You can never have too many bags. There’s always a special occasion or a special outfit for which you need a special bag. You could trawl the internet for days to find the one you want, you could spend days traipsing round the shops to find the one that matches that special outfit …. or you could make your own designer bag, knowing that it will match the outfit exactly and that you can add your own embellishment to make it truly one of a kind.
I was thrilled with the way this designer clutch bag turned out – well, it was designed by me so I guess i can call it a designer clutch bag! I noticed some really gorgeous brocade in the remnant basket at my local fabric shop and deicded that it would be perfect for an evening clutch bag.
I have to admit that this is the fourth version that I made of the designer clutch bag, but I’m calling that research on your behalf so that I can present you with instructions that work for a magnificent designer bag.
Benefits of designing your own clutch bag
So, for your benefit, here are the fruits of my research:
- While brocade may be absolutely beautiful, it is not really suitable for small bags (too thick).
- Using brocade and wadding for the whole bag makes the seams really bulky.
- Using brocade and fusible interfacing: the seams feel hard – the wadding provided cushioning.
- Using brocade and leaving out the wadding for the gussets more or less worked.
- Using silk and wadding for the whole bag worked a treat!
I have used photos showing both the white brocade bag and the brown silk clutch bag – I used whichever photos turned out best for any stage of the project.
Making the main part of the clutch bag
I began with a rectangle 12″ by 7.1/2″ for the bag and two rectangles 4″ by 3.1/2″ for the gussets in main fabric, lining fabric and wadding. Place the small rectangle with the 4£ going across and mark a curve across the top corners.
Cut off the corners and place a piece of wadding on the wrong side of each piece of main fabric. Baste all round the edges to keep everything in place when you are sewing the designer clutch bag together.
With right sides together, place a gusset piece in the corner of the main rectangle as shown. Begin sewing in the bottom left hand corner (of the photo) and stitch along the bottom edge. You are joining the straight edge then the curved edge then the next straight edge of the gusset, so you will be curling up the fabric rectangle as you go. the corners are obviously the most difficult as you are stitching a curved edge to a straight edge. I find that it’s best to move the wheel of my sewing machine by hand for these parts as you can then ease the fabric round the curves with each stitch. Stop stitching about 1/2″ before the end of the seam. This will help prevent puckering when the lining and bag are sewn together.
Now place the second gusset piece on the other corner of the main rectangle – in the top right corner of the photo. Sew in place in the same way. You should now be able to see the shape of the designer clutch bag.
Repeat the process with the lining fabric, sewing the gussets to the main rectangle so that you have two separate bag shapes: one in the main fabric and one in lining fabric.
Add a fastening to the clutch bag
Before sewing the lining to the clutch bag, it’s a good idea to sew on the fastening, so that you don’t have to worry about the stitching sewing through on the flap. I used a snap fastener. On the right side of the lining, mark a point half way across the width of the flap and 1″ from the top of the flap.
Sew the sticking out half of the snap fastener there. The other half of the fastener will go on the front of the bag on the main fabric. I prefer to sew that on when the clutch bag is complete so that I can be sure it is exactly where I want it, but if you wish to add it now, sew it at a point half way across the front of the bag and 1.1/2″ down from the top.
Sew the lining to the clutch bag
With right sides together, push the lining into the clutch bag. The main fabric bag is wrong side out, so the wadding is on the outside. The lining is right side facing the main bag so you can see the wrong side when you look in the bag. Line up all the edges and pin in place.
Make a wrist strap for the designer clutch bag
At this stage the photos change to the brown bag because I decided to add a wrist strap for the brown designer clutch bag. cut a strip of fabric 1″ by 12″. Fold both raw edges in to the middle along the 12″ edges with wrong sides together. Then fold inhalf so that all the raw edges are hidden. Stitch along the length of the strip to secure it.
Fold the strap in half and tuck it into a back corner of the bag as shown with the ends of the strap in line with the raw edges of the bag. Mine are shown sticking out a little so that you can see them. The photo shows the strap in place before the lining is added. The strap will be between the bag fabric and the lining. If you position the ends next to each other rather than on top of each other, it makes a less bulky seam to stitch.
Finishing the designer clutch bag
Using a 1/2″ seam, sew the lining to the bag. Begin towards one side of the front of the bag, sew along the side of the bag, round the three edges of the flap and along the other side of the bag. Stop sewing about 4″ from where you began. This gives you a gap through which you can turn the bag right side out.
Before you do this, though, trim all the seams and clip into the corners so that the seams will lie flat when you turn it right side out.
Push the bag through the gap and push the lining down into the bag. Turn under the seam allowance on the gap and topstitch all the way round the top of your designer clutch bag and flap to hold everything in place. One designer clutch bag complete.