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June is 4 Brides: Bridesmaid's Clutch

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One of the most popular wedding trends is to create coordinating 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 special wedding day gifts for their girlfriends. We even found some stories out there about brides who've skipped traditional bridesmaid bouquets, choosing instead to put real or silk flowers on coordinated clutches and have the girls carry these down the aisle. Our design uses a frame with a beautiful big ball clasp. We found ours on Etsy where there were many options from which to choose. You could also look at your local craft store. We show you how to adjust our pattern to fit your frame. For our sample wedding party, we made three beauties, using six blendable fabrics from Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics

Our clutch uses Notting Hill in a sateen weight for the exterior and a quilting weight for the lining. The careful placement of the motifs make a dramatic fashion statement. This bag would be the perfect pop of color and design against a monochromatic ensemble! If you are new to fussy cutting, check out our tutorial.

Using a 9" frame, each purse finishes at approximately 9" across the top, 11" across the bottom and 8" tall.

Joel's Notting Hill came out in November of 2012 and is still readily available at in-store and online retailers. We found a good selection at these Sew4Home Marketplace Vendors: Fat Quarter Shop and

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome DC2013)
  • Walking foot (optional, but very helpful with the thicker layers and varying substrates)

Fabric and Other Supplies

Ingredients shown below are for ONE clutch and the amounts shown allow extra for fussy cutting.

  • ½ yard of 54" wide décor weight cotton for the exterior 
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide quilting weight cotton for the lining
  • We used cotton sateens and quilting weight cottons from the Notting Hill Collection Color by Joel Dewberry for FreeSpirit Fabrics; our three clutches used the following fabric combinations:

    Clutch 1
  • Exterior: Notting Hill Kaleidoscope Sateen in Pink
  • Lining: Notting Hill Frames Cotton in Tangerine

    Clutch 2
  • Exterior: Notting Hill Primrose Sateen in Pink
  • Lining: Notting Hill Hexagons Cotton in Magenta

    Clutch 3
  • Exterior: Notting Hill Pristine Poppy in Pink
  • Lining: Notting Hill Square Petals Cotton in Tangerine

  • ½ yard of medium-weight fusible interfacing; we used 931TD Fusible Midweight by Pellon
  • ½ yard of wide fusible fleece; we used 987F Fusible Fleece by Pellon
  • ONE 8-10" x 3" rectangular, ready-made purse frame; as mentioned above, we found ours on Etsy where there were many options from which to choose. You could also look at your local craft store. It is a readily available size/shape 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, clothes pins or tiny clamps would also work

Getting Started

  1. 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.
  2. Cut out ONE pattern along the solid line.
  3. 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.
  4. Place your actual frame on the paper half-pattern as shown in the drawing below. 
  5. Trace the frame. It helps to use a second color for this tracing, like a red. 
  6. Mark where the bottom of the frame's hinge meets the pattern. 

  7. If your frame is 8", reduce the pattern size by cutting approximately ⅜" from the pattern edge as indicated by the 8" blue dashed line on the drawing above.
  8. If your frame is 10", enlarge the pattern size by taping on an approximate ⅜" strip along the pattern edge as indicated by the 10" blue dashed line on the drawing above.
  9. Adjust the second printed half-pattern up or down if needed to match the first. 
  10. 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.
  11. Double-check that the paper pattern fits properly into your frame's channel, adjust as necessary.
  12. From the fabric for the exterior (see our combos above), use the assembled pattern to fussy cut TWO pieces. 

    NOTE: 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.
  13. From the fabric for the lining (see our combos above), 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.

