We love looking for ways to use decorative stitching. It can add just the right pop of embellishment to a project. This striking oversize clutch provides the perfect large, solid surface for concentric rings of stitching applied with the Janome Circular Sewing Attachment in a bold, 9mm stitch width. Vary the fabric palette, the coordinating print, and the thread colors to create your unique look.
Decorative stitching all in a row is always lovely, but stitching in the round adds a whole new level of interest, and Janome Circular Sewing Attachment makes it easy to keep your circles perfect every time.
We indicate below the stitches we chose for our five concentric circles so you can create our exact look. Of course, you could also select your own favorites. We recommend a simple stitch with a closely repeating pattern, which helps blends the start/stop point for each circle.
A full-width zipper allows the clutch to open-wide. The steps below show how to add the end tabs for a professional finish.
The exact fabrics we originally selected are no longer readily available, but it’s easy to create a similar color-blast combination, with a bold print and a coordinating solid. A muted quilting cotton print is best for the lining.
Our clutch finishes at approximately 15″ wide x 11″ high when flat and 15″ wide x 7″ high when folded.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Circular Sewing Attachment
- Satin Stitch foot F
- Zipper foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 45″+ wide solid, medium-weight cotton canvas or similar for the embellished side of the clutch
- ½ yard of 45″+ wide coordinating print medium-weight cotton for the unembellished side of the clutch
- ½ yard of 45″+ wide coordinating quilting weight cotton for the lining
NOTE: If any of your selected fabrics has a strong directional print, we recommend purchasing a bit more for fussy cutting.
- ¾ yard of 20″ wide low loft fusible fleece for the lining; we used Pellon Thermolam one-sided fusible fleece
- ¾ yard of 20″ fusible interfacing; we used Pellon 950F ShirTailor
- ½ yard of fusible tearaway stabilizer; check your machine manual for stabilizer suggestions, we suggest Sulky Tear-away Stabilizers
- 14″+ metal zipper; we used a 20″ metal zipper, purchased locally, which we then cut to size
- ½ yard of thin cord or ribbon for the zipper pull; we used thin black rattail, purchased locally
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- Embroidery thread in two slightly contrasting colors for the circular stitch embellishment; we used Coats and Clark embroidery thread in two shades of gray
NOTE: We used just two colors in similar tones because we wanted a more subtle finished look. The number and tone of colors is up to your discretion.
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Seam sealant, such as Dritz Fray Check
- From the solid fabric for the circle embellishment side, cut the following:
ONE 16½” x 12½” rectangle
TWO 1¼” x 2½” rectangles for the zipper tabs (the width of the rectangles is determined by the actual width of your specific zipper, ours was 1¼”).
NOTE: Depending on the exact weight and type of fabric you select for the embellished panel, you may want to sew the decorative stitches first on an oversize panel, then cut the finished piece to 16½” x 12½”, centering your circles on the finished rectangle. This is often a good idea when doing any type of embellishment. Our selected fabric was quite sturdy so we chose to stitch directly on our finished cut.
- From the print fabric for the unembellished side, cut ONE 16½” wide x 12½” high rectangle.
- From the fabric for the lining, cut TWO 16½” wide x 12½” high rectangles.
- From the fusible fleece, cut the following:
TWO 16½” x 7½” rectangles
TWO 16½” x 4″ rectangles.
- From the fusible interfacing, cut TWO 16½” x 12″ rectangles. Then, from each rectangle, cut ONE 4″ x 16½” strip.
- From the tearaway stabilizer, cut ONE 16½” x 12½” rectangle.
NOTE: If you cannot find fusible tearaway, you can use a temporary spray adhesive to hold standard stabilizer in place.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the circular stitching
- Find the solid exterior panel for embellishment and the tearaway stabilizer.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the tearaway stabilizer to the wrong side of the fabric.
NOTE: When sewing decorative stitches, a stabilizer is often needed to provide stability to the area that you are stitching. Otherwise, the density or complexity of the stitch can slightly distort the fabric.
