Thursday, November 19, 2015

Not-Santa-Claus Clutches

My brother is getting married in December, and my almost-sister-in-law, Ashley, asked if I would make purses for her bridesmaids. I told her what I thought would be good options, and she immediately chose frame purses with chains. Then I asked her what she envisioned as far as fabric goes (thinking it would be satin or something). When she said "kind of like a vintagey Christmas" I immediately thought of old-fashioned Santa Claus prints and things like that, and thought "Oh, wow," because even I wouldn't go for that (and that's as someone who sometimes plays Christmas music in the summer (shhhhh----that's a secret) and who often makes questionable fabric decisions that seem cute in my head. But she showed me a photo to give me an idea, and I thought "OH, yes, that's what normal people would think of...."

I used the same pattern I had sketched up for these bags, without bothering to check that the frames were the same size. I only made one, as I also had a new interfacing I wanted to test (am I gutsy or what? Playing fast and loose with the pattern and just throwing in random, untested interfacing on a custom order?). And of course, it didn't fit (no matter how persuasive I tried to be). So a quick trip to the drawing board and I was back in action, again making just one. A smarter person would have made a sample, but I am not always that person. Once I knew that the pattern was right, I went ahead and assembly-lined the rest of them. I had eight to make--three in one fabric, two each in two other fabrics, and then the bride's bag in another (hers is my favorite).

The bride's bag is the front one. I didn't know if I'd love that one, but it's so pretty and elegant looking!

The bags are actually quite simple to make, and I've glued frames eleventy-million times, so these went together relatively quick, considering that I really took my time with these.

Side note: my grandma made that doily. She went on a doily-making kick and made a bunch of them for herself and her kids. I don't know how she didn't go insane, but she hand-pieces and hand-quilts gigantic quilts, too, so she must be used to such involved projects.

These purses are convertible. They can be used as a clutch, or a chain can be attached to the little floppy loops inside to make them more hands-free.

I wrapped each chain in a little organza bag and tucked it inside the bag.

The chains were actually really sturdy. I thought they might be too thick, but they're just right for this size purse (the frame is 8 by 3 inches).

I like meant-to-be moments, and this was one--I had the perfect amount of glue for eight frames. I ordered more, but the stuff I use comes from Europe so it's a long wait to get it. I coaxed every last drop out of the tubes that I had on hand, and I juuuuuuuust made it. My replacement glue finally arrived today, so I'm glad I wasn't counting on it getting here sooner (I finished the bags a few weeks ago).

Anyway...normally for these kinds of purses I will use a fusible woven interfacing, some fleece (sew-in or fusible), and some medium-weight sew-in interfacing to get them to stand tall and be proud of themselves. This time I invested in some stuff I've heard mentioned repeatedly called Bosal. It reminds of headliner fabric (the stuff that lines the ceiling of your car) but is a bit nicer. I tried fusible, but I didn't like the result. So I tried sew-in and that really worked a treat. I used a few more pins than normal, and did some extra trimming, but the stuff is a delight. I used a layer of woven, and the Bosal, and that's it. There's not a bit of flop to these bags, and they feel lovely and structured, but are still soft and moldable. I coaxed them into shape with my iron, and they stayed perfectly put. Definitely adding this to my list of excellent products to use.

Well, I must trot to the land of nod. I have the afternoon off tomorrow, and I can't wait to finish sewing my new bag. I sketched the pattern last night, and cut and started sewing tonight. It's got such an adorable front pocket! Even my sister loves it, and she and I are generally at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to our tastes (some would say she has some, and I have none, hahahahaha). Happy Friday!!!


  1. Beautiful! Too bad I'm already married ;-)

  2. These bags are gorgeous!!!!!

    Where do you find the frames? I have trouble resourcing them.

  3. Hi sweetie. Love the bags! Love all the knitted shawls. Love the pics. Miss you!
    XO Kris

  4. That gold-and-white one is so elegant! The foam stabilizer sounds really interesting. What kind of glue do you prefer for frame purses like these?



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