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Striped Roll Clutch Tutorial

November 4, 2010

This is a project involving leather (cow hide to be specific) to create your own roll clutch! Thin leathers, like pigskin and some lambskins can be sewn on home sewing machines. For this project I used an industrial machine. Fabrika will let you rent one of their industrial machines for an hourly fee; this will help give you some more versatility in the materials you use if your on a more standard home sewing machine.

For this project you need an outer material, inner material, lining for a pocket, zipper, thread (for leather you should use 69 Nylon thread), rubber cement, x-acto, awl, pattern paper, and a ruler!

The first step is to create perpendicular scores on your oaktag pattern paper. It’s the same steps as the Flat Welt Pocket Tutorial; just drag your awl against a ruler on your paper, fold back, pin, unfold, use your ruler to line up the awl marks, and score.

The next step is to straighten the edge of your paper. Fold back on the first score, pin in the corner so both sides of the paper are marked, unfold, line up the scores with your ruler, cut.

Just like with the pocket, you’re going to fold and measure the width of the clutch. Mine is going to be 10″ wide by 9″ high so for this step I’m measuring out 5″, and then cut. Next, fold on the opposite score, measure out half of the height, and cut.

Now you have your master pattern! It’s time to add the seam allowance.

Repeat step one by creating perpendicular score lines on your pattern paper, and match up the score lines of your master pattern with them. Trace the master pattern onto your new piece of oaktag.

The seam allowance for this piece is going to be 1/2″ all the way around the pattern. It’s going to be cut out of fabric, so you want to have a little more to work with. Once you have your S.A. marked out, use your x-acto and ruler to cut off the excess pattern paper.

Now you’re going to created the striped outer leather pattern. Take a new piece of oaktag and create perpendicular scores (please excuse my name written all over the pattern paper! It deters people from taking it when you leave it at Eckburg Hall :D).

The stripes are 2″ by 9″, so fold back on the score, measure 1″, pin, cut, and then repeat for the other score with a measurement of 4.5″.

Here is the master stripe pattern piece! It’s time to add seam allowance.

Create perpendicular scores on a new sheet of oaktag, line up the score lines with your master pattern and trace it. The seam allowance for the leather is going to be 1/4″. Measure out the S.A. the same way you did in step 5 (only with 1/4″ instead of 1/2″), and cut off the excess oaktag.

This clutch is going to feature a lining pocket on the interior. With a 7″ zipper, my pocket is going to be 7″ by 5 1/2″. Create your patterns the same way you did in the Flat Welt Pocket Tutorial (

Here’s all the patterns! You should have a master and working pattern for the interior fabric, the outer leather stripe master and working pattern, a window pattern for your fabric, the flat welt pocket master and working patterns. It’s time to use them to cut out your materials!

When cutting leather you should lay your pattern piece on top of it, weigh it down, and cut it out with an xacto. Tracing and cutting can add width that throws off the shape of the item you’re creating.

I put my master pattern on top of my cut out pieces and traced the seam allowance onto them with a pen. If using thinner materials this may not be possible because the ink can bleed through. For this clutch I’m doing alternating suede and skin stripes and three flesh ones so that’s why the allowances aren’t all on the same side of the skin.

When sewing leather you want to hold it together with binder clips. Using pins would leave holes; so this is a better way to protect the integrity of the material and still keep it stationary so it won’t shift while you’re sewing (try saying that five times fast). Now, take your binder-clipped piece and sew along that seam allowance!

The next step is to apply the rubber cement along the seam allowance so it can be hammered down (think of it as “ironing” for leather). Be careful when using thinner materials because the cement can soak through and appear on the outside. Rubber cement is a contact glue so you just need to apply it, let it dry and then…

Hammer it down until the seam is nice and flat! Repeat for all the leather pieces. As you can tell from the final product photo, I top stitched my seams. Once you’ve hammered them down just sew along either side of them on your machine. I love top-stitching!

Next, you need to cut out your interior material as well as pocket lining from the interfacing. I use it as a guide when I’m cutting my fabric out. Cut the interfacing, fuse it to your fabric, and cut the piece out.

Here’s my pocket lining all ready to be sewn up! Just follow the steps like in the Flat Welt Pocket Tutorial and you’re ready to sew this badboy for your roll clutch.




My window has been cut out from my inner material and my zipper is in place! I’m using tape as my “pins” because I can just remove it once I’m done sewing. Lay the pocket lining down and sew the bottom of the zipper first–remember to fold back your 1″ top of pocket allowance so you won’t sew the pocket shut!

My pieces have both been sewn and I just need to create the braid that will hold the clutch closed. The technique for this is called “mystery braiding” it’s tricky because you cut out a rectangle, make three slits, and braid it (even though the strips are attached at both ends). Myyyysterious!

Here is my piece that I will be mystery braiding. It’s 15″ long with 1/4″ strips. And a nifty video to show you how it’s done!

I’m pretty much in love with mystery braiding. If this is your first time doing it it may be better to start out with a smaller piece of leather with thicker slits. This braid is a bit tedious.

Here it is! Done and ready to be sewn.

Here are my pieces all laid out. I’ve folded back the seam allowance of the interior fabric and will just be sewing it to my leather, lining up the seam allowance with the edge of the fabric. The excess leather will be trimmed off for a nice, clean edge. My braid is going to be sewn at the top of the bag right in the center. It’s nice to do a mystery braid because it gives you a nice solid bit of leather to sew into.

My piece is sewn! I’ve placed a ruler so the edge lines up with the fabric’s edge and cut away the excess leather with my xacto. It is also possible to do this with a small pair of scissors, such as ones for your cuticles.

And here is the finished, empty clutch! The first photo is all stuffed and ready to go with my brick of a phone. Gotta love when the stripes line up perfectly!


I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and will experiment with your own leather and materials soon!


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