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Sisterhood Matching Bag

I hate wasting fabric. I just do, I try and cut out as frugally as I can to limit it but sometimes it really is just very unavoidable. A big offender when it comes to this is circular skirts. It’s the nature of cutting circles that means inevitably there will be some big sections of fabric that are left unused, especially when you’ve been having to pattern match as well.

This is what got me to this particular project, a desire to use those Fabric scraps from my Circle Skirt Project to make something beautiful… so I found myself making a clutch bag.

I used this Prym Bag Frame in antique brass. At 23cm wide it’s a really nice size, but I was quite surprised at the incredibly limited instructions that were included. They consist of a pattern that isn’t to scale, and 9 lines of directions that I couldn’t make sense of. So after a little bit of googling and a lot of fiddling around with paper I managed to establish that what I needed to create was a fabric envelope that was a lot larger than the frame in order for it to work properly.

The idea behind the maths is you want the top opening of your fabric to be the full width of the frame, plus the length of both the sides. 23+7.5+7.5 = 38cm. How tall you want your bag is of course your decision, I chose for it to be 14cm tall so after adding a 1cm seam allowance this is what I cut out…

2 rectangles outer fabric 40x16cm

1 rectangle of lining fabric 40x30cm

1 rectangle of thin wadding 40x30cm

The reason I needed 2 rectangles of outer fabric was because of the directional print. I didn’t want my ladies to be upside down on one side. It also made it easier to find scraps big enough to be able to get the measurements. I spent quite a long time deciding where I wanted my ladies to sit on the bag, and how many I could fit on each side. The fussy cutting I did was well worth it though as they would have looked really odd it the tops of the heads had been cut off.

The wadding is optional, you could use a lightweight interfacing instead, I just liked the extra body it gave the finished bag.

I sew’d the 2 outer rectangles together to create a large rectangle that is now the same size as the lining and wadding. With the wadding on the wrong side of the outer fabric I pinned the lining to it along the 2 longer edges (right sides together), before then folding it so these seams were on top of each other and sewing up the sides (leaving a gap in the lining for turning).

I then cut out 2cm squares from all 4 corners. Folded each cut corner flat and sew’d across the straight edge created. This forms a lovely flat bottom to the bag (and is optional, but I like the look it gives it).

Turn the bag the right side out and then sew up the hole in the lining.

All that’s left is now to hand stitch it to the frame. To do this, open the frame out and place it on top of the bag you have sewn. The fabric gets sewn to the outside of the frame, and I tacked mine in place (in red thread so I could see it easily to remove later) first to make sure that I had it right as pinning is almost impossible because of the metal you’re stitching too.

The side seams of your bag should line up with the hinges on the frame.

There are holes in the frame to sew through, I used 2 strands of thread and backstitched them together.

The white thread I used isn’t hugely noticeable when done, but if you were using a fabric you’d struggled to get a very good colour match on you could add a trim over the top like I have here to disguise it even more. I liked the look the black trim gave the bag, it certainly finished it off nicely.

Now I obviously still have some scraps left over, that was always an inevitability. I do now however have a beautiful skirt with matching bag and all out of just 2 meters of fabric. I’m confident that the few bits I have left will get used up but the next quilt I make anyway, the ladies are just so beautiful that once fussy cut into squares they’ll make a wonderful addition to a quilt.

Thanks for reading,

Clare @sewmamabear

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