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Ball Frame Clutch
A popular recent wedding trend is to create coordinated clutches for the bridesmaids. These adorable little purses are just the right size to carry a few important items to the wedding and reception. Many brides also use them to hold a special gift for each member of the wedding party. We even found some stories about brides who’ve skipped traditional bridesmaid bouquets, choosing to put real or silk flowers on coordinated clutches, carrying these down the aisle instead.
Our design uses a classic 9″ x 3″ metal frame with a ball clasp. Of course, there is absolutely no rule saying this is only for brides and bridesmaids. It’s a classic look for any occasion.
We link to our source for the ball frame below, but spotted many other options from which to choose in local craft stores as well as online; Etsy sellers have a particularly large selection of purse accessories. We also show you how to slightly adjust our pattern (designed for 8″-10″ wide x 3″ high) to fit your frame.
Take note that this type of frame uses a permanent adhesive to secure the sides of the fabric. Make sure to cover your work area with paper or similar to avoid leaving a permanent mess on the surface.
The careful placement of a fabric’s motifs makes a dramatic statement. Our brightly colored bags would be the perfect pop of color and design against a monochromatic ensemble. If you are new to fussy cutting to isolate a design, check out our tutorial.
The simple shape of this clutch also lends itself to a blend of solid colors. As mentioned above, adding a flower or other simple embellishment would be a lovely finishing touch. Take a look at our Tattered Rose and Organza Flower tutorials for inspiration.
For our sample wedding party, we made three beautiful bags, originally using six blend-able fabrics from Joel Dewberry’s Notting Hill collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics. To give the clutch a bit more body, we chose a sateen weight for the exterior and a quilting weight for the lining. Although this specific fabric collection is no longer readily available, it works as a great example of fussy cutting bold prints.
Although we do recommend a slightly heavier weight for the exterior, however, because we add fusible fleece as a stabilizing layer, you could also go with two quality quilting weight cottons and still achieve a lovely result.
Using a 9″ frame, each generously proportioned purse finishes at approximately 9″ across the top, 11″ across the bottom, and 8″ tall.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking foot; optional, but helpful with the thicker layers and differing substrates. If appropriate, you could also choose to engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex system we love to use on many of our Janome studio machines.
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Ingredients shown below are for ONE clutch and the amounts shown allow extra for fussy cutting.
- ½ yard of 44″+ wide décor or sateen weight cotton for the exterior
- ½ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton for the lining
- ½ yard of lightweight fusible interfacing; we used ShapeFlex by Pellon
- ½ yard of 45″ wide one-sided fusible fleece; we used ThermoLam Plus Fusible by Pellon
- ONE apx. 8-10″ x 3″ rectangular, ready-made purse frame; as mentioned above, here is one option we found online, but it is a readily available size/shape from a variety of sources, and we show you how to adjust our pattern to fit your frame.
- One tube of quick drying permanent adhesive; we used Beacon Quick Grip™
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Clips to hold frame in place while it dries; we used chip clips – large Wonder Clips, clothes pins or tiny clamps would also work
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print TWO copies of the Clutch pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern consists of ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
- Cut out ONE pattern along the solid line.
- As noted above in the supply list, for this pattern, you must use a rectangular frame between 8-10″ in width and 3″ in height.
- Place your actual frame on the paper half-pattern as shown in the drawing below.
- Trace the frame. It helps to use a second color for this tracing, like a red.
- Mark where the bottom of the frame’s hinge meets the pattern.
- If your frame is 8″, reduce the pattern size by cutting approximately ⅜” from the pattern edge as indicated by the vertical 8″ blue dashed line on the drawing above.
- If your frame is 10″, enlarge the pattern size by taping on an approximate ⅜” strip along the pattern edge as indicated by the vertical 10″ blue dashed line on the drawing above.
- Adjust the second printed half-pattern up or down as needed to match the first.
- Flip over one pattern piece so it is wrong side up, then tape the two together, lining up the 1 and 2 arrow marks on the pattern pieces.
- Finally, slip the paper pattern into your frame’s channel to double-check that it fits properly, adjusting as necessary.
- From the fabric for the exterior, use the assembled pattern to fussy cut TWO pieces.
NOTE: Remember, if you are new to fussy cutting, check out our tutorial. Dramatic positioning of a motif(s) from the fabric is one of the things that make these clutches so cute.
- From the fabric for the lining, use the assembled pattern to fussy cut TWO pieces.
NOTE: It is not as critical to fussy cut the lining, but… it is a nice touch.
- From the fusible fleece, using the pattern, cut TWO pieces.
