Monday, June 10, 2013

June Stashbusting: DIY Gold Clutch


June's stashbusting theme is containment, i.e. "sewing things to put other things in." While I could do something sensible, like make a reusable grocery bag, let's be honest -- Mr. Cation has gotten so many free bags from business school job fairs, we're probably set for life (and don't even talk to me about pens, notepads, and water bottles with random company names on them!). I'm a two-purse kind of girl (one nice professional one, and one casual messenger bag), so I don't need any more purses. I do, however, need a new clutch for dress-up events, when my giant teacher purse (the professional-looking one) doesn't cut it. My current clutch was a free gift from a Black Friday sale in college, so I think it's about time I replaced it!



While I was in Italy, I stopped by a Euro Village, which I guess is the equivalent of a dollar store. I picked up a bunch of sewing notions for a euro each, as well as this gold placemat for two euros. It was so nice and weighty, I figured it would make for a good clutch. "Oho, but that means you're not stashbusting!" you say accusingly...well, I used stash fabric for the lining! I got this home-dec sample in London on our first anniversary trip, and it was the perfect size and color scheme for this simple clutch.

Step 1: To make the lining, cut out a piece of sturdy fabric a little bigger than your placemat. Fold over and press the edges (and sew mitered corners if you want super neat corners!) to make a rectangle with finished edges. Pin or clip the lining to your placemat and sew all the way around the edge, leaving a little gap in the middle of one short side so that you can insert an elastic later. 
I used clips instead of pins because the punctures show on my vinyl placemat. I wasn't sewing too neatly and veered off at one point and had to unpick; fortunately, the shininess of the placemat distracts from the needle holes!
Step 2: Play around with how big of a pocket/flap you want on your clutch. Fold up the side that does NOT have the gap in stitching; this will be the size of your pocket. The flap with the gap will be the "cover" of the pocket. I settled for not-quite-thirds for my folds. Once you've decided, measure your placemat to determine the center, then make a tiny mark so that you know where to sew your button. Sew on the button. (If I had been making this clutch two years ago, it wouldn't have occurred to me to sew the button before sewing up the sides...and then I would've cursed my lack of foresight, since it's much easier to sew on the button at this point, while it's still flat!) 
Step 3: Find the gap that you left in the "top" flap, insert a hair elastic, and topstitch over it a few times with tiny stitches to secure. (I sewed most of the clutch with a stitch length of 4, to better match the existing topstitching on the placemat, but switched to a stitch length of 2 for the elastic part.)
Make sure that the inserted elastic is big enough to go over the button. 
Stitching done on both the button and elastic! I chose this black button with a gold rim to break up all of the gold. 
Step 4: Sew up the side seams, backstitching at the top of the pocket for extra security. 
Done!

Summary:
Fabric: 12"x18" gold vinyl placemat, similar size 100% cotton canvas. This project is perfect for showcasing a cool fabric that you only have a bit of! Of course, if you were going to make it from a non-placemat, you might need to add in some stiff interfacing to keep your clutch from being too floppy.
Notions: 1 hair elastic leftover from when my hair was still long enough to require such things, 1 shank button from the stash
Hours: 1.5...a nice quick project!
Will you make it again? Considering how few purses I use, probably not for myself, although I might make more for friends if I come across cool placemats.
Total cost: I don't remember how much the home dec fabric was, but the whole project was definitely less than $5. Not as good as free, but at least I didn't have to wake up at 5 AM and fight a bunch of other people at Express before the limited supply ran out! 
Final thoughts: It's funny, in high school and college, all my accessories were silver/stainless steel and cooler toned, but recently I realized that gold/brass and warmer tones suit my coloring better; this clutch reflects this discovery (and all the light in the room). Also, I like that this clutch is actually big enough to put things in! Which, as you know, was the whole point of June's theme.

Experimenting with how much I can fit: my iPhone, my even smaller clutch with my credit cards and ID and cash, and a little makeup thing that I use about twice a year. I bought it when I got engaged four years ago, and I still haven't used it up...
I decided that a picture of makeup in my clutch wasn't a fair representation of what I was likely to actually carry in it...so I replaced it with one of my favorite short story collections instead. Perfect for all of those times that Mr. Cation is groomsmanning/MCing at weddings (because he always gets asked! He's like a professional groomsman and MC at this point) and I'm bored. 
Proof that it still closes nicely even with a book inside!

31 comments:

  1. Super cute clutch! And great timing. I was just lamenting that I can't find a clutch to make the accent shoes I got for a dress I made. I'll just make one! Why didn't I think of that? >.<

    Yours looks so nice and easy to do!

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    1. Isn't it funny how we don't think about obvious solutions? Hope your me-made clutch plans work out!

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  2. I love, love, love gold and shiny things therefore I love this. What a fun, quick but really practical project! I look forward to seeing it styled with an outfit.

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    1. Oh, you can bet the matching outfit is coming!

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  3. whoah, i love this! i have absolutely no use for a clutch, but now i totally want one! ya know... just in case the need arises. very creative!

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    1. Well, if you ever need one for a sudden fancy occasion, now you know that placemats are the secret!

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  4. This is fabulous! Love how you combined things from two special trips in your life!
    I too just figured out gold is better than silver for my coloring too! How funny.

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    1. Haha, now that you pointed that out, I'm bugged that I wasn't able to work in anything from my second trip!

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  5. Replies
    1. That was exactly my thought when I saw the placemat at the back of the store :)

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  6. Such a great idea! I love the placemat you found and how cool to have that kind of souvenir!

    I think that hairband for the elastic closer is genius! I will have to remember that trick. =)

    ~ Brooke

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    1. Elastic hairband = couldn't be bothered to sew a tiny tube. And yes, it's a me-made souvenir!

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  7. What a fabulous placemat! I wish I could find stuff like that. It's turned into a wonderful clutch, and it looks like it will be pretty versatile as well. Lovely!

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    1. Just keep your eyes peeled...you never know when you'll spot something fabulous that can be turned into something else!

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  8. So cute. I was desperately needing a clutch this weekend. I'll have to make one of these for next time.

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    1. The good thing is, they're so easy to make!

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  9. Awesome result! I love that you made it out of a placemat :)

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    1. It's always so fun to tell people, too, what unlikely materials you used!

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  10. I need a new small purse for taking to the gym, so this is perfect timing. Your clutch is very cleverly made, and so cute.

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    1. Thanks! And it wouldn't be too difficult to slap a chain/strap on, if you wanted to be able to wear it instead of carrying it.

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  11. Cute! I love the gold-- looks awesome!

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    1. I love gold too, and I'm especially pleased by the tiny little embossed squares!

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  12. Nice placemat! It looks like a mosaic, not vinyl!

    I did a similar thing with a piece of an old sweater.
    http://sarahdudik.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/tote-and-clutch-from-upcycled-sweaters/

    Yay for stashbusting!

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    1. Cute use for a sweater! Yay stashbusting indeed!

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  13. perfect size clutch! can't believe you can hold ALL the essentials INcluding a BOOK!

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  14. My mom always told me I looked better in yellow gold and I fought it my WHOLE life. Now I wish I was into gold sooner in my life. I can't get enough of it now. Moms know everything!

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    1. They seriously do! So sad that it takes us so long to realize that!

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  15. This is fantastic, what a brilliant idea! And it looks so beautiful.

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  16. Just love this idea!! :)

    http://turquoiselaceandlovenotes.blogspot.com/

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