DIYdiy projects

DIY Project: Fringed Clutch

by Natalie Stopka

It’s easy to dress up a standard clutch purse with a cascade of knotted fringe. It may look complicated, but we’ll follow the most basic pattern of this age-old technique. Warp-knotted fringe is practiced on woven textiles all over the world, with beautiful variations springing out of local traditions from South America to the South Sea Islands. You can add fringe to liven up a pre-purchased clutch, or you can start from scratch. Basic instructions for sewing a clutch are given below, or skip down to the fringe tutorial. –Natalie

A note on fabric choice: Look for a medium weight linen with a plain weave. The warp threads run around the bolt parallel to its ends, while the weft threads are short and run across the bolt selvedge-to-selvedge. Traditionally only warp threads are used for this technique, but with a plain weave in which both threads are the same weight the fabric can be oriented in either direction.

The full how-to continues after the jump…


Clutch materials

1/2 yard linen
1/4 yard lining fabric – I recommend quilting cotton single sided fusible stabilizer, about 12 x 16”
size 4 snap
chalk pencil or vanishing fabric marker
sewing machine
sewing thread
iron & board

Fringe materials

linen – the width of the clutch x 10” seam ripper
sewing thread matching the clutch 3/4” wide ruler or cardboard strip optional – crochet hook

D_S fringe clutch.1

To sew the clutch:

Cut a 10 x 10” piece of linen (making sure it is nice and square to the weave) and set aside for the fringe. Iron the stabilizer to the back side of the remaining linen. Cut the backed linen into one 10.5 x 5.5” rectangle and once 10.5 x 9.5” rectangle. For a curved closure flap, use a large plate to trace a curve on the long side of the larger rectangle and cut. Cut a 10 x 16” rectangle of lining fabric.

D_S fringe clutch.3

Lay the larger rectangle of linen interfacing-side down. Place the fringe piece of linen over this, aligning the 10.5” edge. Place the smaller piece of linen on top with the interfacing up, once again aligning the edge, and pin. Sew along the 10.5” edge only (the bottom of the clutch), leaving a 1/4” seam.

Gather the fringe linen to the center and pin, away from the corners of the clutch. Sew along the two short sides leaving a 1/4” seam, then turn the clutch right-side out and iron.

D_S fringe clutch.4

Pin the short edge of the lining fabric to the outside edge of the clutch’s opening and sew leaving a 1/4” seam. Create the pocket of lining fabric by folding at 5 1/4” from the clutch’s opening. Sew along each sort side of this pocket, then invert and insert the lining into the body of the clutch.

D_S fringe clutch.5

D_S fringe clutch.6

Pin and iron the hems of both the linen and lining fabric around the edge of the flap, and sew together. Affix the snap closure.

To add fringe to a clutch:

Use a seam ripper to open the seam along the bottom edge of your purchased clutch. If there is no seam, simply cut a straight slit across the bottom, taking care not to rip the lining fabric. Turn the cut edges 1/4” in and iron; this will be the new seam. Insert the fringe linen into the slit and sew the clutch back up again.

To knot fringe:

Working 3-4 threads at a time, gradually tease the horizontal threads of linen out from the vertical threads. Work your way from the bottom of the fabric up to the edge of the clutch, until only vertical fringe remains. Separate the fringe into 24 roughly equal sections.

D_S fringe clutch.7

Insert the ruler or cardboard spacer into the fringe, alternating over and under the sections of thread. Push the ruler against the edge of the clutch; it will ensure even spacing of your knots.

Tie adjacent sections with an overhand knot for 12 knots in all. Wrap the left section over and around the right, bring the left end up, and draw it down through the loop created by the left section around the right. A crochet hook can be helpful here. Push the knot up against the ruler as you tighten it.

D_S fringe clutch.9

Remove the ruler from the row of knots and re-insert it below them. Ignoring the outermost section on each side, make another row of 11 knots. For the third row you will reincorporate the outer section for 12 knots again.

D*S fringe clutch.11

D_S fringe clutch.12

Use rulers or cardboard strips of various thicknesses to alter the distance between knots – I made a couple large rows followed by several small. Give a trim to any straggling threads at the bottom and you are ready to hit the town!

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