This instructable is about recycling an old men's suit into a clutch.
This project is a nice way to give beloved but unused clothes a new purpose. You could use it to breath new life into an outgrown graduation suit - or make a clutch for your mother made of your fathers wedding suit...
If you don't own old suits but urgently need a Suit Clutch - check your local thrift-shop for outdated suits. They are usually quite cheap and often in surprisingly good shape.
You can use just one suit for a monochromatic clutch or mix lapel and sleeve of two different suits to get a bi-colored result.
I can't give any pattern to this project as every suit differs in size and proportions - but it's a fun creative process to play around with the parts and to find a nice design - and this instructable may guide you through the process. Or maybe it inspires you to come up with a new idea on your own.
I think this project is suitable for intermediate seamsters and seamstresses. You should have made a simple lined purse or bag before and be familiar with basic sewing techniques as I won't go into every little detail in this ible.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- 1 chest part of an old suit
- 1 sleeve of an old suit
Don't cut away the lining of your suit parts.The original lining will be used as lining for the clutch.
The chest part of suits often comes with reinforcing layers of fabric between outer fabric and the lining. Keep these intact as they'll give your clutch some stability. Most likely there will be a shoulder pad added as well, you should take it apart.
- Fusible interfacing (the thicker the better, when I took the pictures for this ible I used rather thin interfacing but compensated this by using two layers of it.)
- Thread in a matching color
- Sewing machine
- Iron (I hate ironing my clothes and almost never do it, but for completing a sewing project I really enjoy using an iron. It makes it much easier to get strait edges. Watch out to use the right temperature for the kind of fabric your suit is made of)
- Hand sewing needle – there are a few parts of this clutch that are easier sewn by hand than with the sewing machine.
- Tailor's chalk
- Fabric scissors
I played with the pieces and folded them in different ways to get an idea how the clutch could look like until I found a size and position to my liking. (I had only limited options as the chest part (a leftover piece from another project) was rather small and therefore determined the size of the clutch.)
I placed the sleeve in a way that presents the buttons in a nice way and determined the length of the clutch with tailors chalk. (I added seam allowance as well)
I cut the sleeve open (the outer fabric and the lining)
As I wanted the clutches base to be rather symmetric I marked the upper end parallel to the bottom and cut off the spare fabric.
I unfolded the sleeve and ironed it.
Then I folded the lining to the side and placed a piece of fusible interfacing on the inside of the outer fabric. The interfacing had about the size of the sleeve minus the seam allowance. I ironed the interfacing on (actually I did it twice as I used rather weak interfacing)
Then I folded the interfacing underneath the outer fabric (so the right side of the lining and the right side of the outer fabric face each other. I tried to visualize this step with the red arrow in the second picture...)
I secured the outer fabric and lining with pins and top stitched as shown in the pictures.
I turned the fabric so the right side of outer fabric and lining are on the outside again. I ironed the new seams flat.
The side which is still "open" (lining and outer fabric aren't sewn together) is where the lapel part is going to be inserted later.
For the lid I cut back the original interfacing in the width of the seam allowance.
I folded the seam allowance of the outer fabric to the inside and ironed.
I folded the seam allowance of the lining to the inside and ironed it as well.
I top stitched close to the edge to connect outer fabric and lining.
Before I finished the other side of the lid I placed the lid piece again on the corpus and determined the new edge.
I marked the edge with chalk and cut off the surplus fabric but kept the seam allowance.
Like on the other edge I folded in the outer fabric and ironed it.
And also folded in the lining and ironed again.
I top stitched the edge to close it - but the actual lapel part was bit to thick for the sewing machine so I hand sewed this part.
Then I connected the corpus part and the lid part.
I folded the seam allowance of the outer fabric to the inside and ironed it. Then I pinned the lid part to it and top stitched them together. While I sewed this part I took care not to catch any parts of the lining of the corpus (I pinned the lining away).
I sewed the corpus' lining to the lid's lining by hand.
Then I finished the corpus part by top stitching the sides and the clutch was basically finished.
But since I wanted to add some kind of closure I added a button and a buttonhole to the clutch. It isn't the fanciest closure on this earth - but a very budget friendly :)
I used an original button of the suit and placed the buttonhole underneath the lapel. And voilà - the clutch was finished.
I hope this instructable inspired you to make your own suit clutch - or gave you some new ideas what to do with old clothes!
btw Pieces like this are not only Eco-friendly they actually are quite useful conversation starters. I made a messenger bag in this kind of style and often people on the street start talking to me because of the bag. And the reactions were quite positive so far. Some people just compliment it and ask if I made it myself - some, especially elder people, start telling me how resourceful they've been themselves when they where young and had no money. It's fun!