Black Spruce Hound

A Wisconsin Girl in the Woods, Knitting, Crafting, and Cooking. Also: Ugly Dresses.

July 21, 2014

DIY Leather Clutch

I'd been on the lookout for a clutch, preferably leather, for over a year. It was the usual problem-  too cheap (says the girl who picked up the pennies in the gas station parking lot yesterday because it feels wrong not to) to pay what a lot of retailers want for one, and I didn't want vinyl. It took an embarrassingly long time for me to think, hey dummy, make one yourself. 

For this project I bought:
- One 9 inch brass zipper (brass so it would stand out and look extra gangsta)
- A 12x24 inch piece of upholstery leather. I bought the leather from here on Amazon
- The fabric, interfacing, and thread were already stashed away in my sewing supplies. 

I am not so good with explaining sewing things and the putting the words into sentences thing, so here's the basic premise of this clutch - have you ever made a pillowcase? Or any type of case/pouch/bag where it's just a long piece of fabric folded in half with the sides sewn up? That's what this is. Make a lining for the leather, sew up the long sides, and turn it inside out to make a pouch. Attach a zipper, and that's that. 

For the most part I followed this tutorial from Say Yes. My biggest modification was that my leather was already in one long piece and I didn't want to cut it into two pieces just to have to sew it back together.

First I trimmed the leather to make sure all the sides were even. Then I ironed the fabric and cut it to the same size as the leather. Next, I attached some fusible interfacing to the fabric. That step was optional, but the interfacing helps stiffen the fabric up a bit and in turn stiffens the leather too, giving the clutch a bit more structure.  

I (very carefully as to not pierce the leather) pinned the fabric to the leather, wrong sides together.

Next, I put a heavy-duty needle on my sewing machine. Then, I folded the piece of leather in half and sewed up the two longer sides from the bottom to about 2-3 inches from the top, leaving the top open so I would have more room to work on the zipper.

(This is the portion of the program when you should ignore everything I say and follow a different tutorial. I should have put the zipper in first, then sewed the sides. It made things a smidge more difficult, but it's still doable.)

Once the sides were sewn up, it was easier to see what the final product would look like - turn that baby inside out and you've got a nice leather bag. 

The final step was to sew the zipper into the top. Which, again, I probably should have done first, but alas. It still worked out pretty well. I don't have any pictures of this, but it's fairly self-explanatory - you stick the zipper on and sew it in place. The zipper I had was shorter than the opening of the purse (the zipper was 9 inches, the top of the bag was nearly 11) so I just centered it and then sewed the gaps on both sides closed.

Aaaaand I love it. Holy moly. It's perfect for when I hit up thrift or antique stores - my everyday purse is gigantic and causes sore shoulders after about 20 minutes. With this, I can throw in a few essentials, tuck it under my arm, and out the door I go.

Obviously this could be made using any material if you have objections to leather. You could use vinyl or cotton or whatever else floats your boat. Just make sure to use a badass-colored zipper. 

See you later!

July 18, 2014

Photo Friday: Woodchuck

A non-bird Photo Friday. Mark it on the calendar.

A woodchuck! They're kind of cute in a beaver-y sort of way. 

I honestly think this was the first time I'd ever seen a woodchuck. Or the first time that I remember anyway. Who could forget a face like that?

Have a good weekend!

July 15, 2014

This Week in 1956

This may be more accurately titled 'Last Week in 1956' but we'll just get on this scooter and ride, shall we? 

Years ago while cleaning I came across a newspaper, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, from 1956. My grandma (presumably) was the one that saved it, and why she saved it I have no idea. Maybe she knew someone in one of the stories, maybe it was meant to be thrown out and never was. I've held onto it for a few years of my own and thought I'd finally put the darn thing up on the blog, as it's dated July 12th. Timely, except for the 58 year gap part.


Please read the advice given in this last picture. It's a hoot. 

I don't know if I'll put more pictures up, but fear not. If you see something that catches your eye, you can do a search for it on the Journal Sentinel website using the Historic Archive Search.

I'm just over here wishing I could pop into that Gimbels 3-Day Sale 58 years too late. 

See you later!

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