This might possibly be my longest running project-to-post duration since I drafted and sewed up this cute wristlet last February using some scrap leather and some vintage lingerie fabric for a lining. I made it as a gift for a neighbour who wanted to remember a dear departed friend who left her a stash of vintage fabrics, and I loved the resulting wristlet purse so much that I felt compelled to share it with all of you! But I had problems digitising the pattern so it languished… but recently I was inspired to take another stab at it and I love the way it turned out!
The great thing is that because it’s a small purse, you can really make this out of leather scraps, or even an old leather skirt or jacket from a charity shop (thrift store or op-shop)! Or it doesn’t even have to be from leather at all, it’d work equally well in corduroy, denim, or even felt! And because it’s a wristlet, you can keep your hands free for drinks & canapes, or for beers & barbecues!
Download the free pattern by clicking the image below!
To anyone linking – please link to this page, not directly to the pdf file!
I hope you all enjoy this and please email me any photos if you make one for yourself! I’d rate this as an Advanced Beginner project just because of sewing the zipper, but it’d make a GREAT first leather project if you’ve never sewed with it before.
Text instructions are included in the downloadable file, but I wanted to provide photo instructions to make it easier for beginners to sew this, too. But when I put the photos in the file itself, it turned out way too big so I compromised and I’m offering them here instead!
Using the exterior fabric, cut out two copies of the purse body, two copies of the flap, one of the ruffle, and one of the strap (or omit the strap for a ruffled clutch). The interior circle from the ruffle is unused and can be turned into a decorative flower by pinching the centre and securing with a few hand stitches.
Every now and then I mention a few people from my personal life when they enter into my sewing world for whatever reason, but regular readers will probably recognise the name of “Neighbour Helen” more than most. As a neighbour, close friend, and convenient fashion industry alumni, she’s helped me assess muslins, balance proportions, learn how to rotate darts, and she even drew the amazing illustration for my free ruffled wristlet pattern!
So I was very saddened to hear that she and her husband are moving their barge to France in a few weeks’ time, to travel through the French canals for the foreseeable future (ok, saddened and jealous!). Since it was also her birthday, my gift to her was to make her a silk blouse of her choosing.
She chose the gorgeous chrysanthemum silk that was leftover from my blouse and I even let her try mine on, but she felt my top was too blousy for her and requested a simple shell instead.
So I turned to the new (and free!) Colette Patterns Sorbetto top!
I made a few changes, though – the most obvious is that I eliminated the central pleat (which would have been too busy with the large scale print), and I lengthened hem by 3” as others said this came up short.
Here’s a list of all the files I’ve created to help others in their sewing. If you’d like […]
My favourites of 2010:
Standout moments in sewing land:
When I was in NYC on our honeymoon, I went a bit mental in Global Leathers and I found this awesome bronze leather with a black suede reverse in their scrap bin for $10! Steal! It was plenty big enough to make this obi belt, and I reckon I’ve got enough leftover to either make this again as a gift, or make a ruffled wristlet for me..
Cidell, Ghainskom, and Dawn have all already made BWOF 06/09 #151 ages ago and I’d kept this in the back of my mind since I saw theirs. This is the perfect pattern for this leather because not only do you get to see both sides, but it’s fully reversible, too!
As you read last week, I was so inspired by the December KnipMode issue that the day after I received it, I traced out dress #11, the following night bought the navy blue cotton lycra jersey and cut out the fabric, and then sewed this dress last Saturday!
This dress has got some really unique construction – the two front skirt pieces meet at the centre front to form a collar, which then goes up and around your head and comes back down to join the centre front again. Everything is sewed together, though, so there’s no chance of gaping!
The other great thing about this dress is that they’ve chosen this pattern to have the big, illustrated instructions for this issue! So you really only need to sew the shoulder seams and centre back (if you didn’t cut it on the fold like me), follow their illustrations for that really unique scarf collar, waist, neckline, and centre front, and then after the illustrations attach the sleeves, sew the side seams, and do the hems! So what could’ve been a really complicated pattern is actually made fairly straightforward. Yay! Thanks, Knip! (You can download those big illustration in colour pdfs on Knip’s site, too!)
The bad weather and early nights may have kept me from taking photos of me in the dress earlier, but we had a mammoth photoshoot session yesterday so there’s lots to show!
While I’ve been showing you all sorts of books and magazine reviews and drafting up free bag patterns for you, what’s been going on in the sewing room, I hear you ask! Well, I set aside April and May to sew my two bridesmaids dresses, and after a long muslin period, I’ve been getting stuck in with the most time consuming portion of the dresses first – the pleated, silk satin (charmeuse) waistband/cummerbunds.
If you recall, I’m sewing the Gant exclusive design dress from the 09/08 Burda magazine:
The fabrics were bought over a year ago, so I fished out the bag and got to work on the reeeeeeeally long pleated sections using Burda’s magazine instructions (which are surprisingly helpful) and a bit of info from my The Art of Manipulating Fabric book (thanks, Cindy!). These are knife pleats, one centimeter apart, and Burda called for seven pleats down the band, but after my test piece, it looked a bit sparse at the top and bottom edges, so I decided to go for eight pleats in the final versions.
So in order to help any of you attempting this on your own (and sadly, a Perfect Pleater is way too narrow to help me here), or those of you wondering why professional designers outsource their pleating to professional firms, here’s what’s involved…
How to pleat
Step 1 – On the reverse of the fabric to be pleated, mark chalk lines exactly 3cm apart, one for every “mountain” pleat.