  14. From the fusible fleece, using the pattern, cut TWO pieces.
  15. From the fusible interfacing, using the pattern, cut TWO pieces.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the exterior bag

  1. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of both exterior pieces. 
  2. Again following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the fleece to the wrong side of both exterior pieces on top of the interfacing.
  3. Place the pattern piece onto the wrong side of both layered exterior pieces (the fleece side) and transfer the side dots. Make sure you transfer the dots on both sides of both pieces. 
  4. Place the two exterior pieces right sides together, aligning all the raw edges and the bottom corner notches. Pin from the dot down to the top of the corner notch on both sides, then pin across the bottom. 
  5. Using a ⅜" seam allowance stitch from the dot down to the top of the corner notch on both sides. Lock your seam at the beginning and end. 
  6. Using a ⅜" seam allowance, stitch across the bottom. Lock your seam at the beginning and end.
  7. 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.
  8. At each corner, pull the notch apart to create a peak, matching the side seam to the bottom seam. 
  9. Using a ⅜" seam allowance, stitch across the peak to create a box corner. Repeat for the opposite corner.

    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial: How To Box Corners.
  10. Push out the corners. Below is a photo looking down into the bag while it is still wrong side out. It shows you the pretty intersecting seams on each corner.
  11. Turn the bag right side out.

Create the lining

  1. Place the pattern onto each lining piece and transfer the side dots as you did above.
  2. 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.

Sew together the exterior and the lining

  1. 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.
  2. 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 the curve of about 4-6” for turning.
  3. 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. 
  4. Trim the exterior side of the seam allowance back to ¼"
  5. Pull the bag right side out through the opening. You are essentially pulling the exterior bag through the lining.
  6. Once both are right side out, push the lining down into place.
  7. Press in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin in place.
  8. 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

  1. Find the purse frame and the glue.
  2. The glue is very fast drying and so it is best to do one side at a time.
  3. 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.
  4. Insert one 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, simply wipe it away 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.   
  5. When done, clamp/clip the finished side in place and open the frame completely so the completed side is out of the way.
  6. Repeat the steps to insert the opposite top portion into opposite channel. 
  7. Clamp the second side and let the frame dry completely.


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



Comments (25)

Mina said:
Mina's picture

Has anyone tried to make these with a lace overlay?  I've seen some pics online of some pretty bridal clutches that had lace over simple satin.  I've made several of these with just cottong but was hoping to use this wonderful pattern to make a smaller version for a communion purse.  Any suggestions?

Sunnie Mitchell said:
Sunnie Mitchell's picture

Four years on from this piece being published, I've discovered the absolute joy of retro-vintage handbags - this and the other tutes on this site for purse frame bags is SO helpful! I have the bags and totes book you've recently put out and now would be absolutely over the moon if you did a book on making these delicious little bags. I have a lovely book (Vintage Purses to make) but the instructions aren't anywhere as good as the ones you create. Especially helpful would be guidance on drafting patterns to fit any size frame - I live in the UK and it's not always easy to get the exact(ish) size frames specified in US blogs and publications.  

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@Sunnie - We are always delighted when folks find one of our patterns helpful and fun -- old or new! Thank you so much for buying our book (yay for our UK fans!). You're right, it can be hard to find patterns for the small frame clutches. We've recentlyi nvestigated doing a new pattern ourselves, and it is very challenging to find a good, reliable source for the frames! We'll keep searching. In the meantime, we hope you'll keep coming back to the site... and will bring all your friends 

Sara Miles said:
Sara Miles's picture

Hi Liz - I'm new to sewing and am trying to make these for my bridesmaids. I'm having trouble with the box corner. Do you have any other pictures for that step? Thank you!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Sara - We always put up all the photos we have for each tutorial, so I don't have any additional images for this project. However, as mentioned above, we do have a full tutorial on how to create a boxed corner. Maybe reading through that would help you visualize better: 

: If you are new to this technique, check out our tutorial: How To Box Corners.

