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Gumdrop Clutch with Beaded Tassel Zipper Pull

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Goody, goody gumdrop! This cute zippered clutch combines several of our favorite embellishments: ribbon, beads, and tassels. Extra long zipper-pull charms are on-trend this season. They can add a bit of bling to any bag, but are an especially fun accent for this clutch with its bright colors and playful pattern. Of course, it's always an option to experiment with your own combinations; a neutral palette with natural stone beads would be another lovely look. 

If you've not tried a zipper-top clutch before because of your persistent "ziphobia" -- it's time to face your fears! This type of zipper construction is actually one of the easiest there is. It installs flat, and the clever end tabs help fill in the opening for a professional finish. 

The beaded and tasseled zipper-pull charm really makes this clutch special. But, it is optional. You could simply use a ⅛" ribbon as your pull. 

We have a full step-by-step tutorial that makes custom tassels easy to create in any size. And, although we don't detail the beading below, free tutorials abound on the web. And, really... stringing beads is a snap. 

If you're already a beading expert, this charm string is a great way to use up those pretty loose beads rolling around in your drawer from past projects.

We went bold and beautiful when selecting both our fabric and ribbon. We loved the bright green of the gumdrop fabric we originally pulled from our S4H Stash (Gumdrops in Grass from the Ducks in a Row collection by American Jane for Moda). So, much so, we picked a coordinating green zipper with brass teeth, plus a pop of chartreuse for the piping and one of the tassels. 

For ribbon, you'll never go wrong with the strking colors of a woven Jacquard ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons

The clutch finishes at approximately 10" wide x 8" high.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

 

  • ½ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for the clutch exterior and pocket
  • ⅜ yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton fabric for the lining
  • 1 yard of approximately 1" decorative ribbon
  • ½ yard of 20"+ wide mid-weight interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
  • ONE package of piping; we used Maxi Piping by Wrights
  • ONE 9" metal zipper
  • ONE skein each of TWO coordinating colors of floss for the tassels
  • Various small beads, two 7mm jump rings, and waxed cotton cord to create the beaded charm
    NOTE: We aren't providing a beading tutorial as these are readily available online. You can choose to not create the beaded portion of the charm and simply attach the two tassels directly to the zipper pull. 
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • All purpose thread to match ribbon or monofilament/invisible thread; we used monofilament
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Tape measure
  • Hand sewing needle

Getting Started

  1. DOWNLOAD AND PRINT: our one pattern sheet: Rounded Corner.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. From the fabric for the exterior, cut the following
    TWO 9" high x 11" wide rectangles for the exterior panels
    ONE 12" high x 11" wide rectangle for the front pocket
  3. Using the pattern, round the bottom corners of the two exterior panels and all four corners of the pocket panel (because it will be folded in half to form the final pocket). You could also use a cup or glass with an approximate 3½" diameter to round the corners.
  4. From the fabric for lining, cut the following:
    TWO 9" high x 11" wide rectangles - as above, use our pattern or a glass to round the bottom corners of each rectangle
    TWO 1¼" x 2½" strips for the zipper end tabs
  5. From the mid-weight interfacing, cut the following
    TWO 9" high x 11" wide rectangles
    ONE 6" high x 11" wide rectangle for the front pocket
    NOTE: Use our pattern or a glass to round the bottom corners of all the rectangles.
  6. The ribbon and piping will be cut to size within the construction steps.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Fusing

  1. Place the interfacing against the wrong side of each exterior piece, aligning the raw edges of both layers all around. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place. 
  2. Fold the exterior pocket panel in half (so it is now 6" x 11") wrong sides together and press to set a center crease. Unfold wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Place the remaining piece of interfacing against the lower half (the half with the curved corners) of the pocket panel. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.

Add the ribbon

  1. Find the pocket panel. Fold it in half again, wrong sides together, sandwiching the interfacing between the layers.
  2. Find the ribbon. Fussy cut a length to fit across the width of the pocket, centering the ribbon's motif. Pin the length of ribbon to the top of the pocket. The upper side edge of the ribbon should be flush with the top folded edge of the pocket. 
  3. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the ribbon in the top and bobbin or with our choice, monofilament thread. 
  4. Edgestitch the ribbon in place along both sides.
  5. Fussy cut two additional lengths of ribbon to fit across the width of the pocket bottom and the bottom edge of the back exterior panel. 
    NOTE: We fussy cut the pocket bottom ribbon so the motif colors were off-set with the colors of the pocket top ribbon. This is a more interesting look than if the ribbon were exactly in-line top and bottom.
  6. With your fabric pen or pencil measure ½" up from the bottom raw edge of the pocket and draw in a horizontal line (this guide line will help later with pocket basting and piping placement). Then measure ⅝" up from the bottom raw edge of the pocket and draw in a second horizontal line.
    NOTE: You are working on the right side of your fabric. Make sure you use a fabric pen or pencil that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron. 
  7. Place the lower side edge of a length of ribbon along the ⅝" guide line and pin in place. 
  8. Repeat the same guidelines at the bottom of the back exterior panel. 
  9. Edgestitch both bottom ribbons in place along both sides.
  10. Find the front exterior panel (the plain panel). Place the pocket right side up on the front panel, aligning the raw edges and the bottom rounded corners. 
  11. Machine baste the pocket in place, staying within the ½" seam allowance - the previously drawn ½" guide line will help keep this basting seam accurate.

