Learn how to make a cute and stylish clutch purse using oilcloth fabric, which makes your design not only extra durable but also water resistant. Oilcloth comes in a wide variety of prints and colors so it can be fun to play around with different combinations for the exterior and lining fabrics of the clutch, or you could use the same for each if you prefer.
Here are the materials you’ll need to complete this project:
½ yard oilcloth for exterior
½ yard oilcloth for interior
All seam allowances are ¼” throughout the pattern, except where noted.
Step 1: Cut your fabric to the following dimensions:
• One 7” x 11” piece for back (from exterior fabric)
• One 7” x 18 1/2” piece for front (from exterior fabric)
• Two 1” x 1” pieces for zipper tabs (from exterior fabric)
• Two 7” x 11” pieces for lining (from interior fabric)
Step 2: To sew the tab pieces to the zipper, place the tabs at the edge of each zipper end and topstitch into place.
Step 3: Now we’ll draw pleat lines on the exterior fabric. Find the longer of the two exterior pieces, flip it over, and grab a pencil and a ruler. Starting 1” in from the left edge, draw your first line from top to bottom. Then, draw another line .5” to the right of the first line. Then, draw a third line 2” from the second line. Continue drawing lines all the way across alternating between .5” and 2”.
Step 4: Starting at the second line you drew, fold the fabric over right on that line and finger press it.
Step 5: Now, fold it back to the left on the first line. This will hide the .5” space you drew and give you a pleat! Pin it at the top as shown.
Step 6: Continue in this manner until all the pleats are folded and pinned.
Step 7: Now we’re going to stay stitch the pleats you’ve created. To make life easier, edge stitch down both pleated sides to keep them steady.
Step 8: This bag is going to have a gusset on the side, and the pleats sometimes come unfolded where the gusset turns the front side. So, we are going to measure up 2” from the bottom edge, draw a line across the pleats, and stay stitch along that line too.
Step 9: Now we’re going to get the zipper in place. Place the zipper face down on the top edge of the pleated front exterior (the stay stitch across the front should be 2” from the bottom edge). Pin into place.
Step 10: Grab a lining piece and match its edge along the edge of the zipper, right sides together. Pinch where the current pin is, remove the pin, and then replace the pin through all three layers: exterior, zipper, and lining.
Step 11:Using your zipper foot and an approximately ¼” seam, stitch through all three layers, moving the zipper head by reaching between the layers and unzipping it to get it out of the sewing path.
Step 12: Press both oilcloth pieces away from the zipper, and finger press them down with your hands. (Don’t iron!) Then topstitch along the edge of the zipper to keep both pieces in place.
Step 13: Repeat these steps with the other lining piece, the smaller exterior piece, and the other raw edge of the zipper. You will have what looks like a zipper with wings!
Step 14: Now we’ll work on sewing the exteriors and linings together. Fold the panels over so the front right sides are together, and the lining right sides are also together. (Hint: Open the zipper halfway to get the zipper head out of the way!)
When matching the front sides together, make sure the top stitching on each side of the zipper matches perfectly. This will leave the extra zipper tape on the inside folded toward the lining side.
Step 15: You will be leaving an opening unsewn in the bottom of the lining so the entire thing can be turned inside out. On the opposite end, make an X with a pen in the middle of the bottom of the front panels.
Starting on one edge of the lining hole (marked with an A in the picture), do a little backstitch, and sew all the way along the edge of the bag, using a ¼” seam. Sew to the X on the opposite end and stop there.
Now start again on the other end of the hole in the lining (marked with a B in the picture). Backstitch, then sew again along the edge of the back, driving OVER the stitching near the X you made in the previous step to complete it, and THEN backstitch. This makes the zipper lay better!
Step 16: Now we’ll make the gussets. Pinch in each corner (on both corners of the exterior and both interior) so the side and bottom seams are right on top of each other. You can verify they are aligned by using a pin.
Measure down the seam 1 1/2” from the tip of the corner and make a mark. Then, draw that line horizontally across the entire corner.
Step 17: Sew right down each line you drew on both corners of the exterior and the lining.
Step 18: Next trim the extra off each corner, and turn the bag right side out.
Step 19: Lastly, match the edges of the lining, pin, and topstitch across to close the hole in the lining.
Zip up your new clutch, and enjoy!
If you liked this project or enjoy working with oilcloth, check out these other fun projects to try: