The Bella Clutch

Isn’t this the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?

Bella Clutch

Bella Clutch Top

Bella Clutch Inside

Bella Clutch Inside


It went together quickly. I was able to finish it in one night, but it should have been faster. While I LOVE the final product, I was not always a happy camper while I was putting this thing together. I would say there are definitely some improvements to the pattern that could be made. The pattern is Bella Clutch #122 by purse strings. So, I definitely recommend you get the pattern because the final product is AWESOME and the pattern isn’t awful, but read my suggestions below before you begin.

1. You absolutely do not need all of the fabric. The yardage is over estimated. If you make the lining and the divider different fabrics, I would be pretty confident that you could get away with a fat quarter for each fabric. I haven’t measured yet, but I will and I’ll update this post when I do.

2. Same for the interfacing. You do not need that much. I would also get rid of the Fusible Knit Interfacing all together because it really doesn’t add much sturdiness and you could just use really lightweight interfacing or probably none at all. I had never heard of Fusible Knit Interfacing and I seriously doubt it’s something most people have on hand. If a project requires something that I don’t have on hand and will likely never need again, I lose interest pretty quickly. I didn’t on this project because it’s soooo damn cute.

3. The divider piece should totally be optional. It would cut down on the fabric and the interfacing and for a clutch, I never really find that I need a divider because clutches are not meant to carry a ton of items.

4. When you are making the bow and they ask you to gather the center, use some industrial thread or something heavier than your regular weight thread. I had to do this three separate times because my thread kept breaking because you’re trying to gather two pieces of fabric and a piece of Decor Bond. And I never got it down to the 1 1/2″ size that they suggest, but it looks fine. I got it down to somewhere between 1 3/4″ and 2″ and it looks fine.

5. When you make the knot for the bow, press the seam in the middle of the bow so you can hide it in the back.

6. The pattern asks you to wrap the knot around the bow and hand stitch it in place. You can easily skip that step if you throw right sides together, stitch, press your seams open, turn, and slide the loop of the knot onto the bow and center it in the middle. I doubt the knot will slip around because it fits pretty snugly, but you could quickly tack it down if you wanted.

7. They use two layers of fusible fleece. It doesn’t look bad, but I think you could cut it down to one and it would be fine. It definitely makes it SUPER hard to sew through all of the layers.

8. When you are assembling the lining and the outer bag, it gets somewhat confusing. If you’ve made bags before, then you can just ignore the pattern directions and use what you remember. I haven’t made many bags before, but I did remember that this part was weird. Pictures really would’ve helped tremendously at this point. The pattern has a few pictures, but not in the places that I needed them. Although, that could have just been me. Anyway, I actually pulled out another bag pattern and followed their instructions and pictures for sewing the lining and outer bag together.

9. I would sew the opening in the lining by hand. It just looks nicer.

10. The zipper installation was also somewhat confusing. I really think it could have used some illustrations. I figured it out, but it took longer for me to put the zipper in than it did to assemble the entire rest of the bag. And I also ripped seams A LOT.

I’m spoiled because I feel that the modern quilting movement takes a lot of pride in providing thorough, well written, and well illustrated directions, along with other non-modern quilters and pattern designers. But I think the modern quilting movement really stresses it.¬†Shea at Empty Bobbin¬†puts A LOT of work into making her patterns detailed, but easy to read. And this pattern wasn’t awful by any means, but it definitely could use some improvement. If I was just beginning to sew and had never made a bag before, I probably would have been extremely frustrated and likely would have given up.

Anyway, I hope this helps if you buy the pattern. This is definitely not going to deter me from buying other patterns from purse strings, especially since they have really quite designs.


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