Confession: I love thrift stores.
I love finding old (and cheap) stuff and seeing if I can turn it into something awesome. (You can find another of my thrift store “treasures” here.)
A few months ago I was thrifting and I found this beaut:
Such a bee-you-teeful sequined bubble skirt! (I’m not knocking sequined bubble skirts. Really.)
It was $5.00 and I saw real potential in it! Sequined fabric AND lining? Score.
Wanna see what I made with it today?
A sequined clutch, just in time for the holidays!
I carry around a mommy-purse most of the time. I love my purse, but I wanted something a little less mommy-esque for evenings out with the hubster or my bestie. But I didn’t want to pay a lot. So converting this $5 skirt into a little bag fit the bill perfectly!
Converting the skirt was simple. I just made it the way you would any ol’ zippered pouch. Zippered pouches are easy. If you’ve never done anything with a zipper, this is a good place to start! There are probably hundreds of zippered pouch tutorials out there already, but if you don’t want to navigate to another page to find one, here’s mine:
(The lovely skirt from the inside)
First, I washed the skirt. Luckily it was machine-washable! Then I started by cutting into the skirt. If you do something similar, be sure to make your first cut near or on a seam. You’ll get more fabric that way.
To make a zippered bag, you’ll need four pieces: two outer fabric pieces, and two of a lining fabric. All four pieces should be the same size. The width of your pieces should also be the same as the whole length of your zipper, from end to end. (You don’t actually have to make the width match the length of your zipper, but it makes things easier and that’s what I did for this bag).
Here are my four pieces of fabric, two of the sequined fabric and two of the lining. They were 10 and 7/8 inches by 8 inches. (Note: for a “studier” clutch, consider adding some interfacing to the wrong side of your lining fabric. I didn’t do this because my outer fabric was sheer and you would have been able to see the interfacing through it.)
The width matches the zipper really well (I used a 9” zipper, by the way).
Now lay one piece of lining fabric right side up. Then put your zipper on top (with the zipper pull facing up), lining one edge up with an edge of your lining. The other edge of the zipper will be sitting on top of your lining piece, as you see above.
Now place your outer fabric, right side down, on top of the zipper, lining the edge up with the edge of your lining fabric and the zipper edge. The zipper is going to be sandwiched in the middle. So you have lining right side up, then zipper, facing up, then outer fabric, facing down (it’s hard to see with my fabric because everything is black).
Pin all three layers together: lining, zipper, outer fabric. You’re going to sew near the edge, making sure to sew all three layers.
Use a zipper foot for easier maneuvering around the zipper. Also, like with the Elsa dress, the fabric I was using was both stretchy and sheer. So I used a lightweight jersey needle (70/10).
Okay, go ahead and sew those three layers together! You want to sew somewhere in the middle between the zipper teeth and the edge. Too close to the zipper teeth and the fabric might get caught when you zip or unzip your bag. Too close to the edge and your seam might not hold. Don’t be nervous—just be careful!
When you’re done, this is how your piece will look on the front and the back.
Now, you’re going to repeat with the other two pieces of fabric. I like every step spelled out, so here you go:
Take your lining fabric, right side up. Put the zippered piece on top, so the zipper is right side up as well, and the unsewn edge of the zipper lines up with the edge of your lining fabric.
Lay your outer fabric right side down over the zipper. You’ll now have all four layers of fabric on top of each other, but just pin the unsewn lining edge, unsewn zipper edge, and unsewn out fabric edges together. Sew down near the edge of the zipper, same as you did before.
Ta-da! When you’re done and you lay it all out flat, this is how it should look! If you want, go ahead and top-stitch along the edge of the fabric, where it lays over the zipper fabric part. This is optional, but it does add a nice finished look to your work!
Here’s the back.
Hopefully at this point, your zipper should open and close nicely. For the next step, you need to have your zipper OPEN, so make sure you zip it open a little (halfway or so is good).
Now you’re going to fold your outer pieces of fabric so they are sitting one on top of the other, right sides together. Do the same with your lining fabric.
Oops! Here’s where I made a mistake. The zipper teeth should be pointed toward the lining side. What I normally do is just kind of lay one side of the zipper on top of the other, but the teeth should be turned turned toward the lining (NOT like you see in this picture, where the teeth are turned toward the outer fabric). I promised I’d show you my mistakes, did I not? Truthfully, I got caught up in the rush of trying to hurry with my project and take pictures and everything else, so I wasn’t paying attention. It still turned out okay, but it would have been better if I’d done it right. But now you won’t make the same mistake, right?
So pin your fabric all the way around, outer pieces right sides together and lining pieces together as well. You’re going to sew all the way around your piece, making sure to leave an opening in the lining big enough to turn your work right-side-out!
This is your big moment! Sew all the way around (leaving an opening, of course). Don’t be scared of sewing over the zipper. It is good to go slowly and be careful, of course, but I’ve sewn a number of zippers and I’ve yet to break a needle on one.
Once you’ve sewn all the way around, you’re almost done!
Turn your work right side out! (Zippered bags are funny, you turn them through the opening and then they also have to go through the zipper as well). You still have that opening, so slip-stitch it closed. Or you can just machine-stitch it, too. It’s the lining, so no one will know!
And guess what? You’re done!
Mine got a little lopsided, due in part to my earlier mistake. But really, who’s looking?
You can fold the top down, too, if you like that look!
My phone, keys, sunglasses, and favorite lip gloss. I’m good to go! (I should probably throw my driver’s license and some money in there, too.) What will you put in yours?
The exciting thing is that I still have about 2/3 of my skirt left, so I’m busy scheming what else I can make with it!
Mommy is ready for a night out!
Have fun sewing!