Insert the zipper

  1. Find the zipper and end tab strips.
  2. Place one tab strip on each end of the zipper. The strip and the zipper are right sides together. Open up the zipper about half way. 
  3. Re-thread the machine with thread to match the fabric in the top and bobbin.
  4. Stitch each tab in place, running your seam just outside the top and bottom zipper stops. We recommend double stitching this seam. 
  5. Press the zipper tabs away from the zipper on each end.
  6. Find the front and back exterior panels.
  7. Place one exterior panel right side up on your work surface. Place the zipper right side down on the panel. Center the zipper teeth on the panel, allowing the zipper tabs to fill in the excess width. The top of the zipper tape should be flush with the top raw edge of the exterior panel. The zipper should be at least half way open. Pin along this top edge through both layers.
  8. Attach a Zipper foot
  9. Stitch across the top of the panel through both layers (fabric and zipper tape). 
  10. Go slowly. When you can start to feel you're approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position. Twist your fabric around slightly and carefully close the zipper. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end. Be very careful and go slowly; you want your seam line to be nice and straight.
  11. Trim any excess tab fabric so the side edges are flush. 
  12. Pin the remaining free edge of the zipper to the top edge of the remaining exterior panel. Right sides together as shown in the photo below.
  13. Stitch in place as you did on the opposite side, maintaining the same seamline.
  14. Flip over to the right side. Fold out the exterior panels flat to either side of the zipper and press well.
  15. Re-thread the machine, if necessary, with thread to match the top panel fabric. We slightly lengthened our stitch.
  16. With the Zipper foot still attached, topstitch along either side of the zipper within the top panel. Your seams should be about ¼" from the zipper teeth on each side. As with your original zipper insertion, you'll need to stop, with the needle in the down position, to move the zipper pull out of the way as you stitch across the panel. 

Add the piping and stitch front to back

  1. Flip the exterior sewn panel right side up. Find the piping. Cut a length of piping to fit around the front exterior panel. 
  2. Pin the piping in place. The insertion tape seam of the piping should sit ½" in from the raw edge of the fabric, which means the piping is not flush with the edge of the fabric.
  3. At the top corners of the front exterior panel, the piping should taper out. At about ¾" below the zipper, begin to curve the piping so the cut ends of the piping extend beyond the fabric. This will allow the piping to "fade" into the side seams.
  4. Machine baste the piping in place.
  5. Make sure the zipper is still open about half way. Fold front and back panels right sides together, aligning the raw edges along both sides and across the bottom. The zipper is now centered along the top edge. Pin in place.
  6. Still using a Zipper foot and a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, going slowly around the bottom corners to maintain a smooth curve. We also recommend a substantial backstitch at both the beginning and end of your seam to reinforce these stress points at either end of the zipper.
  7. Clip the bottom curves. Leave the exterior wrong side out.

Create and insert the lining

  1. Find the lining panels. Place them right sides together and pin along both sides and across the bottom.
  2. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch along both sides and across the bottom, keeping a smooth curve around the corners. 
  3. Clip the curves and press open the seam allowance.
  4. Fold down the top raw edge of the lining ½" all around. Press well.
  5. Find the exterior bag. It should be wrong side out.
  6. Turn the lining right side out. Slip the exterior bag inside the lining so the two bags are now wrong sides together.
  7. Align the curved bottom corners and the side seams. The top folded edge of each side of the lining should fall below the zipper teeth by about ¼". If it doesn't, adjust the fold to fit and gently re-press.
  8. Pin the layers together along the edge of the zipper. 
  9. Thread the hand sewing needle.
  10. Slip stitch the lining to the bag, using very small stitches. Stitch along the front and the back, but leave the lining loose where it wraps over the side seams. This allows some "give" in the lining so it folds smoothly as you zip the pouch open and shut.
  11. Gently turn the clutch right side out through the open zipper. Use a long, blunt tool to round the bottom curves and gently push out the upper zipper tab corners. Press flat. 

Optional beaded charm and tassels

  1. Follow our handy tutorial to create your own custom tassels from embroidery floss. Our two tassels are approximately 3½" in total length and our bead sting is about 4" long. 
  2. If you attach a jump ring to either end of the strung beads, you can use one ring to clip the beads to the zipper pull. Tie the tassels to the opposite ring. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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