- Fold the rectangle in half, and then in half again in the opposite direction to find the exact center of the panel. Finger press the center or mark with a fabric marking pen or pencil.
- We used two coordinating threads for our circle embellishment. Be sure to start with two fully wound bobbins (one for each color) as decorative stitches can use up quite a bit of thread.
- Attach the Circular Sewing Attachment and Satin Stitch foot F to the machine. There is a special hole in the bed of the machine into which the Circular Sewing Attachment is placed.
NOTE: The Circular Sewing Attachment is a great optional accessory for Janome machines. If you own a Janome too, we recommend visiting your local authorized Janome retailer to inquire about one for your machine. Be sure to know your model as there is more than one variation for this accessory. If you do not own a Janome, you could try to draw concentric circles with a large compass to use as your guide.
- We sewed our circles starting in the center and working our way out. This pattern helps to prevent any potential fabric distortion.
NOTE: If the markings on the Circular Sewing Attachment look a little confusing. Use a tape measure to help determine the measurements.
- We used the default stitch settings for each stitch selected. Prior to doing your final embellishment, we recommend playing with your stitch selections/settings to get the look you like. It’s also a good idea to test the spacing of your circles. You can use scrap fabric, but it’s best to buy a little extra of your actual fabric to conduct the most realistic test.
- Set the circle attachment to the 7cm mark for the innermost circle.
- Select your first decorative stitch (we used stitch #48-Mode 1 on the Skyline S5).
NOTE: Many Janome models have a a foot pressure dial, usually ranging from 1-7. We adjusted the foot pressure to 7. This enabled more pressure to be applied to the fabric under the foot to keep the fabric steady as we stitched each decorative stitch.
- Place the prepared fabric rectangle on the pin on the circular sewing attachment at the fabric’s center mark. Be sure to place the cap on the pin as it is very sharp!
- Begin to stitch the first circle, watching carefully how the selected decorative stitch is formed. Understanding the stitch formation pattern will aid you in knowing where to stop stitching as your end point comes around to meet the beginning.
NOTE: Do not try to control the feed of the fabric. You need to let the machine just do the work for you as it creates the stitches. It can help to remove the foot controller and use the Start/Stop command key to sew the circles – if this is a feature on our machine. We won’t lie, sewing five circles of decorative stitches takes a little bit of time; choosing the start/stop feature eliminates the fatigue of pressing the foot control. You can also use the speed control slider to adjust the speed at which each stitch is sewn. Some decorative stitches look better when sewn at a slower speed. As we suggested above, try a sample to test this before starting your actual project.
- Once the first circle is complete, loosen the attachment screw on the circular sewing attachment and gently rotate the attachment to the back of the machine so you can change the bobbin to the second thread color. Do not remove the fabric from the attachment.
NOTE: On many of the Janome machines, this is a great time to us the knee lift capability and extra-high presser foot lift. Use the knee lift to raise the presser foot to its highest position so you can easily rotate the circular sewing attachment while changing the bobbin.
- Don’t forget to also change the needle thread to the new color.
- Move the circular sewing attachment to the 8cm mark without removing fabric. Be sure to re-lock the attachment into place.
- Rotate the fabric slightly from where your last stitch ended (indicated by our pointing seam ripper in the below picture). It’s likely you will experience slight imperfections where your circle start-point meets the end-point. If you continue to slightly rotate where each circle starts, the eye will not see any imperfections as easily as it would if they were in line with one another.
- Select your second decorative stitch (we used stitch #68-Mode 2 on the Skyline S5).
- Stitch the second circle.
- Change the bobbin (following the steps provided above) and the needle thread back to the first thread color.
- Move circular attachment to 9cm mark. Be sure to lock in place.
NOTE: Again, depending on the exact decorative stitches you select, positioning the circles using only the markings on the Circular Sewing Attachment may not meet with your design expectations. Instead, you can use your “creative eye” by lining up the edge of the foot with the previous circle.
