Upcycled Zippered Clutch

Handmade upcycled zippered clutch

It all started when Elise posted a sneak peek for her 29 handmade clutches for sale this month. I instantly wanted one…they are beautiful and unique…and made by Elise (she’s totally inspiring!) And then I realized that I don’t own a single clutch…have never carried one…don’t know if I would even like carrying one…and probably shouldn’t spend that kinda dough on something I may never use… but they were soooo gorgeous that for a few long gazing (possibly drooling) moments I forgot about all of that.

Meanwhile, in the real world, I have been going through our closets, purging more clothes that I always keep but never wear, and have been thinking about the idea of a minimalistic capsule wardrobe inspired by this awesome blog from Caroline when I got the idea to attempt my own clutch from clothes in the “donate” pile.

The great thing about using material from pre-worn clothes is that they have been washed and dried numerous times and have stood the test of time so I know they aren’t going to fall apart…you get what you see. And they are essentially “free”. I pulled a pair of Nate’s khaki pants and my striped shorts that are too small from the pile.

I couldn’t find anything in our pile that I loved for the lining so I bought two fat quarters and a blue 20″ zipper from Joanne’s.

I created my own pattern using some thin cardboard (you know the stuff that comes in the photo envelope from Costco when you order large prints?) My pattern size was 11-1/4 x 14-1/4. I cut two pieces of cardboard to that size and then decided how much of each outer color I wanted and cut the other cardboard piece in two for the outside pattern.

After that I loosely followed this tutorial to help me install my FIRST ever zipper and put the whole thing together.

I had to fiddle with the zipper after everything was said and done to get it to look right and to keep it from popping off but in the end I think it looks pretty good for a first timer and it’s completely functional…I need to find a zipper expert to give me some tips on the exact installation process and I’ll be golden.

  Gisele's handmade upcycled zippered clutch

I am SO happy with how it turned out! It’s neutral on the outside with a pop of happiness on the inside. Honestly, I can’t stop looking at it and I’m so excited that I created a piece that I feel confident carrying into public. I took it out for a spin on Saturday in the pouring rain and it was awesome. I’ve never been the kind to switch purses based on outfits…I basically carry a purse until it dies, but I feel like a clutch is an easy way to throw a few essentials in a cute bag, switch it up a little and dress up my outfit when I wanna feel a little extra shnazzy. 🙂

I probably would have been over the moon happy if I had purchased one of Elise’s masterpieces but seeing as they sold out in less than 30 minutes of being listed, it’s super unlikely I would have been quick enough to get one anyways. I’m pretty happy with my decision to upcycle some old clothes into my new handmade clutch…and now I know, clutches are fun!

Gisele's handmade upcycled zippered clutch 4

This is only my 2nd official sewing project that I’ve finished and already I feel like I’ve improved…which is exciting! Here’s my first project where I sewed a pillow out of an old sweater. 🙂


Related articles

Sewing an Imperfect Pillow: A Very Unhelpful Tutorial
Caroline’s 37-Piece Capsule Wardrobe + Creative Process
September MAKE29 : behind the scenes.

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