When you think about learning how to sew you might think of all the new clothes you can make, all the curtains and bedding you can create – but most people don’t think of the purses they can make. However, there’s a simple clutch purse that can be made by machine and most beginners will find it super easy to create. There are lots of different options for how the purse will look when finished so you’ll likely want to make more than one.
To start making the purse simply cut two rectangles of cloth. There is no definite size to cut the cloth; you can make the purse as large or small as you want. Cut the width of the cloth to the width you want the purse to be. Decide on how tall you want the clutch to be then cut the length of the material to three times that figure. Cut both pieces at the same time to ensure they are exactly the same size. The fabric should be cut with right sides together.
To sew the rectangles together start on one short side. Stitch only a couple of inches on this side, so that you’re sewing directly to the corner. These few stitches to the corner will make it easier to make a crisp corner on the finished purse. Now sew down one long side, across the other short side, then up the other long side. Go around the last corner and take a few stitches, then stop and back-tack. So, you should have three sides completely sewn and one side that has only the corners stitched in. Turn the fabric right-side-out. Press the fabric then stitch the opening closed. Back-tack to start, then stitch across the opening, then back-tack once again. Keep the stitches very close to the edge as you stitch the opening shut.
With the above design you’ll have a square or rectangular purse with a flap that is straight across. You can create a different design by cutting one end of the two cloth pieces into a point. Stitch the corner of that side, sew around the perimeter, then stop after forming the second corner. Turn the purse inside out, press with warm iron, then pin the opening shut. As you pin the opening form the point of the purse flap. Stitch this closed then continue making the purse.
If you want the clutch purse to have outside pockets now is the time to add them. Cut the pocket shapes and hem across the tops of them. Position them on the purse and pin in place. Make sure you have the purse folded right so that the pockets don’t end up being upside-down. After you’re sure they’re properly positioned stitch around them using a straight stitch.
One piece of the cloth will become the outside of the purse and the other piece will now be the lining of the purse. Because of this, when you first cut the fabric, you can cut one piece to be the purse design and a different cloth piece as the liner. The finished purse is washable but that poses a problem. After laundering the liner can wad up and fail to keep the outline of the purse itself. To prevent this stitch the purse and liner together. That is, create a pattern, like channels or rows of stitches, so that the two cloth pieces are connected. The pattern doesn’t have to be large and all over the purse; you can just take a stitch or two, here and there, all over the purse.
Set the fabric on a flat surface so that the area you stitched shut is facing you. Fold this area up, about a third of the way, then pin the sides together. This will form the pouch of the purse and the remaining fabric will fold down and form the flap of the pocketbook. After you’ve pinned the sides together stitch down each side. Turn the purse inside-out so that the new stitches are on the inside of the purse. Now you’ll simply fold the top fabric over to make the flap. Sew a piece of velcro on to use as a closure for the purse. Or, visit a fabric store and purchase a metal or other closure.
Whether you make a purse with a straight flap or a pointed one you can then use a decorative item to cover the stitches for the velcro. If you purchase a closure you’ll often end up with a metallic piece that shows on the outside. If you’re using an ordinary snap or velcro it’s a good idea to attach a piece that will cover the stitches. The piece you use can be an old earring, brooch, large button or even a painted wooden shape that you glue on. Use fabric glue to attach any sort of embellishments.
Turn the clutch into a totally different purse by simply stitching on a strap. Cut the strap from wide cloth then fold the edges in. Fold the strap in half then stitch down the center. Pin the strap in place on the purse then sew it on. You’ll love any of these purses which can be made to coordinate with all your clothing. Make smaller versions for little girls, too. The purses are easy and perfect for someone just learning to sew.