When you really get into sewing, you start to see fabric everywhere. Seriously. Everywhere. I don’t get rid of clothes anymore if the fabric is sew-worthy, as evidenced by my upcycle/recycle/refashion posts! But now I can’t even go through the grocery store without eyeing the tiny section of kitchen towels that are in the baking aisle.
And Target? FUHGHETTABOUDIT. Towels, kitchen towels, napkins, shower curtains, sheets, placemats, table runners…. there is fabric everywhere, and lots of super cute prints, too!
Guess how this tutorial came about? Yep. Walking by the kitchen linen aisle and spotted this GORGEOUS placemat.
I mean seriously, it is so beautiful and has such great texture.
I ended up buying two – one in this coral color and another in a lovely mustard for a later project!
So anyway, this placemat happens to be lined (bonus!) which made my mind start shouting ideas at me in a tourette-like fashion: BAG! Pillow. Coasters. CLUTCH! Ah, yes, I think a clutch is perfect.
I wanted to make a very stiff, structured clutch – not the floppy kind (I feel like stuff would fall out of a floppy clutch, but you can skip this step if you want a floppy one for yourself), so in lieu of interfacing I used stiffened felt.
WHAT, you say? Stiffened felt. I love this stuff and I use it all the time! The placemat is 14×19 and a sheet of the stiffened felt is 12×18 so it fits perfectly inside. You can get it at your local craft store, or by all means, use some interfacing that is stiff if you want more structure to your clutch.
You’ll also need some velcro. There are several kinds of velcro, and truth be told I would have preferred sew-on velcro instead of the kind with the sticky back (gums up the needle!) but you use what you have on hand sometimes… so if you’re going to get supplies, get sew-on velcro instead of sticky!
So now the fun begins. Slice open one of the short ends of the placemat…
Stuff the felt inside…
Push it all the way in, there will be a little room on all sides.
Set your machine to a zigzag stitch…
..and sew that baby back up! Be sure to go back and forth a few times at the top and bottom to seal off the thread. You won’t sew through the felt since it is shorter than the placemat.
Now isn’t that lovely? Hold up the placemat and shake it around a bit so the felt makes it back to the center.
Next you’re going to fold your very stiff placemat into a clutch. Get ready, you’ll need some muscle.
You can fold it to where you want it, what looks good or feels comfortable to you, but if you’re a stickler for measurements (I am NOT), I measured for you and folded up to leave 4.5 inches on the top flap, as you can see pictured here:
I put pins to mark my place and went back to the sewing machine. Using a straight stitch, I started at the pin and went straight down to the bottom. Since the placemat is lined and you have the felt in there, your machine and needle will basically tell you where to sew and give you your seam allowance – it’s about 1/4 -1/2 inch. Be sure to go back and forth a few times at the top and bottom again, to secure your thread.
This fabric hides your thread & seam so nicely!
Now go sew up the other side, too..
..and check your work out — you now have a lovely pocket!
Next step: use your muscles to fold that top down. Press it really well, it’s going to want to pop back up on you. I set my laptop on mine for a while just to tell it who is boss.
This is where the velcro comes in. AGAIN – I want to reiterate that sew-on velcro is much preferred over the sticky-back velcro I am using here. Trust me. I went through 2 needles!
Pick your spot where you want the velcro placed and pin it in place.
I joined the velcro once pinned and folded the top of my clutch over to get my spot for the second piece on the main body of the clutch like this..
Break out your needle and thread and sew those puppies on!
Be sure to go through the placemat and the felt or interfacing if you used it — you’ll want it to be secure and not to pull away from the structure of the clutch. I used a contrasting thread, I thought it would be cute!