Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Scarf to Clutch Project

The request:  Can you turn this scarf into a clutch purse?
The answer:  I will try!

And so it went.  The request was from my friend whose son is getting married in July.  She ordered fly plaids for the groomsmen, and wanted something to match as the mother of the groom.  She ended up getting a scarf to wear with her dress, but then it didn't quite work draping it over the dress.  So, a clutch purse was suggested.  I was the seamstress.  Then a suggestion to leave the fringe on the flap.  Then to leave the tag on the flap as well.  

So, I really regarded this as an honor to make something special for my friend, and the mother of the groom.  I made a sample first, and then this is how I made the clutch:

Based on the sample I made, I had to (gulp) CUT the scarf to the length I needed to be able to make a "tube".  The length was double that of what I needed to fold into thirds for a clutch.  Knowing that I only had one shot at this was a little nerve wracking.  Of course, any other fabric would have worked perfectly, but I was terrified of making any small error.

I'm cutting into a 100% silk scarf.  I've never cut or sewn on silk before, so I'm a little concerned it will ravel.  Or slide all over the place.  I didn't know what to expect!

The cutting went fine.  I then cut a piece of Pellon Craft Fuse - a fusible stabilizer - half the length of my total piece.  (I will fold the whole length in half, so I don't need the stabilizer to be double-thick.)  I ironed the stabilizer onto one half of my length of scarf, and left 1/4" of raw edge to stitch/hem down over the stabilizer.  This will become a needed finished edge - something I realized when making the sample.  (The scarf didn't melt!  I was terrified to iron on the scarf, so I used a dishtowel on top of it.  I found out that I didn't really need the towel, but thank heavens I didn't BURN or melt the fabric!)  


Next, I folded the length in half, right-sides together and stitched up each side to make a tube.

And then I turned that tube right-side out . . .

And pressed it flat.  The fringe edge is just 1" longer than the raw edge (that I hemmed earlier) of the scarf when folded in half.

Next, I positioned the tube to fold it into thirds to make the clutch.  That hemmed edge is at the top edge, just short of the fringe.  I adjusted the length of the bottom third that I folded upward a little longer than the flap that will fold down to accommodate for boxing the bottom just a little bit.

I only sewed one side of the clutch to get it lined up and non-moveable so that I could get the magnetic closures stitched into place.  The stitching on the sides is not done inside out - it's done on the right side of the fabric.  I figured it had to be done this way to avoid a lot of fitting and stitching that flap to fit a finished body that would end up narrower than the flap (if that makes any sense)!  

What a great invention, this sew-on magnetic closure.  It's a very strong magnet.

I got those magnets lined up and stitched on.  That edge that was open to turn the entire piece right-side-out was conveniently open to stitch the magnet into the flap so that the stitching would be hidden.

Once the magnets were sewn into place, I stitched that open end of the "tube" closed.  This is where the already-hemmed edge was a nice finish to sew closed without fumbling with a raw edge.  Another benefit of making a sample first.

After stitching the open end closed, I stitched the remaining side of the clutch closed.  I "boxed" the bottom by turning the clutch inside out, and stitching a diagonal seam 1/2" across each corner of the bottom of each side.  I forgot to take pictures of that part, but there are plenty of instructions on the web to do that.  It's really quite easy, and it gave the clutch just a small amount of depth so that it isn't flat like an envelope.

And voila!  A clutch to match the family Fly-Plaids of the groomsmen. I didn't really intend for this to be a tutorial, but I don't know how else to explain what the heck I did from start to finish :)

She loved it.  And I am SO happy to do this for her!  It's really an honor to be asked to make something like this for a special day in someone's life.  

OK, so I'm kinda proud of myself for doing it too.  Yikes!  Silk to cut and iron AND plaid to line up.  Sure. I can do that.


  1. Only kind of proud? Wow! This is beautiful! You could make a career of this!

  2. I agree with michelle, you did an incredible job and it is truly beautiful! kudos to you!!!

  3. Nice going! It's beautiful!
    Fox : )

  4. You are a brave woman and a fabulous seamstress! The clutch turned out beautifully. I would probably have turned down that particular challenge. The plaid is fabulous... good thing I don't have any need for plaid right now, or I'd be shopping for this beautiful piece of fabric!

  5. Wonderful idea and well done on making a scarf into a handbag.

  6. Just like Diane, I would have definately turned down this project, espcially knowing the material you had to work with, very brave. Love the way the tag was left on the outside very designer label! A marvelous piece of sewing, gosh you must be so proud but I guess also so releived that it turned out so well.

  7. I am very impressed, you did a wonderful job. I have made many versions of bags, from airplane carryons, to grocery bags, but i have never had to match a plaid. You rock girl!


Thanks for your thoughts - I read and appreciate every one!