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InStitches Sew Along: March

Back in the saddle again.

OK, so as you can see, I’ve actually completed something — woo hoo!! Today I bring to you my contribution to this month’s InStitches Sew Along: The Clutch.

I’ll start with the end of the story by telling you that, overall, I like this project. It turned out to be a pretty straightforward pattern, not nearly as complicated as I’d feared, and the bag has a really nice shape and is quite roomy for a clutch. Well, you could probably surmise that last part just by looking at the photo in the book. A couple of years ago, I made my sister-in-law a clutch using a different Amy Butler pattern that had been included in a sewing magazine. It was so cute, with this strap that attached to the back, but man was it large! My husband’s initial response when looking at the finished product: “Is it for her important evening files?” Funny guy! But, really…. Anyway, back to this one. The finished size isn’t nearly as long as I’d thought it would be, but it’s still just a little too much. It’s kind of a good/bad thing: You can stuff more into it – huge wallet, keys, makeup, small notebook – but then it becomes pretty hard to “clutch”. I don’t know, just my opinion.

The instructions were thorough and logical. My only issue was with the basting stitches in step 2e. If you use the 1/2 inch stitch as advised, it may still be visible along the top of the divider after you’ve sewn it into the lining. Next time I would make it a scant 1/2 inch, which would still allow for easily trimming out the interfacing.

Ah yes, the interfacing. As has been my custom, this was another “use what you have” project. The exterior was a remnant I picked up a few months ago, the lining and interfacings were drawn from stock on hand. That means that, once again, I substituted craft-weight Pellon for the Timtex. I don’t know if it made a difference or not; I’ve never used Timtex. Also, I didn’t have enough cotton batting so I used thin poly-bat. I meant to use the needle-punched variety, which I consider the next best thing, but made a mistake and used the wrong remnant. That may just be why my bag is slightly puffy, but not ridiculously so.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll show you the inside view. (Kelli, you may want to avert your eyes.)

Um, yeah…. I had a few issues with the top-stitching. I was having a hard time guiding the bag around the arm of the machine, and little did I know that the lining was starting to bunch up on the inside. I tried to rip it out and run it through again. Who knew it was so hard to rip out top-stitching? Yeah, forget it. Oh, and the brown bobbin thread? Well, I’d convinced myself that it was kind of a nice design element and not just laziness on my part (because bobbin winding, as you know, is so hard and all), and it actually would have been were it not for the whole crapped up lining-bunching thing. Hmpf.

The little silver armadillo pin attached to the tab may seem like kind of an odd choice, but it’s been rattling around in my jewelry box for 17 years and needed a purpose. Besides, I like that little bit of extra polish that it adds.

Speaking of polish, did you know that you can use plain old toothpaste to shine up tarnished silver? Yep. Dabbed a little bit on this guy, rubbed it around, wiped it off with a tissue and rinsed off the residue. Sparkly and minty fresh. I didn’t get this tip from the official silver council or anything, so you might want to try it on something other than your grandmother’s silver.

Hey, when you started reading this post, did you ever imagine that it would go on this long? Neither did I….


11 responses »

  1. Yikes…that was rough!!! I used Bean’s whole nap time to read this entry! :0)

    On the upside – I think your bag is adorable! I really have to get my closet in order so I can start playing with my beautiful new machine – you inspire me so!

  2. Love the clutch! I had some issues with this project as well, but overall I didn’t think it was that hard. Sometimes I just think there are too many words in her instructions! And the armadillo is just too cute!

  3. Found you through In Stitches group. I had the same, um, issues with topstitching! And yes, her stuff is enormous. I also made the placemats and napkins in the book and they are truly huge.

  4. Nice clutch! Totally agree with the size thing… I haven’t started sewing my project yet and thought that just by looking at the pattern pieces.

    Way to go “using what you have!”

    Just teasing. That bag is great. Mine is huge too. I totally agree — I could make this bag next time at 60% (by using the copy machine reduction on my pieces) and it would be much more “clutchy.”
    Regardless, very cute bag!

  6. I love the bag… and I especially love that button! Top stitching takes a little practice and is always a pain in the tushy.

  7. Very nice bag. I’d think top stitching would all those layers could get pretty tricky.
    Thanks for the silver tip!

  8. I think it turned out great, but understand it having clutch issues at that size. Again, I’m a busy mom, no time to worry about my aching hands clutching an oversized clutch, you know? And I’m wondering how you discovered that toothpast polishes silver? Neat trick, but how in the world?…

    The fabric is great and so is the bag.

  9. oooo… the green lining is awesome. It would make me smile each time I opened the bag! Love it. I just finished the Butler Madison pattern and had similar issues with the stitching. I had timtex and pellon and went with the timtex. Very sturdy, but still I wish I had not. Ugh. The timtex was so stiff it would barely fit through my “target special” singer: tugging and pulling and trying to keep a straight line. Not fun.

    The little armadillo pin is just the cutest.

  10. I’m so glad you liberated the armadillo after all this time! The clutch is great, even if not totally practical. Good job. I was thinking of making it from the book, but adding a strap – the clutchless clutch I guess.

  11. You know, I kinda had the same, “why the hell is this thing so huge” moment, too when I finished up. But I’m making it work. Thanks to InStyle magazine I now have seen how the fancy types are making these enormo bags work – rolling the top over and slamming it under their arms OR rolling it so one can “clutch” it.


    Either way – love the fabric and the armadilly – cute touch!


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