Saturday, May 14, 2011

Perfectly Pleated Clutch: Finished

I finished up my Perfectly Pleated Clutch from the Amy Butler Style Stitches book, and am very pleased with the end result!  Bree from My Crafty Crap is hosting a 12 month sew along working our way through the Style Stitches book.  You can check out the awesome flickr pool with everyone's finishes to date.  This is the fifth bag in the book, and I love it.  I haven't exactly been following along each and every month, but this bag was a "must sew" from the time I bought the book.

For the main panel print I used one of the floral prints with the birds from Kitty Yoshida's Prospect Park line and the accent fabric is Bead Chain by Riley Blake.  I had seen a few others adding a little broach or flower for a little added interest, and thought I'd follow suit.  I've had this green broach for some time now, and thought it would work well.  

I just love the interest the pleating adds to this bag.  I will have to remember pleating as an option for projects in the future.  I made the medium sized bag and it is a really nice size for clutch.  Certainly can hold quite a bit, but not overly large.

Here are the back of the clutch and the lining detail.  The pattern called for making the handle out of the accent fabric, but I wasn't sure how much it will actually get used, and I wanted it to blend a little better, so I used the main panel fabric.  

While as a whole I do really love this clutch, I do have a few gripes and mini adjustments to the pattern. 

1.  For starters, you absolutely do not need nearly two yards of fabric she calls for in the fabric requirements. I'm glad I read Bree's post about this before beginning.  I cut my fabric the necessary 9 inches wide, but instead of one continuous cut, I cut 9 inches x WOF and then pieced a second 9 inches x 20 or so inches for the necessary 65ish inches necessary for the pleating.  This meant that instead of needing 1 7/8 yards of fabric, you really only need about 3/4 yard.  Much Better.

2.  Instead of installing the zipper like the instructions call for, I used the same method I used when making all those little pouches.  I made the little zipper tabs using Kelly's tutorial again, and as usual, had a very nice result. 

3.  I wish this clutch were a tad sturdier.  I guess I should have figured that only using the mid weight interfacing called for in the pattern would not result in a super stiff clutch.  I don't know, I guess I was thinking that all those pleats would add something extra as well.  If (and I'm sure I will) make this again, I would use either a stiffer layer of interfacing in between the outer and lining fabric, or consider using some fusible fleece to give it some extra weight.  It's not a major issue, sew and learn I suppose.  

All in all this pattern was quite easy to follow, by far getting the hang of the pleats was the most challenging and time consuming part, the rest of the bag went together quite easily and quickly.    


The more I was looking at this clutch, the more I realized that unfortunately because it was so flimsy I likely wasn't going to use it in a purse like capacity.  After thinking about it, I realized it wouldn't be very difficult to take out the seam in opening of the lining, turn the bag inside out, and cut some fusible fleece and iron it on to the interfaced back side of the outer fabric.  

I did just that, now I know its not super secure as the fleece is just ironed on and not sewn into the seams, but for the purposes I'll be using it for, it'll be ok.  After returning the bag and resewing the opening closed, I was so much more pleased and feel a lot better about it.  It's not super stiff or anything, but has a little more sturdiness and holds its shape much much better.  If and when I make this bag again, I will 100% add the fleece, and possibly some slightly stiffer interfacing.  

Happy sewing!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

I will be linking this post up to Sew Modern Monday hosted by Megan of Canoe Ridge Creations, be sure to pop over and say hi!


  1. LOVE it! The brooch adds a perfect professional looking touch to it! It's fantastic. And thank you for all the tips. I hope to make this at some point and i had heard you didn't need 2 yrds for it. Good to know!

  2. This is one of the patterns from the book I definitely wanted to make. Thanks for the tips. I love how classy yours turned out.

  3. Thank you for the tips about the amount of fabric needed and the fusible fleece, I was going to start mine this weekend if I have time! Ive been follow Bree´s blog too but haven´t made anything yet. This bag was my favorite as soon as I bought the book last year and still is. Your version is very cute!

  4. It's so cute! Beautiful fabric choices!
    Thanks for all of your tips, too - you're the best!

  5. LOVE the sparkle of the brooch - you did a fabulous job on this!

  6. So beautiful!! Love the main fabric!

  7. Dang, you finished before I did on this one! I think it looks gorgeous, especially with the broach. Mine is still lying on the ironing board, cut out. I wish I had chosen a better fabric, I wasn't terribly excited about this project so I used something that I got for $1/yard at Joann, but after seeing yours, I wish I had used something more interesting! I suppose I can always make another. ;-)

  8. So pretty, Jess, and love the sparkle :-)

  9. It is sweet; are we going to get a tutorial on this one??????hmmmmmmmmmmmm???? Very nice...the broach is just the right touch too

  10. So stylish! It turned out great.

  11. It looks GREAT! I absolutely adore how that fabric looks when it's pleated. I always use Decor Bond interfacing for the exterior of my bags/purses. It's not too stiff like Peltex, but is stiff enough to give the bag some shape without adding a lot of extra bulk.

  12. Beautiful job Jess! I love the little pleats. :) Thanks for linking up to {Sew} Modern Monday!

  13. Beautiful fabric choices! I haven't even started on this one yet, and will probably not get to it for a while, but when I do your tips will be very helpful. Love the brooch, too. Perfect detail for this pretty bag.

  14. Thanks for the advice, mine is all cut out, ready for a sewing evening tomorrow so I still have time to add the fleece, and even better, i have some!