Turn around and make it a singalong

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Pattern: Gathered Clutch Tutorial by Noodlehead
Fabric: Miscellaneous cotton from Hancock Fabrics

Yes, it has been a long time since I sewed. My excuse has been that my sewing area isn’t completely set up. It’s lacking a swing magnifier lamp, a tabletop ironing board … I looked for those things occasionally, but didn’t find the perfect one.

Then I read a piece in my Craft Wisely class about adhocism — the philosophy of “making do” instead of waiting for the perfect solution. And the urge to sew in my imperfect sewing corner, which was still a heck of a lot more perfect than the dining room table I was using before, came over me. So without a light, with the big ironing board I lugged in from the laundry room, I sat down to sew.

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And not just to sew. To try something new. I made gathers. They aren’t perfect, but I get the concept now — baste across, pull the top thread carefully, distribute the gathers over the fabric, try to keep the piece square (I did poorly on that last part).

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I put in a zipper. Oh, this frightened me, friends. Putting in a zipper meant (1) figuring out which foot in my ancient box of ancient Singer featherweight feet was the zipper foot; (2) deciphering how to get the presser foot off and put the zipper foot on; (3) learning to use a zipper foot. It’s hard to say which of those I feared most, but most of my nightmares involved the last. You know what? It’s really easy. You just let the foot do the work of following the zipper teeth. Trust the foot.

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I even shortened the zipper (as all the patterns say, following package directions). I put fabric tabs on both ends (again, poorly — keeping the tabs inside the side seams was my biggest challenge, and it’s because I made the zipper a little too long and the external pieces a little too short due to uneven gathering). The part I was most scared of was the part that unfolded most organically, with the most elation.

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I made credit card holders and a divider pocket. I sewed the card holders on the wrong side of the lining fabric. In my defense, in the tutorial the lining fabric looks the same on both sides, and visualizing where wrong-side and right-side are going to end up is still all mumbo-jumbo to me, so I thought putting it on the wrong side might be right. If that makes any sense.

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Card pockets on wrong …

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Divider pocket on right.

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Here’s the back side. For all its flaws, this little clutch purse represents a significant uptick in my skills. My stitching is straighter, my seam allowances more even. I reminded myself how to do the basic things (I hadn’t even threaded my machine since May), and forged forward to some advanced-basic skills.

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The next one is going to be even better.

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2 Comments on “Turn around and make it a singalong”


  1. It’s gorgeous! I’m so glad you took the plunge and tried some new things. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling? Can’t wait to see what you sew next.


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