Sunday, September 29, 2013

Folded Leather Clutch

This is one of those posts that is really about me recording what I did so I can remember it in the future, but you guys might like it too :-)

I had a couple hours to myself today and wanted to sew, but having finished my Archer the other day, I didn't really feel like starting a new garment.  I've had lots of ideas for leather bags swimming around in my head, so I decided to finally get around to making one. 

I've had a very fruitful Leather Acquisition Period lately.  The most recent pieces I bought were at the Textile Discount Outlet here in Chicago.  Last Sunday I went over there with a group of other Chicago sewing and knitting bloggers; of course, I forgot to take any pictures, but the lovely Michelle wrote up a post with pictures and links just a couple days later.  I didn't get inspired by any fabric that day, but I got mightily inspired by the leather.  I came away with a beautiful piece in pale seafoam green with a pearlized finish.  But I couldn't stop thinking about some of the other colors I saw, so a couple days later I went back and picked up burnt orange, naples yellow and navy.  Lucky for me, the outlet is only a couple miles from my house.  Or unlucky, depending on how you look at it!


These skins are a little heavier than what I've been sewing with lately, but thinner than the leather I used for my very first clutches.  I'd say the thickness is about twice that of the shiny silver I showed you last week.  Since I hadn't sewn with this thickness before, I decided to make a very simple almost-square foldover bag, and give it a tassel at the zipper.  I also decided to start with my least favorite of the colors, just in case!  This navy is really murkier than I'd like, but I guess it's a good navy for fall.


I used a nylon zipper because I love all the colors they come in and I hate metal zippers!  I always end up gouging nicks into my fingernails when reaching into a bag with a metal zipper.  Using a nylon zipper also makes it easier to sew over the zipper end covers, although I forgot to do that!  It was a lucky accident though - I really like how it looks without the stitching, and it's held in place with fusible web.  Time will tell how durable that is, but I can always add some glue if it starts to come up.


I used a variety of techniques from different patterns, tutorials and the Craftsy leather bag class I've mentioned before.  The size of my outer and lining pieces was dictated by the length of the zipper I wanted to use.  This is a 9" zipper, so I cut my leather pieces to 10.5" square, and my lining pieces to 10.5" x 10.25" - the short measurement goes top (zipper edge) to bottom, so there isn't excess bulk at the bottom of the bag when it's turned out.

The linings are interfaced with Shape Flex (Pellon SF101) then stitched to either side of the prepared zipper.  Then I aligned the cut edge of the leather with the zipper teeth and stitched that down.  I would have liked to turn it back but this leather is just too thick for that. 


lining is "Mind's Eye"  from Anna Maria Horner's Field Study line

Finally, I put on my roller foot to stitch the bottom and sides of the leather together.  The roller foot works well with the very thin leathers, but it didn't work here, so I ended switching out to my walking foot and didn't have any more troubles.  I used 1/2" seam allowances throughout and just trimmed the points off the corners.  The finished bag measures 9.5" wide by about 10" tall.  When folded down, it's about 6" x 9.5".  I originally wanted a slightly larger bag but was limited by my supplies; however, I think it turned out to be just the right size!


I used this tutorial for making the tassel - I've used it before and I think it gives quite a nice result. Putting it on a swivel clasp instead of a key ring makes it easily removable.

 
While I love the look of foldover clutches - well, clutches in general - they aren't super practical for me a lot of the time, so future renditions will likely have a strap of some sort.  But I'm pretty happy with this bag for a first go.  Expect to see more of these!


34 comments:

  1. Oh this looks GREAT! Thanks for sharing as I think some of these could well be in my future!

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  2. Thank you, Kirsty! I'll be watching out for yours!

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  3. This is a great little bag for fall! I love the color, and I have been eyeing the leather bag making class on craftsy :) Can't wait to see what you do with the others!

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    1. Thanks, Sally! I loved the Craftsy class - it really made a difference in sewing leather for me!

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  4. The 'Leather Acquistion Period', lol - I need one of those some day! What a great clutch! This looks just like a foldover clutch I bought not too long ago from Banana Republic (probably for way more money than it would take to make and I think your tassel is much nicer than the leather tab on mine). I can't wait to see what you make with the rest!

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    1. It ran concurrently with the Fabric Acquisition Period, LOL! Time to stop buying and start making!

      I looked up those BR clutches and they're so pretty! But yes, quite a bit more $$ than mine!

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  5. Awesome! I've been hoping you would delve into leather bags soon... kinda like paving the way for me to learn from you. I actually quite like that shade of navy, especially with the pop of magenta at the zipper and lining. Plus it looks like it matches your phone cover!

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    1. Not sure what I could teach you here - you're the one that got me started on it!

      I wish my pinks all matched, but I wanted to use just stuff I had in the house. I'm going to actually do a little planning next time ;-)

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  6. I love how this world works, Gail, you have perfect timing. I was looking at leather clutches the other day, but would never pay the price that was asked so I pulled a box of leather pieces from the closet to design one myself. Well, I got side tracked and have not opened the box since pulling it out so thank you for getting me back on track. You really are an amazingly talented woman!

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    1. That's funny! Great minds, eh? I'll look forward to seeing what you make!

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  7. Wow, this looks great! I love all of the clutches you make Gail. You're really inspiring me to check out that Craftsy class!

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    1. Aww, thank you, Debbie! It's no secret I love that class! Not even getting paid to keep on saying it!

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  8. Very cute! I've been wanting to make another small leather bag again, so I'll keep your project in mind when I do!

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  9. Love it, so clever as always! My hubby has been talking about making a leather satchel. I'll have to send him to you for some advice!

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    1. Whoa, satchel sounds a little beyond my skills! Maybe someday, if I work hard, I can get to that point!

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  10. I love the colors on this! (But I am drawn to fuchsia and magenta these days.) And I enjoy reading about your process and how you think through decisions along the way.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! My process could be subtitled: Seat-of-the-Pants Sewing, LOL!

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  11. I love this! The magenta zipper complements the soft navy so well. It's understated, but really fun!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! Something understated, for once! Not my usual, eh?!

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  12. I love everything about this new, leather clutch. Fantastic job, Gail.

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    1. Thanks, Stef! I ended up carrying it when I did my errands yesterday, and I actually really like it! It's so soft!

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  13. Gail, you are so talented. It's beautiful of course!

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  14. I love the navy and pink colour combination,. Gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks, Sam! Navy and pink is one of my favorite color combos, but for some reason it says "spring" to me! I think that's why I wish it were a more vibrant navy. This is definitely an autumn navy!

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  15. Ooh, I love the fabric that you used on the inside! So vibrant and colorful. xoxo

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    1. Thank you! Anna Maria Horner is one of my favorite fabric designers!

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  16. Ah man I'm sorry I've gotten so behind again... I always love seeing your makes and am especially excited that you're playing with leather -- I have really been itching to give it a try lately. I love making bags but sometimes you want them to have that professional look that you really can't get with quilting cottons, ya know? :) Adore the tassel and pretty contrast zipper!

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    1. No worries, Susan! I know you have a life outside my blog ;-) Thank you!

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  17. What a dreamy clutch. I *just* bought some leather remnants to make baby moccasins but I think a few might need to be put aside to make something for mama.

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    1. Thank you! Baby moccasins - COOL!

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