gimmoka said:
gimmoka's picture

Best tutorial ever! However I had difficuly squeezing the ready fabric at the frame corners. Once I managed to put in one corner, the fabric slipped out of the other. I concluded that it would be easier if the fabric corners were not round but would be cut at a certain angle. What do you think? It was my first try and I was a bit disappointed as usually my projects come out as a success. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ gimmoka - You didn't say if you'd used the exact same frame or not. We rounded our corners to fit more smoothly into the rounder corners of the frame. This way the fabric sat nice and flat below the edge of the frame. With the glue we didn't have any problem with the corners slipping out. That said, we are supportive of any change you want to make to create an easier path for your work... especially if your frame is a different style/shape. You could also try clipping one corner in place while you adjust the other.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Kristy James - as we mention above: We found ours on Etsy where there were many options from which to choose. You could also look at your local craft store. We've also sourced frames for other projects through our Fabric Retailer sponsors, Amazon, and JoAnn Fabrics.

JessicaHasAQuestion said:
JessicaHasAQuestion's picture

I really like this tutorial, and I want to surprise my sister with a custom clutch for her wedding, but I do not have a sewing machine. Is it possible to make a clutch as nice as these when I am limited to hand sewing?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ JessicaHasAQuestion - I do not believe you would get the finished result you are hoping for with hand sewing. You may want to check in your area to see if there are stores (sewing machine stores or fabric stores will probably be your best best) that offer machines to rent. This is becomming more and more common. Usually you would go into the store to work on your project. 

Lisa O. said:
Lisa O.'s picture

Thank you for tutorial.  I made a prototype and will now tweak it to make it a little smaller.  I'll use this as a make up purse or something.  Very cute.  I also did another tutorial wherein you attach the lining to the exterior first and then attach them together.  It was okay except you have to do the box corners FOUR times.  Too much work and too much room for having four corners not symmetrical.  I noticed the two corners where it meets next to hinges don't look as nice as I would like.  What can I do to make it very 'tight' and no holes showing through or anything?  It's giving me problems -- with each tutorial actually.  I want to know how to make it look very neat and tidy.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Lisa O - it is an odd little corner in there right by the hinge and it can be hard to make it super duper perfect. Since most of it is hidden by the hinge, I wouldn't lose a lot of sleep over it. The best thing to try is to carefully clip into the curves and corners so the fabric has as much give as possible to make the turn. You may also want to grade the seams to reduce bulk, which will also allow an easier, cleaner corner. Just be careful not to cut through your seam.

Hannah Bauer said:
Hannah Bauer's picture

I would like to make this one with a 7 inch frame (got the wrong one's by mistake), what is crucial to think of when adjusting the pattern? Thanks! /Hannah

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Hannah Bauer - you'll see on the pattern that we gave options for how to adjust from our 9" frame sample up to 10" or down to 8". Follow this example to see the how much we adjusted the sizing, and reduce proportionately to fit your 7" frame. 

Lidia Lirmann said:
Lidia Lirmann's picture

Obrigada por compartilhar com sabedoria umTutorial tão perfeito e com tantos detalhes.Obrigada mesmo.Vou tentar.Vocês são maravilhosos.Lidia

ChellaBella said:
ChellaBella's picture

I have been trying to figure this out for quite some time.  I've pulled several tutorials with no luck as most required me to draw my own pattern.  What I needed was a pattern to start with, so I could understand how to draw my own.  Today, I made this one!  Now I understand the pattern process and look forward to designing my own.  It is so cute, I may just have to keep it for myself!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ Joanne2106 - here's what we suggest, as listed above in the supplies list:

ONE 8-10" x 3" rectangular, ready-made purse frame; as mentioned above, we found ours on Etsy where there were many options from which to choose. You could also look at your local craft store. It is a readily available size/shape and we show you how to adjust our pattern to fit your frame. 

monogramshoppe said:
monogramshoppe's picture

Oh!  These are beautiful and look so easy to make.  You might have said above, but do you do anything other than glue it in place?  Does that hold it? Or do you hammer sides together or anything else?  Thank you!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:

@ monogramshoppe - yes, it is described above. Just glue holds the bag into the frame, but use the glue recommended - just a regular ol' glue won't work.