Sew an Easy Handmade Clutch

Whip up this DIY clutch purse in a flash.

Welcome to chronicles of my scraps stash. If you’re looking to sew a quick and easy handmade clutch, you’re in the right place. Here’s the time-saving method I use when I need a quick hidden zipper clutch. It uses one panel of fabric and you won’t need a paper pattern. Larger clutches need heavier interfacing to maintain structure. But if you’re using medium weight fabrics, and sewing smaller clutch purses, you can omit the interfacing. That's not so in every case. If you’ve read any of my earlier sewing posts, you’ve probably guessed I’ll mention decorator fabrics; with good reason. They’re pretreated for stains; and considering all the handling handbags and purses go through, that’s a welcome bonus. They also come in widths of 54 to 60 inches. As clutch purses require small amounts of fabric – winning.


Shout it Out

Add a touch of lively to your DIY clutch purse by using large scale florals and bold prints.


Tools and Materials

Sewing machine

Decorator fabric or other medium weight fabric

Matching or (contrasting) lining of equivalent size

Medium weight, interfacing; necessary if using lightweight fabrics or making larger purses

Matching or contrasting zipper and sewing thread

Pins: those with bead heads are easier to see and handle

Needle and thimble for hand sewing; thimbles are useful to push needles through layers of heavier weight fabrics

Dressmaker’s chalk pencil, ruler, tape, scissors or rotary cutter

Seam ripper: handy when you make mistakes.

Iron, ironing board or padded work surface


Outer bag panel: The exterior fabric of the clutch.

Baste: A temporary stitch by machine or hand.

Backstitch: Stitch forward and backward more than once at the beginning and ends of seams. It prevents seams from unraveling.

Notch: Cut out or remove fabric bulk in seam allowance so seams lay flat.

Preparation and Cutting

Pre-wash all washable fabrics and press on wrong sides before cutting. Measure and cut fabric the same width as the length of your zipper tape. My zipper is 11” from end to end. As a result, I cut my fabric 11” wide. To calculate the length of fabric you need, add the desired height/depth of your finished clutch–front and back plus 4 ½ inches. For example: If you want a clutch that’s 7 inches high/deep, cut your fabric and interfacing 18 ½ inches long; that’s 7 + 7 + 4 ½ inches.


Use a ½” seam allowance and backstitch twice at the ends of zipper and stitched seams.

Step 1. Measure cut and interface fabric: fuse or stitch interfacing to outer bag panel. The length of your zipper determines the width of your fabric (Below left). If you’re making a larger purse, you may want to interface your lining as well. It’s okay to use a lighter weight interfacing on your lining.

Step 2. Press folds at short ends: At short one end of interfaced fabric, make a 1 ¾ inch fold toward wrong side and press; repeat on other end (Below center).

Step 3. Measure and cut lining: Cut lining 2 inches longer than the space between folded edges of outer bag panel (Below right).


Step 4. Position zipper on exterior fabric: Place and line up zipper tape to edge of folded outer bag panel, right sides together ; hand or machine baste. (below left)

Step 5. stitch zipper tape between fabrics: Place lining right side facing wrong side of zipper; baste and stitch. (Below center). Open zipper and repeat on other side.

Right side view of zipper stitched on both sides, between outer bag panel and lining (Below right).


Step 6. Trim and notch seams and folds: Make notches at folds and seams before sewing. This eliminates bulk in the finished folds (Below, second from left).

Step 7. Stitch seams in exterior panel: With zipper open, line up notches and stitch ½ inch seams along one side from outer bag panel to lining; stitch other side, leaving a 5 - 6 inch opening (Below, third from left).

Heavier, firmer fabrics need wider openings to minimize wrinkling when turning over.


Step 8. Sew folds at seams: Working on the wrong side, at the point where lining meets edge of folds, turn fold downward; it will form what looks like a triangle. Hand-sew top seam to side seams; use a loose tack that allows fabric to move. (See image below).

hand-tack-folded-over-seams-wrong-side (9)

Sew Folds at Seams

At seam allowances, where the lining is stitched to the edge of pressed folds, turn folds downward and hand-sew to corresponding seams.


Step 9. Sew lining shut: Sew opening in lining shut; you may do this by hand or with a sewing machine.

Step 10. Turn over and press: Push lining toward inside, turn bag right side out and press with a cloth if needed. (See image below).


Happy sewing! I hope you got some tips to help you create your best DIY clutch purse in quicker time. And when you do, I’d love to see it.

As always, thank you so much for dropping in; be well.

If the Lord will; see you next time.