Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How To : Sew a Vinyl Zippered Clutch

 My latest and greatest creation!
Good morning! I hope your week is going well? Mine has been motoring right along. Between my tumblr blog Storage Geek taking off (447 followers yay!), my sewing space finally being workable, my handmade goods shop looking more and more like a reality, blogger relations (Think sew alongs, read alongs and giveaways!)on the rise oh yeah, and you know, family life I have been kept very busy. And loving it. I forgot how much I thrive in a packced schedule. That old adage "I do my best work under pressure." well that is me in a nutshell. My adage is "If I can't put it off until the night before than it is not worth doing!" (Kind of.) But, during my lull that was December through February I had been saving ideas on my computer, scratching out rudimetary designs in my notebook(s) and gathering my supplies.

Photo Credit: Honestly...WTF
Inspired by this fabulous electric blue zippered leather clutch back in February I have been dying to make one but my leather stash was lost in the move. (No joke, I had a giant soft red leather coat I bought at a thrift shop just vanish in the move it made me very sad.) One day I remembered the faux croc skin vinyl place mat I bought at a dollar store. I had one of those a-ha! moments and now you can share in my joy.

And this is what I made. I made the black and red one last week and used it all weekend as my purse. I made the brown and teal one for the tutorial. Now, making a clutch from a place mat is not necessarily tutorial material, but sewing with vinyl is and also my clutches have no bottom seam, I folded it over which made the zipper sewing a bit tricky. So when you come back looking for the tutorial it will be listed under the techniques section on my tutorial page.

Ok, I think I said the word tutorial enough, lets get on with it!

Vinyl place mat (Or leather piece)
Zipper (A little longer than the short end of your place mat)
Matching thread
Painter's masking tape (Super low tack)

Modus Operandi

Line tape up with short edge of place mat.I would tell you to do this to both ends now but with the low tack tape it will come off before you get to the second side.

Now it is time to sew the place mat to the zipper wrong side of mat to top side of zipper. Using a straight stitch foot line up tape edge with inside edge of foot. keep them as close as possible while sewing. 


See? Nice clean (approx) 1/8" seam.

When you remove the tape, tear it in half and slowly tear up from the bottom. This makes the seam act like a perforated seam so that you do not rip out your stitching. Same goes with the top half piece of tape, slowly tear downwards to remove it.

MMm, nice clean edge. No fancy zipper foot needed here!


Now you are going to repeat steps 1 - 3. Because we did not cut the place mat in half we were not able to sew down both sides of the zipper with ease. So when you go to sew the second side, make your zipper is open to the end and the watch the tails.

It is fairly easy until you get to the end of the mat/zipper and you notice that last inch is going to be super tricky, stop there. (Sorry for the blurry photo, I was trying to show how it gets bunched up.)

Pull the mat out and turn it around so that it looks like the picture above. Now you can finish that last inch without wrecking your (very unforgiving) vinyl or serious frustration.

Turn inside out. If you have a label to attach, now is a good time to add it in. I opened up an inch of the seam and sewed it closed before sewing the side seams.


Open zipper a couple inches. Now, line up the sides so that they are even at the zipper. You need to sew from the bottom up. Oh yes, I forgot to add tape the sides again, this time top and bottom because now there will be vinyl along the plate too. (I guess you could just tape the metal plate, that didn't occur to me until just now.)

 When you have sewn your side seams and you are happy, trim off zipper pieces.

Tadaa! Your newly fashioned oversized zippered clutch! What I really want is to make one of these with TWO place mats so that it is just huge. Unfortunately, the dollar store I bought the mats at was out of stock so I have to do some shopping around to find more.

And that is all she wrote folks. It has been a long time since I wrote and photographed a tutorial and it is not like riding a bike lol. Anyway, please feel free to ask me any questions I am more than happy to answer them. If they are tutorial related I'll respond here so that others can benefit from the answer.

I will definitely be linking!

 Made By You Mondays @ Skip to My Lou
Inspire Me Mondays @ Singing Three Little Birds
 Motivate Me Monday @ Keeping it Simple 
Making The World Cuter Monday @ Making The World Cuter
Tutorial Tuesday @ Hope Studios
Creative Share Wednesday @ The Trendy Treehouse
Idea Sharin' Wednesday @ Women Who Do It All
Whatever Goes Wednesday @ Someday Crafts
 We Did It Wednesday @ Sew Much Ado
Strut Your Stuff @ Somewhat Simple
Make It & Wear It @ The Train To Crazy
Weekend Wrap-Up Party @ Tatertots & Jello


Unknown said...

what a great project this placemat to clutch transformation, Melissa! thanks for sharing the how-to!

Anji* said...

Love your oversized purses Melissa!

Thanks for the tutorial.. I'm trying to get my head round the tape part, can you clarify, is the tape to stop the needle/foot slipping/gripping on the vinyl? Would you still use tape if sewing leather? (I am actually contemplating my first leather sewing project at the moment so it would be useful to know!)

Melissa said...

Thanks for the question Anji. Yes, the tape is to keep the foot from sticking to the vinyl.
I would try a scrap of leather first. Some is super soft and supple. This vinyl was super shiny and super sticky. If you can't get your stitching right, try tape but make sure you have a clear guide for where you are sewing. Leather (and vinyl) is very unforgiving!

Anne said...

This is such a cute clutch! I would never have thought to use a vinyl placemat. (Making me kick myself for not getting the yellow vinyl placemats I saw at an estate sale yesterday....)

I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Sew Bee It Clothier said...

Thanks for the wonderful tute! The painter's tape is brilliant!

Samantha said...

Amazing project. Great zipper foot hack.

Heather - said...

You would never know your clutch cost a buck to make! The faux croc skin is so cool!

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

Good Morning Melissa,

How great was that? Love the tutorial and I have loads of vinyl and vinyl coated fabric I can use. I also have a ton of leather and suede from my Salvation Macys.

Well done and thanks for sharing

Janet xox

Come visit me and enter to win a free Janet Hill Studios art will love her work!

Samantha said...

Great project! Mind if I ask what dollar store had those kind of placemats? Tx.

Mrs Sweetwater said...

taking a placemat and making a cute clutch is absolutely Genius.

obtw, I'm from ya tumblr. can you imagine a tumblr on a regular blog.(side-eye). great blog and yes I did subscribe. hope to see you drop by.

Dawn said...

I have a question for you. I am making a purse and have some vinyl areas that need a topstitch. I used the masking tape. but when I went to tear the masking tape off it pulled up my stitches. Do you know what I am doing wrong?

Karen said...

What type of sewing machine do you use?
Very cool!

Unknown said...

How would you make this if you wanted to add a lining?

Emily said...

I just made a clutch very similar to this and couldn't do the "foldover" option because my brain couldn't wrap around sewing the second side of the zipper. I think you explained it clearer than the other tutorial I was using, so maybe I'll try again next time.

My question is, since we can't iron this type of vinyl, how can I make my seams nice and flat for gift-giving?

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