- Select your third decorative stitch (we used stitch #66-Mode 1 on the Skyline S5).
- Stitch the third circle.
- Move the Circular Sewing Attachment to the 10cm mark. Be sure to lock in place.
- Select your fourth decorative stitch (we again used stitch #68-Mode 2 on the Skyline S5).
- Change the bobbin (following the steps provided above) and the needle thread back to the second thread color.
- Stitch the fourth circle
- Move the Circular Sewing Attachment to the 11cm mark. Be sure to lock in place.
- Select your fifth decorative stitch (we used stitch #73-Mode 1 on the Skyline S5).
- Stitch the fifth and final circle.
- Remove the fabric from the Circular Sewing Attachment and remove the attachment itself from the machine.
- Remove tearaway stabilizer and press embellished exterior panel.
Fuse the exterior panels and lining
- Collect the print exterior panel, the embellished exterior panel, and all four fusible fleece pieces, along with the lining panels and four interfacing pieces.
- Position a 4″ fleece strip ½” in from the top of each exterior panel. Then, place the larger fusible piece next to the strip, but leave a narrow gap between the two pieces. This is where the clutch folds over; the gap allows the the heavier fabrics to more easily fold.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the fleece to both exterior panels.
- In the same manner, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the lining pieces, placing the interfacing ½” in from the top of each lining panel and creating the same small gap.
Attach the zipper
- Find the 14″ zipper and the two 1¼” x 2½” tabs.
NOTE: If you use a zipper longer than 14″, cut it down to fit the 14″ opening (don’t use your good sewing scissors to trim through the metal teeth!).
- Place one strip on each end of the zipper. The strip and the zipper are right sides together and the raw ends are flush. Pin in place. Be sure to open the zipper pull toward the middle – this will help with sewing it later too.
- Select a straight stitch. If possible on your machine, move the needle position to the left. If you adjusted the pressure dial above, re-adjust it to 5.
NOTE: You can also slightly lengthen the stitch here, especially if your zipper is heavy duty like ours. This will make stitching through the layers easier. We also slowed down the machine’s speed to maintain control as we sewed across the metal zipper.
- Re-thread the machine with standard thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin.
- Stitch the zipper tabs in place, running your seam just below the top and bottom zipper stops.
NOTE: When you’re crossing over the zipper teeth, take caution. If the needle hits any of the metal parts of the zipper (stop or pull tab) the needle can break and could cause damage to your machine.
- Finger press the zipper tabs away from the zipper on each end.
- Find the front and back exterior panels.
- Place the embellished front panel of the bag right side up on your work surface.
- Open the zipper about half way. Lay your zipper right sides together with the fabric panel, which means the zipper teeth are facing down against the right side of the fabric. The top edge of the zipper tape should be even with the fabric’s raw horizontal edge. Make sure the zipper is centered between the left and right sides of the panel. The zipper tabs may extend beyond the raw edges of the panel a bit.
- Pin the zipper to the panel, being careful to pin through just the top of the zipper. You need to be able to open and close the zipper; you can’t do that if you’ve pinned through the whole thing.
- Attach the Zipper foot to the machine.
- Stitch as close to the zipper as the foot will allow, removing the pins as you sew. (Remember how you placed the fusible fleece ½” in from the top edge? Now there is less bulk here, so sewing the zipper to the bag is easier.)
- Sew slowly (we used the speed control on the machine). When you’re approaching the zipper pull, stop with the needle in the down position. Raise the pressure foot and guide the zipper pull to the back of the foot so you can continue to sew the zipper. You may need to twist your fabric around slightly to make the move, then simply re-position your fabric to finish sewing to the end. Be very careful and go slowly; you want your seam line to be super-duper straight.
- Press the panel away from the zipper. The zipper should be standing up from the panel with the remaining raw edge exposed.
NOTE: When pressing a metal zipper, take extra caution as those metal teeth take on the heat of the iron.
