Placemat Purse/DIY Clutch in Half an Hour




About: Hi; I'm Andrea. I am passionate about DIY projects and I focus on creating lovely for less. My days are filled with bringing the ideas in my head - to life. Aside from that, I'm a grandma who just stepped i...

Placemat purse or DIY clutch; your choice. Practically, placemats protect table surfaces from damage and in décor, they work similar to jewelry and accessories. Speaking of accessories: Is sewing a handmade clutch on your mind? Are you seeking budget-friendly gift ideas? Do you feel like you’re short on sewing time? How do you rate your sewing skills? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, regardless of your sewing skills, this project is for you.


Fully lined fabric placemat – If your placemat is washable, pre-shrinking is always a good idea. While you're at it, do a colourfast test. Select a mat with a stiffer quality for a clutch that won’t slouch.

Fabric to make the pocket - To avoid bulk at seams, go for a material that’s lighter than the placemat’s main fabric.

Fusible tape or temporary fabric adhesive (Optional – use in place of pins or basting. Some materials retain pin holes do a test in a small area at the corner of placemat prior to construction)

Permanent fabric glue – If you plan to decorate the flap of your clutch without sewing. Look for glue that is non-toxic and washable; make sure it dries clear and follow instructions on package.



Needle and thread for basting

Sewing clips - Optional but a great idea; they hold multiple layers of fabric together and they won’t damage material.

Sewing thread that matches closely to the colour used on your placemat.

Note: Choose thread and a sewing machine needle suited to fabric you're using.

Seam ripper – To counter possible mistakes

Ruler or tape measure

Lightweight zipper – About the same width as placemat or longer; if your zip is longer cut to the length you need.

Metal zipper notes: If using a metal zip, make sure the teeth are clear of the topstitching you’ll apply when completing your clutch. You may avoid that possibility by using a zip about 1” shorter than pocket.

Steam iron Ironing board or flat padded surface

Sewing machine Zipper foot - A zipper foot permit sewing closer to zip teeth than a regular presser foot.

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Calculate and Cut Pocket Size

Fold placemat in 3 to your liking and measure the width and height. Add ¾” to width and subtract about 3” from the height. (b) Measure and cut pocket according to calculated dimensions.

My placemat measures 17 ¾ inches long and 13 inches wide. I folded it in 3 to measure 6 ½ inches in height with the depth of the fold over flap at 5 inches. Remember pocket fabric dimensions need to be roughly twice times the clutch height. That makes my pocket fabric 10” long and 13 ¾ inches wide.

Note: Subtracting 3 inches from the pocket height is an average; not a formula. The main objective is to ensure it doesn’t get in the way of the folded flap.

Calculate pocket dimensions at a glance - Placemat width plus 3/4” Folded clutch height times 2, minus about 3 inches.

Step 2: Install Zipper

(a) With right sides together, align zipper tape to edge of pocket fabric – in this case, that will be the width.

(b) Choose to baste or pin it in place to prevent shifting. Attach zipper foot to sewing machine and stitch.

Use a ½” seam allowance to stitch zip in place. Backstitch where fabric the ends; press.

Step 3: Stitch Pocket Seams

With zipper open and pocket on the wrong side, use 3/8” seam allowances to stitch both sides of pocket closed; turn pocket right side out and press.

Step 4: Install Pocket

Open folded placemat and position closed pocket between the flap and the lower fold. Align pocket edges within placemat borders and pin, baste or use temporary adhesive to anchor it.

Important: Ensure zipper pull is facing the direction you’ll be most comfortable with. I am right handed and I will hold my clutch in my right hand. For that reason, I’m placing the pull to open from left to right.

Pocket installation notes: (a) Ensure pocket does not extend past placemat edges (b) If using pins, position them at least an inch away from placemat edges to avoid sewing over them.

Step 5: Set Stitch Length and Sew Both Seams Shut

Observe the length of the stitches on your placemat and set your machine to match the closest length possible. This is especially helpful if you are unable to find a matching colour thread.

(b) Fold the lower portion of the placemat upward to the top of pocket and secure with pins–away from the edges.

(c) Sew directly into the original stitches at the edges of placemat on both sides. If you’ve used pins, remove them; trim threads and viola; you’ve done it!

Congratulations! You are ready to sew a placemat purse/DIY clutch. Aside from preparation, you could complete one in half an hour.

Now, picture yourself reaching into your closet and choosing a clutch that exhibits your style. Then, you remember its source and origin; nabbed from the table; you break into smiles.

May you enjoy many sessions of happy, speedy sewing!

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read.

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    21 days ago

    Ohhhh I'll definitely be looking at placemats next time I'm thrifting. These are adorable :)

    1 reply