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10 June 2010

Pool Clutch Tutorial

We are so blessed to have a neighborhood pool. Maren has learned to love the water, and asks me every morning to put on her bathing suit. I have quickly learned to streamline our 'packing' for when we go to the pool. It's amazing how many things go into our bag for a couple of hours! Inevitably by the end of our time, several wet items end up back in our bag. I also grew tired of digging through a bag full of stuff to find money for a snack, keys to drive home, my cell phone, etc. This is what I came up with to remedy these issues. I wanted to use cheap materials, something semi-waterproof on the outside, and fun colors. If you take frequent trips to the pool or beach this summer, try out this little project! It's quick, easy, and effective!

*Before you begin: The types of materials used in this project are not conducive to the use of straight pins. If you use pins other than in the mentioned way, your finished project will have visible pin holes. Be warned!

You will need:
  1. zipper (I used a 7 in. zipper, and it was the perfect size if you use my suggested dimensions)
  2. thread
  3. clear vinyl (if you want an ID pocket)
  4. some type of waterproof fabric (I used a piece of tablecloth vinyl...if you'd like to spend more, oilcloth or laminated fabric would also be nice, and maybe a bit more long-lasting)
  5. ribbon
  6. a key-ring or swivel clip

1. Cut your fabric to your desired size. (My clear ID pocket is 4.5 in. x 3 in. and the patterned pieces are 8 in. x 6 in. I wanted my clutch to be large enough for some cash, my phone, keys, lip-gloss, and my husband's wallet if he joins us.)

2. Prepare ribbon for swivel clip. I layered 2 pieces for interest. Your ribbon should be appx. 3 in. long.

3. Stitch along the edges of the layered ribbons on each side.

4. Thread the ribbon through the swivel hook, and sew to one piece of the vinyl. Do not use straight pins to secure the ribbon...just hold the ribbon as straight as possible. Make sure your hook and ribbon are positioned just like the picture before you sew!

5. Carefully pin your zipper and one piece of vinyl together: right-sides-together. If you keep your pins to the top edge of the zipper, the pin holes will be covered with stitching.

6. Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine, stitch along the outer edge of the zipper/vinyl.

7. Next, run a second row of stitching right along the zipper. Your zipper foot will help you to stay nice and close to the zipper.

8. This is what your project should look like at this point:

9. Next, using the same method as step 5, pin the other piece of your vinyl to the other side of the zipper. When the project is pinned and flat, the bottoms of the vinyl will not line up. This is ok! It just allows for the extra bit of length added by the zipper. Sew this side the same as you did the other.

10. Now, this is what you will see when you open up the piece:

11. Stitch down the seam of the zipper on each side like this:

12. This is how the stitching should look:

13. Line up the bottoms of the sides, and stitch together. Be sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end. Note: I allowed for close to a 1/2 in. seam allowance, because I didn't want the stitching to be prone to pulling out.

14. Before you sew the sides together, fold the zipper right-sides-together and pin. (Be sure not to pin the vinyl!) It's also helpful to un-zip the zipper about 1/2 way. This will make it easier for you to turn the project right-side-out after the sides are sewn.

15. Sew the sides, being sure to back-stitch at the top and bottom.

16. To add a bit of strength to the seams, I zig-zagged around the edges before trimming off excess fabric. I chose not to use a lining, so these edges will be raw inside the clutch.

17. Carefully turn the clutch right-side-out, and admire your finished project! OR...

18. Cut a piece of coordinating thread to add an ID pocket. (I used a single-strand of DMC thread, which ended up being doubled after threading and knotting on the needle)

19. Carefully stitch the clear, vinyl piece to one side of the clutch using a stitch of your choice. Remember to be CAREFUL when stitching...if you make a mistake, the hole from the needle will show! I used a large stitch so the vinyl wouldn't tear and because I wanted a little added drama!

20. Finished clutch, take 2:
I wave my ID card in front of a sensor to open the pool gate, and the clear pocket allows me to do so without removing my card. I added a big key-ring to a strap on my pool bag, and clip this little clutch right to it.

I'd love to see your own version of the clutch if you make one!

Happy sewing, and happy swimming!

Linking to:

Join us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap up party!UndertheTableandDreaming


  1. Great idea and so timely as pool season arrives!

  2. Everyone needs a little pouch like this! I've never sewn a zipper before but I think I'm gonna try it... wish me luck! : ) coming to you from T&J - have a great weekend!

  3. I love the bold fabric! The tutorial makes it look so easy. I'm definitely trying this one. We're bound to have some sunny weather eventually so I might actually be able to use something like this!!

  4. I love this and can't wait to make one!

  5. Oh how clever! This is a fantastic idea! great tutorial! Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase! I greatly appreciate it! Hope you have a wonderful week! ~ Stephanie Lynn