Friday, August 16, 2013

How to Make a Clutch Purse to Meet New NFL Stadium Rules

I am an art quilter. I am not a seamstress by any stretch… and I have never made a purse before. But I also happen to be a big NFL fan – hey, I’m from Texas – and this presented me with a recent fan-girl wardrobe dilemma!

The +NFL changed their rules this year so that no purses are allowed in the stadium other than clutch bags 4.5 x 6.5 inches – so, what’s a fan to do? Well, make one, of course.
Here it is. 
This bag meets the new NFL security requirements regarding purses in stadiums this year.
I purchased this fabric from +JoAnn’s.  At my JoAnn’s, they keep the NFL fabric behind the counter, by the way. Apparently people steal it – whole bolts of it. How do you walk out of a retail store with a whole bolt of fabric? C'mon, people, really?  Anyway, the nice people at JoAnn’s have everything you need – take a coupon. Their coupons are fantastic.
First, I made my own pattern. I made a simple rectangle 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches and slightly tapered the top inwards. I added ½ inch all the way around the pattern for seam allowances. Then I fussy cut the fabric (that is fancy talk that means: cut the fabric in the best way to show the picture/logo/pattern in your final design – don’t just cut a random square without thinking it through how it will look).  I also curved the bottom edges.  You will need 2 panels – one for each side of the purse. Tip: Make sure you don’t cut one of them upside down.

If you want to line your purse, cut 2 panels same size for the lining. I used a blue cotton to offset the white/blue fabric.
Second, cut a strip about 3 inches by  thelength around the bag - plus seam allowances on top. This will be the bottom / side panel connecting the 2 sides. Cut a second one the same size for the lining. These need to taper in – at least ½ inch on each side. Start the taper about 2 to 3 inches from the top of the bag.

Third, I used a soft but firm (I know that sounds ridiculous) stabilizer inside my clutch to give the bag a professional shape and keep my stuff (i.e. my smart phone) padded. The stabilizer I used is By Annie, called Soft and Stable. Not particularly cheap, but works really well and makes the difference between that homemade look and something that will make you happy!  It is a good idea to sew the stabilizer to the lining before you assemble the bag – if you don’t secure it, your lining will get all bunched up inside... and that will not make you happy.  You can use a traditional quilt batting for your interior padding, but it kind of sags. Maybe in such a small purse, it won’t matter though. I’m sure they have lots of stabilizer options at JoAnn’s or even WalMart.  I just found this stuff from By Annie and really like it.

Anyway, last step is to assemble stabilizer to the lining and sew it together. Then assemble the outside parts together. Double check your work to make sure you have the right sides and wrong sides together.

Stuff the lining inside the purse.
Install a zipper using your favorite method. I don’t have a method since this was in fact, the VERY FIRST ZIPPER I ever installed! Not kidding. Not a lot of call for zippers in art quilts! Thank you YouTube!
I bought a 7 inch jeans zipper (WalMart, only $1.50) and attached it using the “exposed” zipper method. I am no expert – so go to YouTube and search “how to sew an exposed zipper” there. Something about that exposed part doesn’t sound quite right, does it?

Last thing is the strap. I made mine a cross-body strap.  I cut a 2 inch strip of fabric. Used a bias maker to fold over the insides toward each other, then folded it again by hand and ironed it all down. Then sewed a top stitch to secure it.
Oh, and one more thing, if you want a pocket for your smart phone – sew that on BEFORE you sew on the stabilizer and before you put it in your final purse.  I used a very sophisticated (haha) method to make my pocket – I got my smart phone, laid in on the table, and laid a piece of fabric over it to measure. Then I cut it, folded over the edges twice to make tiny seams, ironed the seams down, and sewed it to the lining.  Be sure to make the pocket slightly bigger than your phone so you can get your fingers in and out of the pocket.
Last step is to top stitch all around the top edge (this is a bit tricky with the zipper – but you can figure it out.) Be sure to insert your strap inside the seams before you finish off the top stitch. I also used the secure stitch option on the straps to give them extra protection.
And finally, the NFL rules say you have to have all bags INSIDE a clear plastic bag to enter the stadium. I plan to fold up a gallon Ziploc bag to put the clutch in temporarily while I go through security.
This little clutch is big enough to carry my phone, keys, money, tissues, lipstick, and some Tylenol (hey, it’s gets LOUD in there and sometimes it hurts my head!)…
Are you ready for some football?  I am! Go Texans!