- Repeat to attach the remaining raw edge of the zipper to the unembellished exterior panel.
- Take care to keep your seam allowance the same on both sides so the zipper teeth are nicely centered.
- You now have panels stitched in place on either side of the zipper and the excess width at each end is neatly filled in with the zipper tabs.
- Press along the zipper again.
- On the right side, place pins along either side of the zipper on the folded edges of the fabric. Be sure the pins are going in opposite directions… in the same direction as you will sew.
- If necessary, re-thread your machine with thread to match the solid fabric in the top and bobbin. Our two panels were a great match so we didn’t need to change.
- Switch back to a regular presser foot or a Quarter Inch Seam foot (that’s what we used). Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- Topstitch along each side of the zipper, running your stitching as close to the edge of the fabric as possible. As above with the zipper insertion, to get close enough to the zipper with your topstitching, you will need to open and close the zipper to work around the pull (we used our knee lever, extra-high presser foot lift to be able to work with both hands).
Complete the exterior bag
- Make sure the zipper is open at least half way.
- Fold the two panels right sides together, aligning the raw edges along both sides and across the bottom. Pin in place.
- Attach a regular pressure foot. Keep the same slightly lengthened straight stitch. The extra length helps accomdate the thicker layers.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the bottom corners. Use a substantial backstitch at both the beginning and end of your seam to reinforce these stress points at either end of the zipper.
NOTE: The standard presser foot on most of the Janome models has a unique feature we always use when sewing something bulky. There is a small black button on the right side of the foot. When depressed, it stabilizes the foot for sewing over bulky areas. At the top of the bag, the zipper and fabric layers create a hump. In order to assist the fabric to feed evenly over this hump, we activated the black button and the foot rode over without a hitch.
- Clip the corners at a diagonal and trim away any excess zipper tab fabric.
- Leave the finished exterior bag wrong side out.
Create and insert the lining
- Find the two 16½” wide x 12½” interfaced lining pieces. Place the two pieces right sides together, aligning all the raw edges. Pin in place along both sides and across the bottom.
- Change the top and bobbin thread to best match the lining fabric.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, pivoting at the corners.
- Clip the corners at a diagonal and turn the lining right side out. Gently push out the corners so they are nice and square. Press flat.
- Fold down the top raw edge of the lining ½” all around. This distance is easy to determine since you adhered the interfacing ½” in from the top raw edge. Press well.
- Find the exterior bag. It should still be wrong side out. Press the seams open; this helps with fitting the lining.
- With lining still right side out, slip the exterior bag inside the lining so the two bags are now wrong sides together.
- Align the bottom and side seams. The top folded edge of the lining should fall below the zipper teeth by about ⅛”. If it doesn’t, adjust the fold to fit and gently re-press.
- Pin the layers together working from the middle out toward the sides. This helps to ease the layers together as it is a tight fit.
NOTE: We inserted our pins perpendicular to the seam, which allowed us to be able to place more pins to better hold the layers flat and ease the two pieces together.
- Thread a hand sewing needle with thread to match the lining.
- Slip stitch the lining to the bag, using very small stitches. Be sure to catch only the zipper tape and lining, not the right side of the bag. You can feel if you are catching the exterior layers.
NOTE: We found moving the zipper pull out of our way as we hand sewed the lining to the bag was helpful, similar to how you moved the pull when stitching on the machine.
- Gently turn the bag right side out through the zipper opening. Push the corners out so they are as smooth as possible and press the bag flat.
- Find the thin cord/ribbon.
- Fold the cord in half so the ends are flush. Then fold in half again
- Push the “folds” through the hole in the zipper pull, creating a loop.
- Slip the ends through the loop and pull down gently to secure. This is just like how you’d attach a gift or price tag.
- Cut the loop at the bottom to create four clipped ends.
- Tie each pair of ends into a simple knot.
- Apply a dot of seam sealant to the ends to prevent any fraying.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Jodi Kelly