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I was absolutely thrilled when Sara asked me to participate in this year’s Purse Palooza – and immediately knew I wanted to make a wallet, since my old wallet had started dying in a big way. I decided to make the Necessary Clutch Wallet from Emmaline Bags. The reason I chose this one was that it ticked all the boxes in what I like in a wallet – plenty of card slots, a big zip-up coin pouch and a manageable size.
This pattern is rated as an intermediate pattern by Emmaline Bags – I think this is pretty accurate, although if you are a confident beginner sewist who is comfortable with curves you could definitely give it a shot. I haven’t made a huge number of bags, and I found this pattern very do-able. For me, the hardest part in making this clutch was cutting the right sized hole for the twist lock, but that was mostly because I didn’t have the right tools on hand. The only other tricky aspects are that there are curves to sew, the external flap is quite tricky to shape in a smooth curve, and at some points you are sewing through lots of layers.
Having said that, this pattern is EXTREMELY well written and has loads of photos of each step so that even the trickiest parts make sense. One thing I really loved about this pattern is that it is a quilter-friendly pattern – it uses 1/4″ seam allowances throughout.
The pattern clearly sets out what supplies are needed to make this clutch. The pattern suggests 1/4 yard for both the exterior and lining – although I used fat quarters in both cases which worked really well. I deviated slightly from the pattern requirements when choosing my fabric for this project. It calls for quilting cotton, but I chose to use a Melody Miller cotton/linen blend for the exterior which is more a home decor weight than quilting weight. For the lining, I used Kona cerise, and for the card slots and pocket I used more Melody Miller cotton/linen blend (although these were a much lighter weight than the exterior fabric). The cotton/linen worked fine, although I think sewing up the sides of the wallet (see photo below) would have been a bit easier with quilting cotton.
The pattern calls for Shapeflex for most of the interfacing – this stuff is quite hard to find locally, so I ordered mine from So Chick Handbags on Etsy (this was before I realised that Sara has a really great post covering interfacing replacement options on her blog. Whoops.) The pockets and card slots are interfaced with a light weight fusible interfacing. The pattern recommends interfacing the front flap border with a heavy interfacing such as Pellon Peltex ultra firm stabiliser. Pellon products are really hard to find in Australia, so I used a piece of very heavy fusible interfacing I had on hand and it worked fine. The pattern also suggests using double sided tape – I didn’t have this on hand, but it would certainly make attaching the flap border piece easier and would definitely use it next time.
The twist lock is one of my favorite features of this clutch – they are available from the Emmaline Bags website. Apart from cutting the hole through all the flap layers, it was incredibly easy to install and is a really sturdy lock.
I would strongly suggest using clover clips or similar rather than pins when constructing this wallet – I find I get virtually zero shifting when sewing together lots of layers when I use clover clips. Sewing up the sides of the wallet, you’re sewing through eight layers of fabric plus interfacing, so I’m not sure pins would be much help at all.
This is a very clever pattern – most of the way through I was wondering how it was all going to work to produce a rectangular wallet. But then it all comes together to produce a wonderfully useful clutch wallet. It has twelve card slots, a generous zip pouch, pockets behind the card slots for notes and a large divided section in the centre. It finishes up at 8″ wide by 4″ tall, and is surprisingly narrow (around 1″) considering how much room there is in it. Janelle also has a free tutorial for how to add a wrist or shoulder strap on her blog.
I have been using this for the last couple of weeks, and I simply love it. And I have plans to make another one pretty soon – my mum not-so-subtly suggested she would love one ;o)
Thanks so much for having me Sara! I know I have a few more bags on my ever-growing to-do list – I hope you all enjoy the rest of the series :o)