The clutch purse is a small tailored stiffened handbag with a metal hinged-clasp or snap closure that has became the standard for business and special occasion activities. Clutch bag styling is often neat flat rectangles specifically designed to be carried in the hand because it has no handles. Leather clutches are most often cowhide leather or pigskin suede, but cloth purses could be of a colour and fabrication that complements a woman’s fashion ensemble.

Dimensions: approximately 6″ high / 12″ wide / 3/8″ deep with a 18″ [46 cm] optional carrying chain and fixed lining. [15 cm x 30.5 cm x 1 cm]

Construction Method: Turned-over finish – a finished edge is turned onto a stiffener to create the silhouette yet often is not used throughout the whole construction because of weaknesses in machine-stitching. Skiving the seam allowance pares down the thickness of leather, either all over or along an edge to reduce bulk and/or allow for turning. A fixed lining is used to cover the stiffener for added support and a neat appearance.

Material Used: embossed cowhide leather with gimp braid trim; 100% cotton bengaline lining

You will need:

  • 1/2 yd. [0.5 m] of metallic chain (optional)
  • 1 set of magnetic or dome snap fastener, ⅜” dia. [10 mm]
  • ½ yd. [0.5 m] of buckram, 54” wide [137 cm]
  • ½ yd. [0.5 m] of lining, 45” wide [115 cm]
  • ½ yd. [0.5 m] of fusible interfacing, 45” wide [115 cm]
  • ½ leather hide, approx. 2 sq.ft.
  • Flat braid trimming, approx. 8 ft.
  • Rubber cement glue
  • Double-sided mounting tape, ⅜” wide [10 mm]
  • 1 spool clear monofilament thread
  • 1 spool of nylon finishing thread
  • Kraft paper


Draw out a rectangle onto kraft pattern. Label A-B-C-D.

X = desired height of clutch bag.

A-B = 3 times the desired height.

A-C = 2 times the desired height for the width.

Divide the rectangle horizontally into 3 equal parts.

E-F is parallel to B-D.

B-E and D-F = 1.5” [38 mm].

Mark a flat trim placement around the perimeter of each section, as shown.

From each corner, measure across and down 1.5” [35 mm] to create a diagonal edge.

For symmetry, fold the rectangle in thirds and trace off each corner.

Find the midpoint of line E-F. Square up 1” [25 mm] from this point and draw a gentle shallow curve from trim end to trim end, as shown in draft.

Center snap closure location 1” [25 mm] below the curved edge. Fold the paper and use an awl to mark its location on top flap.

This is the FOUNDATION pattern piece.

Trace off foundation pattern (heavy solid line) onto kraft paper.

Add ½ “ [12 mm] seam allowance to the pattern piece.

This is the self pattern piece or SHELL.

Trace off the foundation pattern (heavy solid line) onto kraft paper.

Reduce the perimeter by 1/8”     [3 mm] all around the edges.

Trim away excess paper and trace out on kraft paper.

Add ½ “ [12 mm] seam allowance to the pattern piece.

This is the LINING pattern piece.

Draw a rectangle onto kraft paper.

Make the rectangle 7” [18 cm] long and 5” [12.5 cm] wide.

Add ½ “ [12 mm] seam allowance to the pattern piece.

This is the POCKET pattern.

Fold the pocket pattern in half and locate the pocket placement in the middle section of the lining pattern piece, as shown.


SHELL – cut 1X leather

FOUNDATION – cut 1X buckram

LINING – cut 1X lining

POCKET – cut 1X lining

INTERFACING – cut 1X fusible** (see assembly)

TRIM – cut 8 feet [2.5 m] in length or as needed.


