at least 12″ long.
Once you’ve decided what you want, cut two fabric pieces 10″ wide by 6″ high fabrics for your clutch front and back, and two pieces 10″ by 5 1/2″ for the lining. Use care when cutting directional fabrics. If you want to add an inside pocket, cut an additional piece of lining fabric 10″ wide by 8″ high. Cut 2 pieces of fusible fleece 10″ x 6″ and 1 piece 10″ x 8″. Fuse the fleece to the wrong side of your front and back pieces.
Fold the pocket in half, wrong sides together and press. Topstitch the pocket edge close to the fold. Draw a line down the center of the pocket with eraseable marker. I drew a heavy line so that it would show in the photo – drawing a light line will make it easier or unnecessary to erase after stitching.
Place the pocket, right side up, on the right side of one of the lining pieces. Baste around the side and bottom edges. Stitch a line down the line you drew on the pocket, reinforce with a second line of stitching. If you need to erase your marking, now’s the time… Now we’re ready to assemble the clutch.
Assembling the Clutch:
Place the clutch front piece RIGHT side up on your workspace. Lay the zipper WRONG side down on the top edge and pin or baste into place. I find it easier to use a zipper longer than my bag and trim it to the correct length after stitching.
Now place the lining front piece WRONG side down on the zipper. Align the top and side edges carefully and pin or baste into place. Using a zipper foot, sew a 1/4″ seam from the edge of the zipper tape. Don’t sew any closer than that to the zipper itself, you want the extra space to allow the zipper to move freely.
Fold the clutch front and lining front pieces away from the zipper and press. Top stitch close to the edge of the fabric, using care to catch both the front and lining in the stitching.
Repeat this process with the clutch back, zipper, and lining back pieces: clutch back RIGHT side up, zipper WRONG side up, and lining WRONG side up. Stitch, press, and topstitch as with clutch front.
Open the zipper half way. Fold the pieces so the clutch front and clutch back pieces and front and back lining pieces meet with right sides together. Pin together, folding the zipper so that the teeth point toward the lining. Using a generous 1/4″ seam, stitch around all sides of the clutch leaving a 3″ to 4″ opening in the lining bottom for turning. Trim the extra zipper ends. Finish your seams with a zig zag stitch.
Turn the purse right side out by pulling the fabric through the zippered opening and the bottom of the bag. Stitch the bag opening closed – this can be done by machine or by hand. I prefer the softer finish of hand stitching.