- From the fusible interfacing, using the pattern, cut TWO pieces.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the exterior bag
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of both exterior pieces.
- Again following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the fleece to the wrong side of both exterior pieces on top of the interfacing.
- Place the pattern piece onto the wrong side of both layered exterior pieces (on top of the fleece) and transfer the side marking dots. Make sure you transfer the dots on both sides of both pieces.
- Place the two exterior pieces right sides together, aligning all the raw edges and the bottom corner notches. Pin from the marked dot down to the top of the bottom corner notch on both sides, then pin across the bottom.
- Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch from the dot down to the top of the bottom corner notch on both sides. Lock your seam at the beginning and end.
- Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch across the bottom. Lock your seam at the beginning and end.
- At each side dot, clip through the seam allowance from the outer edge into the marking. Be careful not to clip into the seam itself.
- At each bottom corner, pull the notch apart to create a peak, matching the side seam to the bottom seam.
- Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch across the peak to create a small box corner. Repeat for the opposite corner, creating small box corners on both sides.
NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial: How To Box Corners.
- Push out the corners. Below is a photo looking down into the bag while it is still wrong side out. It shows you the intersecting seams on each corner.
- Turn the bag right side out.
Create the lining
- Place the pattern onto each lining piece and transfer the side dots as you did above.
- The lining is created following the same steps as the exterior. The only difference is you are not working with pieces fused with interfacing and fleece; the lining panels are just fabric.
Sew together the exterior and the lining
- With the exterior bag right side out and the lining wrong side out, slip the exterior bag inside the lining so the two bags are now right sides together. Align the raw edges and the boxed corners.
- On one curved top portion, pin from one clipped corner, over the top curve, ending at the opposite clipped corner. On the other curved top portion, pin from one clipped corner in the same manner, but leave a space at the top of this curve of about 4-6” for turning.
- Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch both top portions, remembering to lock your stitch at either side of the one 4-6″ opening.
NOTE: Don’t stress out too much if your start and stop points are a bit off. The “V” where the two top portions come together will be hidden behind the hinge of the purse frame, concealing any tiny boo-boos from view.
- Trim the exterior side of the seam allowance back to ¼” – this is also know as Grading a Seam.
- Pull the bag right side out through the opening in the one top curve. You are essentially pulling the exterior bag through the lining.
- Once both layers are right side out, push the lining down into place.
- Press in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin in place.
- Machine stitch the opening closed.
NOTE: You could opt to hand stitch the opening closed for a super neat look, but this seam is hidden inside the purse frame, so we suggest the faster and easier machine stitching.
Inserting the bag into the frame
- Find the purse frame and the glue.
- This type of glue is very fast drying so it is best to do one side at a time.
- Insert the tip of the glue into the channel on one side of the frame. Apply a thin bead of glue evenly from one end to the other. Don’t over-glue; if you apply a thick bead it will just squish out onto the frame and fabric.
- Insert one curved top portion of the bag into the channel with the glue. Slip the fabric into place, then use a small flat tool to gently guide the fabric into the perfect position. We used a seam gauge; you could also use an orange stick. If a little glue squishes out, wipe it away immediately with a clean cloth. Work carefully but quickly… that glue is drying fast! You can use clips to hold one side in place as you guide the fabric.
- When done, clamp/clip the finished side in place and open the frame completely so the completed side is out of the way.
- Repeat the steps to insert the opposite top portion into opposite channel.
- Clamp the second side and let the frame dry completely.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild
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Thank you so much for this tutorial. Very appreciated.
Hi Rosalie – Glad to know you are happy to find the project. Hope you give it a go!
OOHHH! I have always wanted
OOHHH! I have always wanted to make these. I have frames and everything and keep procrastinating. Wait, I did try one but I had issues with the glue. I got a little messy and I did not ensure the fabric was pushed into the frame all of the way and now it is dry and I don’t know if I get it out to try again. any additional tips? Maybe this will help me get off the pot and give it another try. luv you guys!
@mssewsavvy – Thank you! Our
@mssewsavvy – Thank you! Our top tip (listed in the instructions as well) is to not overdo it with the bead of glue you run into the frame. Permanent adhesive is strong stuff — a little bit goes a long way and too much just oozes out and makes a mess. Make a thin bead and then push the fabric in all the way, clip to hold in place, and let dry all the way… patience on the “let it dry” part. Let us know how it goes when you try again
Thanks for this tutorial. I
Thanks for this tutorial. I started making wedding bouquets recently and I think this would be something else that I could make for the brides and bridesmaids. Great job as always!!
@Lanetta – You are so welcome
@Lanetta – You are so welcome! These would make a great addition to your offerings. Let us know how it goes!