  1. Iron fusible interfacing to back of lining fabric, following manufacturer’s directions.
  2. Mark out LINING pattern and cut out as one layer. Stay-stitch the curved edge of the lining.
  3. Turn under seam allowance on sides on patch pocket and press flat
  4. Fold pocket piece in half and align upside-down to pocket placement lines on lining portion. Stitch across “open” edge and trim seam allowance close to stitching. Flip the pocket “up” and stitch along the folded edges of the pocket side.
  5. Use the FOUNDATION pattern as a pressing template and turn under all lining seam allowances and press flat. Set aside.
  6. Punch a small hole at the locations of the snap fastener on the buckram stiffener. Set aside.
  7. Lightly chalk-mark outline of trim placement on FACE side of leather shell, as shown on SHELL pattern. Use double-sided mounting tape along the chalk marks to temporarily hold the trim in place. Using clear monofilament thread, topstitch flat braid trim to FACE side of leather on its upper and middle sections. Sew with long stitches so as to not perforate leather,  miter the braid trimming at outside corners, and turn under ends of braid to butt together. If leather is thick, skive (bevel) the leather edges prior to applying the trim (plastics can be skived but cannot be done as easily as leathers).
  8. Brush a thin layer of rubber cement glue to back of leather skin right to the edges. Set aside and allow adhesive to become tacky. If leather is thick, skive the leather.
  9. Repeat this step on back of buckram stiffener and place a metal cap for the “socket” portion of the snap fastener on the top part of the stiffener. Set aside to dry.
  10. Once the adhesive is tacky to the touch on both pieces, align and center the buckram to the leather with glued surfaces facing together. Allow glue to set.
  11. Next, brush a thin layer of rubber cement glue along the edge of buckram stiffener. (about ½” [6 mm] around the perimeter). Allow glue to become tacky.
  12. Turn the seam allowance on the straight edges of the leather, from the center out to the corner, is such a way as to “push the corners” together to form a miter. Trim away the excess material at each corner. On curved edge of leather, clip the seam allowance at regular intervals and turn over seam allowance onto stiffener. Place a heavy weight (I used a book) on the stiffened leather to set bond.
  13. Punch a hole in the leather at the snap fastener position on the lower curved section and place a metal cap on underside of bag. On FACE side of leather, attach “stud” portion of snap fastener onto metal cap, following manufacturer’s directions.
  14. Cover underside of leather and stiffener with the fixed lining. Being by using double-sided mounting tape to turned edges of the lining. Center and align lining edges to cover the turned edges of the leather and tape edges together. At the cap for the fastener, snip a tiny slit in lining and push metal post through material. Top-stitch lining to leather shell with long stitches using clear monofilament thread or under-stitch by hand if desired.
  15. Attach “socket” portion of snap fastener onto metal cap on bag lining, following manufacturer’s directions.
  16. Fold lower section of bag upward onto middle section. Align leather sides one on top of each other. Sew up back and front sides of leather together by hand using a ladder-stitch with nylon finishing thread or upholstery thread.
  17. On inside corners of bag lining (opening), hand-stitch metal chain (optional) to lining.


Filed under Design Ideas

22 responses to “CLUTCH PURSE

  1. Jo Ann

    Thank you for your impeccable instructions! Great bag!

  2. Just a gorgeous purse/clutch!
    I am a novice sewer but with such easy to follow instructions I will have to try it!

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  6. Nice work dear! You have done a great job. So cute clutch purse.

  7. Sara

    Can I use a stretch fabric instead of leather for the exterior of the clutch?

  8. Vidya

    I’m a beginner with leather craft. I would like to have a metal stamp design over the clutch. What glue or cement is good for binding metal and leather.

  9. Mishal

    You are doing a great job keep it up 🙂
    I got great inspiration from your work and thanks a lot for that 🙂
    Can you please give some instructions or tutorials on how to make the solid clutch purses. Ill be grateful to you 🙂

  10. Merilyn V Sobrepena

    Hi, Don. mvs here. Just wondering….shouldn’t point A-C be 2 times the desired height ( and not 2 times the desired width, as written). Thanks for this purse pattern! More power.

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